Thursday, June 23, 2011

Debate on Postal Strike legislation

The lights are on late in the House of Commons tonight as politicians debate the back-to-work legislation tabled by Conservative Labour Minister, Lisa Raitt. At 10:20 a CBC blogger reports that there are 5 Tory MPs still present, 21 NDPs, 4 Liberals and 1 Elizabeth May.... I’m almost tempted to turn on CPAC.

But to be honest, I don’t understand the ins and outs of this and don’t know how union negotiations work. Why was it the union first initiating rotating strikes, but then the Crown Corporation that locked them out? Why does the back-to-work legislation give union workers a worse deal than that which was offered at the bargaining table? What exactly is at stake if Parliament approves this Bill? Why the filibustering tonight, don’t the Conservatives have a majority that can force anything through?

So many questions. And while I am curious to know the answers, I admit that I’m not quite curious enough to stay up all night researching them. The call of CPAC is not as strong as my pillow.

But I have a feeling that this issue is bigger than we think it is. There must be some politicking going on here – and certainly our new opposition NDP probably feels a significant amount of pressure to come out strong in support of Unions. The Conservatives may think it’s better to come down with a heavy hand and get rid of the problem – gambling that a couple days of grumbling or criticism wouldn’t hurt them as much as a prolonged strike which is already taking a significant toll on mail order businesses and remote communities (oh and brides-to-be, their ‘plight’ seems to come up regularly when I hear this issue debated. How will they get their RSVPs???).

And seeing as I don’t understand this whole issue very well, I am not sure where I stand. Admittedly, I would love to have postal service again. There is a sticker-exchange club that I’ve signed Miya up for which is post-dependent. There are grandparents and a 102 year-old great-grandma to send artwork and photos too. But as much as I don’t understand it all, my lefty-gut says support the unions...

I’ll keep you posted.

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