Saturday, June 25, 2011

H of C like the Pink Bunny -- they keep going and going and ...

... going and going ... the debate in Parliament on the back to work legislation for the locked out workers at the Canada Post Corporation, that is.   (Kady O'Malley has a good analysis of exactly what the NDs are up to and how the filibuster is working.)   I have a good friend who works at the sorting plant in Hamilton (and who was also a former letter carrier) so I certainly do empathize with where the postal workers stand.     But what looked like could wrap up this weekend could go on a whole lot longer.

Not only do each of the 308 MPs have 20 minutes to speak to the issue at each of second reading, "committee of the whole" and third reading with ten minutes for Q and A (the exceptions are the PM and the leaders of the NDs, Liberals and Liz May of the Greens each of whom have no time limit whatsoever -- theoretically, they could each read all seven books of the Harry Potter heptalogy into Hansard three times each (as long as they don't faint!) -- there's still the matter of actually having the vote.    And those of us 35 or older remember the "bell ringing" incident in 1983 when the then Progressive Conservatives simply refused to show up to vote on abolishing the "Crow Rate" -- for two weeks.   The bells (and they were fire alarm bells, not the pleasant chime we're used to now) rang all that time which meant that legally the MPs nor their assistants couldn't leave the Hill.    That tactic was abolished soon after but there are still ways to stall a vote.

It would be a lot easier, frankly, if the post office and CUPW just found agreement where they do agree on -- and I think there's quite a bit there -- then send the rest to final offer selection.   I support labour fully, but I honestly feel the point has been more than made.   As well, allow the post office to raise postal rates to the rate of inflation rather than well below it as is the case now.   If it's a matter of finding the money to pay the workers, raise the revenues -- after all, they're a self-financing operation and stopped being a government department 30 years ago.

No comments: