During QP this afternoon, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae wondered whether the government would agree to send the CP Rail back-to-work legislation to a parliamentary committee so that MPs could hear from both sides of the dispute. Labour Minister Lisa Raitt dismissed the possibility because of what happened in 1995.
In 1995, the Liberal government at that point in time sent it to committee and it got stuck there because of the opposition. It could not get it out and it had to cut a deal with NDP in order for it to happen.
The opposition at the time included 54 Bloc Quebecois MPs, 52 Reform MPs, nine New Democrats and 2 Progressive Conservatives. The New Democrats ceased their efforts to delay the 1995 bill after an amendment was introduced to ensure that a 12-hour, back-to-work order applied to all three rail services: Canadian National, Canadian Pacific and VIA Rail (it had originally only applied to CN). At that point, it was only the Bloc who held things up. Still, the bill made it through the House, after a weekend sitting, in six days.