Mr. Speaker, I want to wish all Quebeckers a happy Saint-Jean Baptiste day on this June 24, although it is technically still the June 23. I especially want to wish a happy Saint-Jean to my Brome—Missisquoi constituents. I am thinking of you, and my heart is with you.
I am in the House today to defend the rights of not only the 55,000 postal workers, but also all workers, including those from my riding. This fight to uphold the rights of workers will affect all workers in the riding of Brome—Missisquoi, in Quebec and across Canada. We are standing up for our vision of a fair society. Minimum labour standards exist because workers fought to further the cause of those who were most vulnerable. Young people, women and seniors have rights because people fought to further their cause.
We in the NDP want to stand up for ordinary middle-class people so as to make things easier for families and improve the quality of life for Canadians. Whether we are talking about health care, education or the environment, we in the NDP are defending the public system because we truly believe in it. Letting the free market regulate everything does not work. Some people are left by the wayside, and only a minority is growing richer at the expense of the middle class, which is struggling more and more because of measures such as the intention of our friends opposite to impose a lockout followed by special legislation.
The appropriate solution is to stop the lockout, which is a bullying tactic, and to bring the employees and the employer together. There is no silver bullet. Everyone must contribute in good faith to move this issue forward, since the special legislation planned by our friends opposite is too hasty. Canada Post is a profitable corporation. Over the last 15 years, Canada Post has generated $1.7 billion in profits, and its postal rates remain among the lowest in the industrialized world. In addition, Canada Post has paid the federal government $1.2 billion in dividends and taxes over the last 15 years.
So why lower wages? I do not understand. We are asking the government to remove that unwarranted clause. The union is looking for nothing more than a fair redistribution of wealth. The union raises the quality of life of every member of society, not just postal workers. In particular, the union helps safeguard fair working conditions and drive the overall economy. What is more, better working conditions for postal workers mean better working conditions for all workers. Through their work, letter carriers actually provide a reassuring presence in the neighbourhoods they serve. I am thinking particularly of the poorest members of society, the elderly. Not only do postal workers provide efficient service, but they also build ties with the public.
No, the government's measures will not go through as easily as the mail arrives at its destination. The government must take the locks off the doors and let postal workers do their wonderful work.