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Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was regard.

Last in Parliament October 2019, as NDP MP for London—Fanshawe (Ontario)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 38% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Chair, I am afraid that the minister does not seem to understand that back-to-work legislation short-circuits this collective bargaining that the minister said is going to produce fair wages and make sure workers are protected.

I wonder if the minister also believes it is acceptable for Canada Post to be allowed to deny rural and suburban workers' pay for all hours worked.

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Chair, I thank the minister for that answer, but unfortunately it does not bear out in terms of the truth of the matter. Cheques were delivered to Canada Post outlets and there was a message that they were not to be delivered until after November 22. That came from management. That seems to me to be at the crux of it, the manipulation by Canada Post, and the minister does not seem to be able to understand it or control it.

I wonder if the minister believes that it is okay that for the past 10 years the CUPW workers' pay has remained below inflation.

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Chair, Canada Post was, in fact, a federally regulated workplace before this legislation, and those issues were never addressed and the harassment continues.

I would like to now ask the minister if she supports management's directive, which we have heard something about, that Canada Post CUPW workers withheld government cheques that included child tax benefits and social assistance cheques. Was she aware of it and does she condone it?

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Chair, I appreciate your clarifying that for the minister.

The minister has talked a great deal about the cost of the rotating strikes to the economy. Is she aware that one of the key issues of this strike is indeed the injuries suffered by CUPW workers? Given that injuries cost the economy in Canada about $26 billion a year, is the minister at all concerned about the cost to the economy of this reality of injury at Canada Post?

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, as I was saying, there have been all kinds of promises to effectively address climate change, but sadly, the fact is that our greenhouse gas emissions increased significantly in 2015. Let us not forget the promise to restore home mail delivery. All this brings us back to Canada Post and its refusal to bargain a fair and equitable collective agreement with its CUPW members.

Let us examine the facts. There are many facts to look at in this conflict. Workplace injuries at Canada Post have increased by 43% over the last two years, largely as a result of Canada Post's transformation, which requires workers to walk longer routes carrying heavier loads. It is not just letters. It is letters and parcels. Some parcels can be quite large and quite heavy.

Today the disabling injury rate for a letter carrier is five times the rate of the rest of the federal public sector. Just imagine if our workplace were such that it jeopardized our physical and emotional well-being. When CUPW president Mike Palecek asked his members about injuries, in a couple of hours he received more than 450 responses. The stories are quite heartbreaking. I would like to give members a sense of the kinds of things CUPW members are facing.

One young woman writes that she tripped and fell on an icy sidewalk. She was seriously injured, and it took several months for her to get back to work after having received physiotherapy. When she went back, she was supposed to be on light duty. Despite that, she was harassed by her manager to do more and more heavier work. As a result, she was re-injured, and she has not been able to get back to work. She has small children who are depending on her ability to earn a living.

Another individual reported that he fell and landed on his right knee. He twisted his left knee in the process, and now he has severe arthritis in both. He was accommodated at the plant, but that accommodation has not worked out, and as a result, he cannot work. He cannot work the way he had intended, and he has many years ahead of him in terms of his working life.

This means that not only are these people injured but they cannot provide for their families in the way they had expected, and quite simply, families are suffering. I cannot begin to explain how important it is for the government to understand that this strike is about not just money but about the well-being of families and CUPW members. It is about their health and safety, and that should matter.

We hear other stories about workers being sent out on nights, not unlike tonight, to wear headlamps to find their way over dark, slippery snowbanks and snow covered sidewalks. If a worker cannot finish a route in eight hours, that worker is sent back out to finish delivering the mail. The fact is that people cannot work 10, 12 or 14 hours a day, as we heard from people in the gallery.

The government has chosen to come to the aid of Canada Post instead of the aid of CUPW workers. Before I ask my questions, I would like to quote once against from Dru Oja Jay and his observations about this strike. He said, “Every successful strike has to pass through a storm of negative media coverage and worse. It's no different for Canada Post employees. They're striking for their own health and safety. They're endlessly overworked, and they're frequently injured. They have a plan for transforming Canada Post into an engine for economic and environmental transition. They're also bargaining for equal pay for rural mail carriers, who are not paid the same rate as their urban counterparts.”

In some cases, they receive no money at all for work done, simply because it does not fit into the four or six hours that Canada Post has determined for a mail route.

I do indeed have some questions for the minister. I would like to know if the minister is aware that the injury rate for postal workers is more than five times that of other federal workers. Does the minister condone the perpetuation of this unsafe reality in the workplace at Canada Post?

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Chair, I have a few remarks, and then I have some questions for the minister.

There have been many references to 2011, when the Conservatives ended rotating CUPW strikes. However, this Liberal motion and the legislation that follows it, believe it or not, is even more restrictive than Stephen Harper's was, because the motion that preceded this bill limits debate to the shortest possible timeframe. We are expected to wrap up this farce before the end of this sitting day tonight. It is an outright affront to democracy, and the Prime Minister and his caucus do not even have the decency to be ashamed.

It is just another broken promise thrown on a heap of abandoned election promises from 2015. We heard about electoral reform, treating veterans and their families with dignity and fairness, promises to never take veterans back to court, balanced budgets and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and effectively addressing climate change—

Postal Services Resumption and Continuation Act November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I would like to know if the minister is aware that the injury rate of postal workers is more than five times that of other workers in the public sector. Many of these injuries are debilitating, very serious injuries. They are the key reason for the rotating strikes we have been seeing. Does the minister believe that given this injury rate, Canada Post is meeting its obligation to provide a safe work environment, and does she condone the perpetuation of such unsafe working conditions?

An Act to Provide for the Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services November 23rd, 2018

Madam Speaker, there has been a great deal said about the cost to the economy. We have heard that mantra over and over again.

I would like the member to speak about the cost to the economy of injuries. We know that injuries cost the Canadian economy $26.8 billion and that CUPW members are saying that on-the-job injuries are a key reason for this strike. I would ask the member to please comment on that.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Service Operations Legislation November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, the most salient thing here is the fact that for seven and a half years, the CUPW members of Canada Post have been working toward pay equity. They understand, absolutely, equal pay for work of equal value. They understand that women are as valuable as men and that it is important to make sure that women have financial security, yet Canada Post has been blatant in its disregard of that.

Even now, after the courts have deemed that Canada Post must bring about pay equity, we are still waiting. The decision was taken in September. It is now the end of November, and those workers still have not received any of that money.

Even worse, rural and suburban workers have been forced to do their entire routes. They are paid for six or seven and a half hours, but if it takes them 10 hours, so be it. They are not paid for the rest of the route. It is not fair. It is not right. Again, they are women trying to support families.

Resumption and Continuation of Postal Service Operations Legislation November 23rd, 2018

Mr. Speaker, we keep hearing the mantra of the cost to the economy. I say that it is a fabrication on the part of the government and Canada Post. We know that CUPW members who are keeping track of these so-called trailers of parcels are reporting that they do not exist. There is, of course, a delay, because this is a rotating strike, but there is no significant backup. It is nothing that cannot be addressed in two or three days.

The corporation has said to CUPW workers, “Let us have a cooling-off period. Go back to work, and we will deal with this on January 21”. That is absolutely ludicrous. The corporation will pull the same stunt as was pulled in this chamber on workers who are part of our security service. They were told in the summer of 2017 to go back to work, and we would negotiate with them. That never happened.

In terms of mail delivery, CUPW has assured us that it will get back on track.

I would like to point out one last and very interesting thing. A notice was put out across the country in Canada Post sorting areas. It had to do with the government support cheques, such as the child tax credit, that were supposed to be delivered. The corporation told the mail carriers not to deliver any of them. They were ordered not to deliver any of them until November 22.

The corporation created the crisis. It is creating and driving this scenario so that public opinion is against the workers. Public opinion should never go against workers, because members of the public are the workers.