Madam Speaker, the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke made a reference, early on in her comments, to collective bargaining. I know it is somewhat obscure for the member, having gone through 10 years of the Stephen Harper government, who showed nothing short of distain for organized labour and collective bargaining in this country while they were in power. We saw that time and time again. A record four times they used back-to-work legislation in their last Parliament, and there were two other occasions when they had it on the shelf. They were ready to pull it off the shelf during labour disputes. It was pretty much a template for back-to-work legislation: insert labour organization here and insert date here. We saw it time and again.
We saw bills like Bill C-377 and Bill C-525. Might I add that the government the member was part of did not even have the courage to submit them as a government. Conservatives put them through the back door through private member's legislation and brought them to the House to try to put it to organized labour in this country. Yes, we have a different approach to organized labour and to collective bargaining.
Collective bargaining is something this government believes in, and back-to-work legislation is an absolute last resort. We know that Canada Post and CUPW had been in negotiations for over a year. There was no sign of a settlement. There was no indication that a settlement could be reached. We had time and time again sent in mediators and arbitrators. At the end of the day, we knew that the rotating strikes being undertaken were hurting the Canadian economy, and we knew that we had to take action to make that situation right.
CFIB identified in a survey that it impacted almost two-thirds of Canadian businesses. During that critical time of the year, I know that in my riding of Cape Breton—Canso, businesses that make their stake between November and Christmas in the export sector were being impacted not just by delays in the mail but by the uncertainty that was being created by the rotating strikes. That is why we ended up taking the initiative, and as a last resort, tabled back-to-work legislation.
We know that the piece of legislation we tabled was considerably different from the legislation tabled by past the Conservative government, where there was a prescription for a resolution. We put in an arbitrator who would look at factors around health and safety issues and gender parity on wages. Those were issues we felt were imperative, and that is where the situation lies now, in the hands of Elizabeth MacPherson. We thought it was the best way forward, not just for the corporation, not just for the workers, but for all Canadians.