Resumption and Continuation of Postal Services Legislation

Hon. Michael Chong: Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her comments and congratulate her on her election to the House.

It is important for us to put this whole debate into perspective. The Government of Canada is not taking sides in this dispute. This is a dispute between two parties: the corporation and CUPW. Both parties, unfortunately, have not come to a resolution upon expiry of a collective bargaining agreement.

The government attempted, through mediation, to get the two parties together despite that. There was a series of rotating strikes initiated by CUPW and then on the other side management decided to lock out the union.

What a responsible government would do in a monopoly situation where there are no alternatives for millions of Canadians is to legislate workers back to work to ensure the continuation of this essential service for so many Canadians. When the Liberals were in government, they did the same thing.

What a responsible opposition would do is not filibuster this legislation. In fact, it would allow this to pass. The problem here is that the official opposition is taking a side in this issue and that shows that the official opposition is not ready for prime time.

Elizabeth May: Madam Speaker, in response to my friend the member of Parliament for Wellington—Halton Hills, I wish we could put aside whether or not the NDP is ready for prime time or anything. That is not the issue. I do not think it is quite as clear that the government has not taken sides.

As I mentioned earlier in the House today, the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations in reviewing Bill C-6 has come to the conclusion that it would violate key elements of the Supreme Court decision and it would set back collective bargaining across Canada. Why would they think that?

There is nothing wrong with back-to-work legislation. Nobody would deny that it is an appropriate thing for government to do. The reason that this piece of legislation is offensive to some principles of labour law is because it is overly prescriptive, it ties the hands of an arbitrator, it puts in place in section 15 a schedule of payment to the workers that is less than what was on the table when negotiations broke down, and it further has a rather bizarre section that suggests that the arbitrator must be guided by the need to find terms and conditions of…