Madam Speaker, mind-boggling, unacceptable and outrageous are some of the adjectives used to describe the government's attitude and the way it is handling this matter. I do not know whether the government has really not understood anything or it is just trying to prevent Canada Post workers from continuing to provide services to the public. The sole purpose of that action is to create a precedent that will enable the government to impose its vision every time.
Today, I am asking this Conservative government to put the interests of Canadians ahead of partisanship and ideologies. This government, elected by only 40% of Canadians, has a duty to serve the interests of the whole population, as it has promised many times before and after the May 2 election. I do not understand why this government, which made so many promises before the election, is now depriving Canadians of services and seriously harming the Canadian economy.
It should be noted that Canada Post subsidiaries and its joint venture annually spend $2.8 billion on goods. Therefore, we are not just talking about the businesses that no longer have access to Canada Post services, but about Canada Post itself, which provides those services, thereby creating 300,000 additional jobs that are currently being threatened. The economy is a daily topic of discussion. There are 585 domestic flights scheduled for Canada Post services. There are also 100 delivery vehicles and 18 rail services. All that money is being lost because the Conservatives have shut down our Canada Post services.
Job-creating small businesses are waiting for postal services to resume, so that they can send their bills and receive their cheques. The government could end this crisis immediately by allowing the employees to return to work, resume services and negotiate with their employer in good faith and on an equal footing.
From the beginning of this crisis, the government has not just interfered and imposed its vision; it has run a propaganda and smear campaign demonizing Canada Post employees. Once again, as my colleagues have pointed out many times, the government is trying to polarize matters, create conflict and divide Canadians.
The Conservative government knows full well what it is doing. Its plan is clear: cut services, privatize Canada Post and create a precedent. In the meantime, this government has no qualms about depriving people of services and putting a squeeze on family budgets. The government keeps saying that we are responsible for this situation even though the government, and the government alone, can put an end to the lockout and let Canada Post employees resume the work they never wanted to stop doing. But that has never been the government's priority. It is perfectly obvious that its priorities are elsewhere. The government is there to serve the CEOs of large corporations, banks and oil companies. The government is asking employees to make concessions and tighten their belts, as if Canada Post were truly in trouble, and all the while, its CEO is collecting a salary in the neighbourhood of $500,000 with bonuses. That is insulting; it is a slap in the face to all Canadians.
Today, the hon. members across the way have targeted postal workers. Tomorrow, they will target other public servants. And the day after that, will they take aim at all workers? Yes, the Conservatives must make their friends happy. It is much more enjoyable to go off and play golf with the heads of big business than to mix with the average Canadian and the real workers who make our economy go round.
Apparently, this government, with its irresponsible policies, is oblivious to the pride Canadians have in their postal service, one of the best in the world, one of the most efficient, one of the most accessible, a service provided by the Crown, a service that is not yet in the hands of the private sector. But for how long?
Canada Post employees have always done an excellent job serving Canadians from coast to coast, rain or shine, at an extremely reasonable cost. I really do not know how the hon. members across the way will be able to look their letter carrier in the eye after passing this special legislation. Nor do I know whether they could have taken this approach prior to the May 2 election. It is a classic move. They disregard Canadians and serve the interests of their cronies at the beginning of their mandate, and then, come election time, they claim they are going to help the economy.
This government has the power and the duty to put a stop to this crisis immediately. It can intervene right now so that employees can go back to work and negotiations with the employer can resume.
At this time, the population is being held hostage for ideological reasons and partisan purposes. This government has to act. Yesterday, while we were debating here, the Prime Minister was not even in Ottawa, but he just had to add insult to injury. And even though he prevented the members of this House from returning to their ridings to celebrate the national holiday, he went to Quebec himself.
Be that as it may, it is not stopping: the calls keep coming in, and I continue to get emails from worried citizens who are asking us to continue our work. I think that this government is distancing itself even further from the population, and isolating itself. It has been completely blinded by its partisan goals. This government, which has no consideration for workers, is conducting a veritable disinformation campaign by continuing to accuse us, while all of the power rests with it: all it has to do is lift the lockout and send the parties back to discuss what would be best for both of them and their new collective agreement.
I wanted to add that a few hours ago Martin Victor sent me a message saying that he had been sleeping on his couch for two nights in a row in order to follow the debates on Bill C-6, and he added that he was willing to die on that couch in order to see this bill defeated.
There was a 64% turnout in the last general election. At this time, the population is worried about the debate and constituents are getting in touch with us to tell us about their concerns. My colleagues across the way say that they are only receiving emails from small businesses. That is logical, because the people in their ridings are writing to us, because we listen to them.
People from Prince Edward Island, where no NDP members were elected, unfortunately, are writing to us to thank us for our honesty and solidarity. Scott Gaudet wrote to me to say he was happy to see a new way of doing politics in Canada. He said he was disgusted with this harsh law.
The NDP is asking the government, which is accusing us of delaying the process, to order an end to the lockout so that employees can return to work and their collective agreement can be ratified in the manner agreed to.
For a while now, much has been said about the eight months of talks that have taken place. Personally, I am still looking for information about that matter, but I would like to know how many rounds of talks took place over these eight months. How much time was spent at the bargaining table? It is all well and good to say that the parties negotiated for eight months, but if they only met a few times over the course of these eight months, then the Conservatives are waging a public disinformation campaign. I am quite tired of all of this and I am also anxious to go home, but I am extremely proud and pleased to be here defending my fellow citizens.