Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services Legislation

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, my question is for the hon. member for Toronto Centre. In grappling with this, and I have some background, as members might know, in labour law, it seems that the employer invoked a lockout at a very critical moment. It is the employer and not the union that has created the problems with the delivery of mail. The revolving strikes were not impeding that.

I wonder if there is such a thing one could conceive, and the hon. member for Toronto Centre might have an idea, and that is for back-to-work legislation for management to do its job.

Hon. Bob Rae: Madam Speaker, my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands is quite right when she points out, as I did in my remarks, and others, that this is not a strike. This is a lockout; a lockout which has kept the workers from doing the work which they themselves want to do.

However, what I have also said is, and I think it is important to stress this, that if one were to simply say, as the union has suggested, “Let’s just go back to work and bargain”, which sounds very nice and we all would like to see that happen, there does have to be some quid pro quo for that. We do have to say to the union, “Okay, go back to work, but no more flying strikes, no more rotating strikes, no more disruptions of service”. That poses a consistent threat to the ability of the company to attract business. There are many customers that have now left Canada Post and will not come back if their service cannot be guaranteed. They will simply take their business elsewhere. This is the commercial reality in which Canada Post is operating. While it is a crown corporation, no crown corporation operates, today, outside the framework of commercial reality.