Still talking -

Still talking


Debate on Canada Post began yesterday around 10:30am, paused for QP and then resumed just after 3pm.

Labour Minister Lisa Raitt emerged a short time ago to update everyone on the state of negotiations.

Hansard is officially updated through 8:30pm last night, but here is a transcript of Jack Layton’s epic speech (about 50 minutes from start to finish and coming in around 6,500 words).

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that we start this debate on a bit of a sad note. We have just heard the Minister of Labour say, in thinking about the situation before us, that there are 45,000 postal workers, though I believe there are more than that but I will use the number she used, and there are 33 million Canadians. In other words, she is dividing the people who provide the mail to us from the rest of Canadians.

First, I find it sad that the Minister of Labour would see the world that way and, second, that we would be approaching this issue on such a divisive basis. I have said in the past, and I was hoping things might have been different, that this is a government that preys on the concept of dividing Canadians, one from the other. Unfortunately, we are starting off in that frame of mind.

I do not intend to use that approach. In fact, when I think about postal workers, the first image that comes to my mind is the postal delivery fellow who comes to my home. His name is Gary and he provides mail service to my house. At my house people are normally home during the day, so it is my 85-year-old stepmother who receives the mail. Like a lot of senior citizens and Canadians, a relationship develops between the person who delivers the mail and families. It becomes quite a personal thing.

When families celebrate the important seasons and everyone wishes each other well, it is one of those cases where the services that government provides comes right up against the public in a particularly intimate and important way. I think we all want to start this debate by realizing that we need to appreciate the work of those who work in the public service.

Deuxièmement, je veux dire que nous sommes ici pour bâtir un résultat constructif. Nous allons proposer des amendements à cette législation et je veux dire au premier ministre et à la ministre du Travail que moi et mon équipe seront disponibles, peu importe l’heure, pour discuter d’une possibilité de chercher et d’établir une solution à cette situation.

We in the NDP do not support the legislation that has been presented and we will explain why. We are here to propose changes, amendments and propositions that could improve the legislation. We are prepared to work with the government to find language that might actually get us out of the predicament that we find ourselves in today.

I simply want to say that we are available, it does not matter what time of day or night, to work with representatives of the government to try to accomplish that goal in the interests not only of 33 million Canadians but also the people who work so hard to make sure we get mail service in this country.

Les bonnes relations de travail dans ce pays dépendent de la bonne foi de tous et le gouvernement conservateur a décidé, malheureusement, de faire preuve de mauvaise foi. Les travailleurs des postes dans les centres urbains du Canada négocient avec Postes Canada depuis octobre dernier. Leur contrat a expiré le 31 janvier dernier, il y a donc seulement cinq mois. Maintenant, malgré des revenus de 2,81 millions de dollars l’année passée, ce gouvernement, par le biais de la société d’État, impose des réductions de salaire et des réductions pour tous les nouveaux employés, une réduction de 18 p. 100 du salaire de base, moins de temps de vacances, en plus de forcer les nouveaux employés à travailler cinq années de plus avant de pouvoir recevoir une pleine pension.

Even so, these workers have bargained in good faith. Throughout all of the bargaining they made sure that Canadians got their mail and that all social services cheques were delivered on time. That is very important for Canadians to understand.

I think about these folks who work so hard for us. The image I have in my mind right now is visiting the large postal sorting stations. These postal sorting stations are huge operations. When I visit them, and I go at least once every year to touch base because it is a huge employer right on the border of my riding, there are thousands of people there working to sort the mail. It is actually a surprisingly intimate process despite all of these machines. I am thinking of some of the people who sit in their chairs and have all of these sorting boxes into which to put the mail that we write. Some of it cannot be read by a machine, it has to be looked at by an individual. There they are. Looking over their shoulders and talking to them you see mail from all over the world, personal stories and messages from one Canadian to another, or from someone beyond our borders who is not a Canadian but is communicating with a Canadian. Chances are it is family related, or maybe it is business related, but there is an intimacy there. The respect with which those workers ply their trade I think is quite remarkable.

A lot of them, I notice, are wearing various forms of braces on their hands and their arms. When you talk to them about it it is because of the repetitive motions that they do that produce a strain on their bodies to a point where it is painful and difficult. However, there they are working nonetheless to try to provide a service and also because they have to provide for their families.

Another thing I notice about that group of workers, at least it is the case in the plant that is near my riding, is the diversity that is there. I do not think you could find a more diverse group of Canadians anywhere. They come from absolutely every background. Maybe that is why there is a certain appreciation of the importance of the mail. It is sort of like a part of that democratic communication process that brought them here to Canada in the first place, the notion that you could communicate freely, that you can speak your mind and that there is a public postal service to make sure you can communicate one with the other.

Many of them will mention things like the charter of rights and so on that we have here in Canada and how proud they are to be Canadians and to be working on behalf of Canadians. That is why I found it very distressing to see them somehow being partitioned off as though they were not somehow part of the 33 million Canadians. They are as much a part of the 33 million Canadians as anybody else.

I am very proud of Canada Post and the management and the decisions that have been made there over the years. I have had my opposition, as many of us might have, to some of their decisions. I will speak about that later. There is the turning over of so many of the postal operations and the small businesses in my community to Shopper’s Drug Mart. I have nothing against the Shopper’s Drug Marts but they do not need to be delivering the post. Lots of small mom and pop variety stores have had to close down because of a decision by Canada Post to give the contracts to the highest bidder. That has been very hurtful.

Nonetheless, I have been very proud of Canada Post as an institution in this country. I think of Purolator, for example. Most Canadians do not even know that it is owned by Canada Post and by the Canadian people. It does a fine job of delivering, in a very competitive environment, on our behalf. It has taken leadership in environmental areas. It actually has a van that operates out of a garage in my riding. It is powered by hydrogen and that hydrogen is created by the wind turbine that you see when you come into Toronto along the waterfront at the CNE. That is where the hydrogen comes from. That is a publicly owned postal delivery vehicle that is powered by the wind. I think that is fabulous.

Another reason I am personally fond of Canada Post is because it took a decision–and I appreciate the Prime Minister’s support for this along the way–to issue a stamp in honour of the 100th anniversary of services to the blind in this country by the CNIB and by the Montreal Association for the Blind, which was founded by my blind great-grandfather, Philip B. Layton.

As it happens, Canada Post took the decision to put his image on the envelope. When we buy a group of those stamps his image is there, and I take a lot of pride in that and all of those who have been working with and involved with the blind over the years appreciate that gesture. We could cite many stamps that have been issued and many gestures of which Canada Post has been a part because it is part of the community. It is part of who we are, as Canadians, in many different ways.

I do not want what I have to say today about the legislation to take away from all of those positive things we have to say and more, about the public services that we rely on, because we do rely on these public services, each and every one of us.

However, I have to speak against the bill that is in front of us, and I must briefly explain why, or maybe not so briefly, as a matter of fact, if you don’t mind, Mr. Speaker.

Effective labour relations in this country really do rely on good faith and we have not seen that in the actions of the government here. I, too, as was the member for Acadie—Bathurst, was quite shocked to hear the labour minister describe the situation that is facing us as a strike. That simply is not true. That was the most brazen example of propaganda designed to try to turn people against these workers that I have seen, and to see it right here in the House of Commons is shocking.

What we are facing right now is a lockout. If we did not have the lockout we would not have this debate. We would not have this legislation and people would be receiving their mail. The workers who provide that service are ready to go to work now, but they are faced with a problem. When they show up for work there is a lock on the door and they cannot work. They cannot go into that sorting plant. They cannot go into the Post Office. They cannot collect the bag of mail and deliver it to people like my mother-in-law and lots of other people who are waiting for their mail.

There is a simple solution to this. I have asked the Prime Minister repeatedly over recent days to simply adopt this solution, which I will say again: Prime Minister, take the locks off the door and let us have our postal service back.

It is not a strike. It is a lockout initiated by the management, clearly supported by the government. We say that it is supported by the government because if the government were sincere in suggesting that the strike is causing a problem for the Canadian economy, then it would be taking action to make sure the mail was delivered as quickly as possible. The simplest way to do that is to take the locks off the doors, but that is not the objective, unfortunately, despite what is being said.

The objective is to interfere with the process between workers and management to come to a fair collective agreement. That, unfortunately, I must conclude, is the objective.

The government says it has to legislate the workers back for economic reasons, but if that were the case, why did it shut down the Post Office in the first place?

I would again ask the government to order Canada Post to take the locks off the doors. It is an agency of the government. Let us remember that, and the actions it has taken have compromised the Canadian economy. Let us remember that too. That could be done now. A simple phone call would get that process sorted out within hours. I have no doubt about it, if the Prime Minister were to call the CEO, but by siding with the employer here, and by pitting the workers against the Canadian people as a blatant attempt to try to divide and conquer, as we have seen this government do before, the government has essentially killed the incentive to bargain.

Let us put ourselves in the position of the CEO of the company. Aside from the big grin on our faces we would have, having seen this legislation which essentially tells us we do not have to do anything any more and we do not have to compromise. In fact, we do not even have to talk to our workers. The government is simply going to ram legislation through and guess what will be the icing on the cake. The government is going to give them less in wages than we, as CEO, were prepared to do.

Mr. Speaker, do you know why he would be smiling? It is because the salary received by the CEO, who is the best paid or among the best paid, and I have been told it is the best paid, of the CEOs of these organizations that we have in the Canadian government system, there is a 33% bonus that is allowed. Guess what? If as a CEO their bonus is based on the profitability of the enterprise and they were just told, and had legislated through the Parliament of Canada, for heaven sakes, that there will be a reduction of the wages of the workers, guess what happens? Higher profits, bigger bonus. We know who is smiling now. This is what leaves us with the sense that the government has essentially taken sides here, and we think in a most inappropriate way.

Let us take a look at the impact on the average full time postal worker’s family during the four years of the agreement. It turns out that it would be $857.50 taken out of the pockets of the postal worker’s family. It is understandable why people would be upset about this, particularly when the CEO is going to get a bigger bonus by virtue of that very reduction. A government that is prepared to do that to the postal workers, we have to ask ourselves, who are they prepared to do that to next? Who is next?

Actually, this is why the 33 million Canadians ought to be taking a very close look at this legislation and asking themselves if they are next. Will they be hit next? Will there be user charges to deal with the huge deficit this government built up, a record deficit I might say? We are getting commentary from the commentariat over here on the other side. One is tempted to respond by suggesting that the massive corporate tax cuts they implemented left them with this deficit and if they followed our advice they would not have one.

A lot of Canadians are going to be wondering, if their employer offers them a certain wage and there is a discussion and negotiation about wages, if Stephen Harper, or if the Prime Minister thinks, and I apologize because I was in the mind of that Canadian who is thinking about their future here, and they were being familiar and I was being overly familiar myself, and I apologize, but if the Prime Minister is willing to say to those postal workers that the offer they were being given by their management was too high, so he brought in a law to reduce their wages, would that happen to them also? I do not think there would be any reason to think that would not happen. In fact, I think there is every reason to be fearful that they might well do this, and anyone could be next. Who would that be, of course? They will start to protest and say that they would never do that to anybody else, but I think there is a question of trust here that is going to be challenged by the legislation we see in front of us here. If they are willing to do that to 55,000 Canadians, the very people who deliver the mail with a smile on their faces no matter what the weather, and most of them have smiles on their faces, not everybody smiles all the time, but they will ask themselves if they could be next.

Also, what about pensions? Anyone across the country who has a plan for when they will retire, and, yes, many do not have a pension plan so we need to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan to help all these people, but for those who do have a pension plan, here they are looking at a government that is willing to come in and impose on them the following. These workers would not be able to retire with the full pension they thought they had, which their families understood would be available for retirement, on which all family plans were dependent on, which plan kept workers going on some of the worst weather days when their job involved going door to door or when a worker’s arm was hurting as they were sorting the mail.

That worker was probably thinking that at the end of the day he or she could retire with a certain pension and would not live in poverty. The work was worth it. More time would be spent with family because a lot of the work is shift work. Promises are made to spouses and kids that more time will be spent with them eventually, and a pension will be there.

This bill tells those people that they will have to work five years longer than planned. That is not right. It creates further problems which I will speak about in just a second. It would be a big saving for Canada Post.

We could do all kinds of things if all we wanted to do was save money. Let us just cut everybody’s salaries down to size. We would not have pensions. Let us forget about health care. We could save money in all kinds of ways. Saving money is not by definition in all circumstances the best thing to do. It is a question of balancing things, and that is not done in this legislation.

Canadians should be forgiven for doubting Canada Post’s claim that it is going to be in financial trouble if it does not squeeze the workers, the same workers who helped Canada Post make $1.7 billion of profits over the last 15 years. That was done by hard work. The postal system did not make money years ago because that was not how it was set up. But it has been structured that way for a number of years. Those workers have helped to create that profit but now they are being punished for having done it. How do people get motivated when they are faced with that situation?

Canada Post made $281 million in net profits in 2009 alone, the last year that we had the full numbers for it. Let us remember that the government gets a chunk of this money, so I suppose this is one of the ways that it is going to reduce the debt. To reduce the national debt the government is going to extract $857.50 from the average full-time postal worker’s family. That is not right and it is not fair. The national debt is something that we all have to shoulder together, all 33 million of us, not just the 55,000 workers in the postal system.

The company does not need a bullying big brother to support its demands against workers who just want to support their families. This is really reprehensible legislation because of the way that it tries to push people around, and it is not in good faith.

Parlons du contrat que le gouvernement souhaite imposer. Ce contrat crée deux catégories de travailleurs: les nouveaux contre les anciens; les jeunes contres les plus âgés. En demandant aux nouveaux travailleurs d’accepter de moins bons salaires, des pensions de retraite moins sûres, des vacances moins longues, ils deviennent des travailleurs de deuxième ordre. J’admire les travailleurs de s’être dressés contre cette injustice, alors que ce ne sont pas nécessairement leurs droits ou leurs avantages qui sont menacés, mais ce sont ceux des travailleurs du futur. Ils se sont portés à la défense de la prochaine génération, comme le veut la tradition du mouvement syndical. C’est aussi une tradition du NPD et nous en sommes fiers.

It is linked to a broader value that we hold, and it is a fundamental Canadian value, that no one should be left behind. That means we do not create two classes of workers in a place like Canada Post.

The government actually wants to impose a contract that takes that very value and turns it on its head. It says that some should be left behind, and here is who they are going to be, essentially structuring it and placing one generation of worker with an inferior arrangement.

It invites resentment in the workplace. It is only human. Over time the younger workers are going to resent the older workers and the better deal that they have. How can that be positive for the morale of a workplace or for efficiency or quality of life of the workers?

It is really quite a negative a thing. It is dividing people once again. It weakens the bonds that can exist in a workplace between people working together. It pits worker against worker, and worse, in this context, a generation against another generation. I think that is a very dangerous situation.

It weakens their collective voice because to the extent that they are not working and feeling like a part of the same team, they are feeling that there is a conflict within, then their collective voice is not going to be as strong or as effective. Maybe that is what the government wants. Maybe that is what is really going on here, amongst other things, trying to weaken the voice of working people at their workplace.

Certainly, if we look at this legislation in its many dimensions or the actions of the government in recent days on both of the strikes that we have been dealing with here, people would have to come to the conclusion that that could be part of the strategy.

From the perspective of some employers and governments, maybe this is somehow seen to be a good thing, divide and conquer, a race to the bottom, except for those at the top who do better and better. In fact, the statistics in our country should be alarming all members of Parliament because the inequalities that are growing in our society are the kinds of inequities that ultimately lead to a reduction in quality of life, a reduction in that sense of well-being. There are lots of measures of this.

The societies that have a greater level of equality where the distance between the top and the bottom is not as great as other societies have all kinds of advantages when it comes to the well-being of their citizens, everything from life span to measurements of disease and measurements of happiness, and it goes on and on.

There is a lot of work that has been done on this. In fact I know that a lot of parliamentarians of all political stripes are starting to pay attention to the kind of work that is being done about growing inequality and how that needs to be challenged.

Unfortunately the policies of the government, piece by piece, have actually helped the inequality to grow. So there are cases where, for example, if someone is not a taxpayer with a decent income, some of the tax credit approaches that are taken do not end up being available to them.

Many of the tax reduction strategies have ended up benefiting those at the top, to a higher degree, or some of the measures that have been offered up really are only workable for people who have extra money at the end of the month or the end of the year, when there is a lot of folks who do not have that.

So the result is we are going to see a step-by-step growth of the distance between those at the top and those at the bottom, and what are we looking at here but a piece of legislation that actually makes that the case within this group of 55,000 employees, creating a distance within the workforce and of course the distance I spoke about earlier between the CEO with that whole bonus system. There are probably other upper echelon managers who get some kind of a bonus as well.

So the inequalities within that workplace are going to increase. That is a reflection of a pathology that is afoot in our society right now. This legislation runs counter to the sort of initiatives we should be following to deal with that pathology.

It also undermines the workers’ voice. Now some people perhaps think that is a good idea. I was doing an interview earlier today with Mr. O’Leary of the Lang and O’Leary Exchange. I had challenged him in an earlier interview. I was taking issue with that quote of his that greed is good. I took him on and said that I do not think that greed should be considered a good thing. I just needed to go on the record saying that on the public broadcaster.

As it happens, I had the opportunity to be interviewed on this very topic this afternoon, and he said in his question to me, “Wouldn’t we be better off if we just simply didn’t have unions at all, Jack?” He used my first name. I hope I can use it in that context. In responding to him, I pointed out that he had just saluted the very successful economy of Australia, which I pointed out to him has a labour government and has a strong union movement.

The fact is that the union movement in our country has given us and has given working people wherever unions are allowed to be formed a dramatically improved standard of living. We could go through the list of those things that have been accomplished by trade unionists over the years. Most of them were negotiated perhaps in labour contracts to begin with, but became sufficiently popular with all Canadians as they became the law of the land.

One could start with child labour. Had we not had the union movement, we would have child labour,. If we have any doubts about that, we should go to the places where we have child labour and find out how easy it is to organize a union.

We could also take a look at things such as the weekend. We would not have a weekend off if it were not for trade unionists organizing for the right for working families to have a little time together once every seven days.

We would not have health and safety committees in our workplaces, health and safety committees that sit down and talk about how to make working conditions safer and better for workers. We still have in Canada three workers a day dying on the job. We have an awful lot more work to do in these areas. We have passed the Westray bill. That never would have happened, had it not been for the union movement. The Steelworkers and all of those who came in, in support of that strong legislation which we have now and that is being brought to bear in appropriate circumstances. Because of that bill having been adopted, that there are corporations, large and small, that have changed their practices as a result of that bill.

I had the privilege of sitting on the board of directors of the fourth largest energy utility in the country, Toronto Hydro, and we did not, when I was joining that organization, have anywhere near adequate workers health and safety. We had the worst record of any public utility in North American. This bill came in. We were all briefed as board members. I do not mind saying I had been pushing for change here, but it was that bill that ultimately said to the managers and the directors of the board that they could be criminally liable if they knew that a situation was dangerous and did not do something about it. That snapped everybody to attention darned quickly.

I want to salute Toronto Hydro, because within six quarters, it went from having the worst quarterly record of injuries and those sorts of situations on the job, to having a zero injury quarter, and that was because of that legislation.

I am really trying to make the point that the unions we are talking about here perform an extremely important service in our society. Everyone is frustrated when something they were counting on is not available. When people’s mail is not delivered, it is tough and it is very tough for small businesses.

I had a small business once and I would be paying my contractors but if the cheque had not arrived from the person I had the contract with, it was tough. There are small businesses right now that are struggling because of that situation. There are other business owners who rely on the mail as fundamental to their business.

We all know about those particular kinds of businesses. That is why, if we were serious about these particular businesses, we would take the locks off the operation and let the workers get back to work.

Monsieur le Président, j’aimerais que le gouvernement comprenne à quel point il est important de construire des ponts entre les générations et entre les différents groupes de travailleurs. J’aimerais que le gouvernement accepte de travailler avec nous pour défendre les droits des travailleurs et pour obtenir une meilleure entente pour leurs familles. C’est pourquoi nous avons proposé de travailler avec le premier ministre et son équipe pour chercher les amendements acceptables pour cette législation afin d’avoir une meilleure situation.

Soyons clairs: cette loi est une violation du droit des travailleurs de négocier en toute bonne foi une convention collective. Elle a aussi pour effet d’affaiblir le droit de négociation de tous les Canadiens — 33 millions de Canadiens —, le droit de joindre leurs efforts à ceux de leurs collègues afin d’obtenir de meilleures conditions et un droit reconnu par la section 2 de la Charte des droits et libertés. Ce sont les faits. Cette loi envoie un message aux employeurs de partout au pays. Elle leur dit que ce gouvernement se rangera du côté des patrons, contre les employés, et ce, à chaque occasion qu’il aura.

Why should any employers bargain in good faith if they can count on the government to step in and impose what they cannot get at the bargaining table? Where is this going to end? Once we allow this sort of thing to get started, who knows where it could go?

That is why we are proposing that the laws be changed and why we cannot support this legislation, because it encourages employers everywhere to go out and test the waters. Look what they got at Canada Post. Maybe we can manoeuvre into a similar position. Who do we have to call in the government to get them on side? Who do we check in with? I guess we will start with some of those consulting companies that seem to be populated by former members of the party. Maybe we will get some advice there but that is a topic for another day.

By sending a message that back-to-work legislation could be the new norm for labour negotiations in this country, the whole notion of good-faith negotiations really goes out the window and it is a slippery slope that the government wants to force Canadians to go down. I simply ask the government if this is really where it wants to go because it is going to be very dangerous.

Nous devons comprendre que les bénéfices des conventions collectives vont bien au-delà du simple contrat. Les gains négociés par les travailleurs au fil des ans ont aidé à élever les normes du travail pour tous les Canadiens. Les travailleurs syndiqués se sont battus pour les droits que l’on considère maintenant comme acquis: un salaire suffisant pour élever une famille, les normes de santé et de sécurité au travail, la semaine de 40 heures, les fins de semaines, la protection contre le harcèlement, les vacances, les régimes de pension, etc. Ce sont de simples choses. Les salaires des employés non syndiqués sont tirés vers le haut par les salaires des syndicats.

Hand in hand with progressive parties like the New Democratic Party, collective bargaining has been one of those engines for progress for working people. I see this as a legacy to build upon, not something to be torn down.

We are celebrating our 50th anniversary as a political movement. At our convention we reflected on our achievements over those years. It was always with one goal in mind which was to make life better for working families. That was what we were about, and what we are about.

At our convention we reflected on our achievements over those years and we paid a special tribute to our founding national leader, Tommy Douglas, the father of medicare. Public health care was his signature achievement for all Canadians. Public pensions were another achievement, working with Lester Pearson. But Tommy Douglas accomplished so much more, including rural electrification, universal access to education, and income stabilization for farmers.

Tommy also knew that securing workers’ basic rights was a key to a just and prosperous Saskatchewan and Canada. Therefore, as Premier of Saskatchewan he passed legislation, and we are going back many years, guaranteeing a minimum wage for working people. He passed legislation establishing a 40-hour work week, paid vacations, and full collective bargaining rights for all workers.

Tommy gave credit to where credit was due, which was to the ideas which had come from working people. They were bargained into existence by working people and Tommy’s job, as he saw it, was to extend those most basic protections to all working people through legislation in his province and in his country.

When we see legislation in this Parliament, we hope for the kind of legislation that would accomplish those kinds of goals. Instead, we are seeing legislation here today which goes precisely in the opposite direction, for several reasons that I have touched on already. Other members of our party in our caucus will speak about other dimensions of this in the debate.

Tommy’s legacy was extraordinary.

Il y a 60 ans, Tommy Douglas a fait adopter le premier vrai code du travail de notre pays. Les chansons sont-elles permises? J’imagine que cela va parfois améliorer le ton du débat. Ce code du travail représentait un progrès incroyable pour les travailleurs de l’époque. Nous ne resterons pas les bras croisés en regardant les conservateurs nous faire revenir en arrière et renier les acquis obtenus au cours d’une longue bataille.

I am simply not going to sit and watch the Conservative government follow in the footsteps of the U.S. Republicans and their Tea Party friends. We have all been watching occurrences in Wisconsin, where the Governor yanked collective bargaining rights from 175,000 public employees, and nullified their rights to decent conditions, gender equality, and fair pensions. This particular governor is not even hiding that this is an attempt to cut down the number of workers. It is not just in Wisconsin, but Ohio, Indiana, and Idaho are all attacking workers, using the excuse of austerity.

Leur véritable but est de maximiser les profits en abusant des travailleurs. La loi pour Postes Canada nous amène exactement à la même place: une compagnie profitable qui affirme qu’elle ne peut pas se permettre de payer pour les nouvelles embauches. Ce gouvernement conservateur se fait le complice du patronat en proposant cette loi. Il prend tout simplement son inspiration à la mauvaise place.

I summarize our essential position here.

First, we must not be dividing Canadians in this place by talking about 55,000 postal workers and 33 million other Canadians. It is time we started to see each other as all part of the same people who are trying to accomplish the same goals for our families. That is what this is about. Therefore, I am asking that we see less of this divisive politics, particularly in this debate because many Canadians will be following it.

I do not want those who deliver the mail or who sort it on our behalf, each and every day, to feel that they are somehow less than anyone else.

Deuxièmement, c’est un projet de loi qui attaque les droits essentiels des travailleurs lorsqu’ils ont l’occasion de négocier des conditions d’emploi. On ne peut pas faire cela.

Troisièmement, c’est un projet de loi qui augmentera l’inégalité dans notre société. Si on commence à voir de tels projets de loi, à plusieurs reprises, partout dans les autres secteurs de notre économie et de notre société, on augmentera l’inégalité et ce sera une approche tout à fait inacceptable, non seulement pour le Nouveau Parti démocratique, mais pour la grande majorité des Canadiens et Canadiennes.

Les gens doivent se demander si c’est eux et leur famille qui vont maintenant subir les tactiques de ce gouvernement conservateur dans notre société? S’il peut le faire avec les travailleurs de Postes Canada, va-t-il le faire où ces gens travaillent? A-t-il une liste? Y a-t-il plusieurs autres entreprises avec le même type de contrat? Les PDG vont-ils célébrer ce soir, demain, ou ce week-end, car ils peuvent poursuivre cette même tactique que celle qu’on a vue avec Postes Canada? C’est inacceptable.

Finalement, je vais répéter encore une fois que nous pouvons trouver une solution à cette chicane maintenant. Le premier ministre peut demander à Postes Canada d’enlever le cadenas pour que les gens puissent retourner travailler. Moi et mon équipe, nous offrons encore une fois, de travailler pour chercher des amendements à ce projet de loi pour qu’on puisse avoir une fin à ce débat et pour que les négociations puissent se dérouler comme il faut.

C’est tout ce que je peux dire maintenant.

I therefore move: That Bill C-6 be not now read a second time but be read a second time six months hence.