Madam Speaker, my colleague just spoke. I just received messages on my BlackBerry because I told my constituents that I would take the floor at 10:45 a.m. They said they would wait until I rose to speak. There are currently people watching CPAC to find out what is going on. They are gaining an understanding of what the Conservatives are trying to sneak through.
Earlier, I heard the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons speak, and I thought I detected some openness there. He said that Canadians want to receive their mail. We just have to remove the locks from the doors for people to get their mail. Before the lockout, people were receiving their mail.
When will the government realize that the NDP is not preventing postal employees from working, the Conservative Party is? The Conservatives are the ones who conspired to impose the lockout. When will the government realize that it has the power to allow the postal employees to work? With the consensus in the House, we could immediately decide to let them work.
When will the government realize that it has the power to unlock the lockout? If we had a consensus, we could put an end to the lockout right now. The NDP supports reopening post offices and getting postal workers back to work. Furthermore, when will the government realize that it has the power to unlock the lockout with a simple phone call? When will the government realize that we could require the employees to go back to work by ending the lockout, while we continue to consider the rest of the special legislation before us?
When will the government realize that small businesses could receive their mail as well as send and receive packages, that seniors could receive and send letters, cheques and gifts, that both workers and the unemployed could receive their cheques, and that all Canadians could once again have access to postal service, as soon as the government agrees that it is essential to immediately end the lockout, well before voting on this bill?
When will the government realize that ending the lockout is the only way to remove the threat to the economy, a threat it created, economic losses it created? When will the government realize that preserving a healthy employer-employee relationship is the only way to ensure a company's future prosperity?
When will the government realize that creating an unhealthy climate and adding to people's workload, which already is not obvious, will hurt the economy? Has it assessed how costly an increase in the number of workplace injuries will be to our society?
When will the government realize that it is flouting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and disregarding rights that were recognized and confirmed by the Supreme Court in 2007? When will the government realize that Canada Post is a profitable and efficient crown corporation?
Is the government's objective to increase the profits of its friends at the expense of workers? Is its objective to destabilize postal services in order to privatize this sector? When will the government realize that disregarding the rights of workers will do nothing to improve their physical and moral well-being, or the economic health of the country?
When will the government realize that in order to stand up for democracy in the world, it must also safeguard democracy here at home?
Since being elected to power, this government has thumbed its nose at democratic rights in Canada. I am talking about the rights of trade unions, the right to associate and everything connected with union rights, party financing, voting methods, the use of the media and public funds, to give you just a few examples.
When will the government realize that members have a duty to represent all citizens? They have a duty to work for all citizens. When will the government realize that the public will not put up with this kind of behaviour for very long?The official opposition is prepared to work with the government, but the government does not appear to be listening to us. The message goes in one ear and out the other.
We have a duty to represent all citizens and to do everything in our power to preserve our vested rights. Our duty is to defend our democracy and our democratic processes, along with our young people, their future and their rights. We must work together, not merely defend the interests of a select few.
Why is the government not worried about public opinion? Just like some government members, I, too, I have been flooded with words of encouragement to continue our opposition to this bill.
But what is the cost of the Conservatives' interventionist policy? The workers are paying the price by being oppressed. Negotiations require a consensus of both parties, we recognize that. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers knows that; the law recognizes it; and the people, whether they belong to a union or not, also know it; but not Canada Post and the Conservative Party.
Finally, with regard to a brief debate that took place earlier, I, too, would like to know why the minister misled the government by proposing this bill to deal with a strike. As everyone knows today, we are not dealing with a strike, but with a lockout. In fact, I would like her to take the time to explain this to us. Perhaps it was only the result of some confusion and not a premeditated act. She will now have the opportunity to clear this up or simply to explain things to us. But if the government was truly misled, this means it has introduced a bill for which there are no valid grounds. I simply want to ask the minister to take the time to reply, because we are debating this bill which may well have a questionable rationale.