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Canada Post Lockout / Strike: Day 22 arrives with no end in sight

By CO Staff @canadaone |

Hopes that Canada Post workers would be back on the job as early as today are quickly turning to fears that the lock-out will drag on, as debate over Bill C-6 continues.

The debate in Parliament went overnight Thursday and has continued today, with no signs of reaching a conclusion in the near future.

Because we have a Conservative majority, it's not a question of if the bill will pass; it's a question of when.

"If the government wants to streamline bills, it needs support from all the opposition," says Dr. Jean-Francois Godbout, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Montreal. "Obviously in this case it doesn't have the support."

On the contrary, the NDP is pulling out every trick in the book in order to delay the bill's passage.

"Though we have a majority government, the opposition can still obstruct proceedings by making long speeches or introducing amendments," says Godbout.

And so far, the NDP has done a very good job stalling the legislative process.

NEW! Tell Canadian MPs what you think!

Our new free service, Have Your Say, lets you quickly compose an email to a group of politicians, without having to look-up their email addresses!
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Hoist motion one of many delaying tactics

On Thursday night, the official opposition called a "hoist motion," which would effectively put the bill to bed for another six months at which time it would go into second reading. Though this motion has no chance of actually succeeding, it has already significantly delayed the passing of the bill.

Each MP can make a speech of up to 20 minutes regarding the motion, with 10 additional minutes allocated for questioning. All 103 MPs of the NDP will make speeches in the House of Commons, meaning that this motion alone could easily stretch into Saturday morning.

The bill cannot continue into its second reading until a vote is made on the motion, and the vote can only happen after all MPs have had their chance to speak.

Once the bill passes into its second reading, which it hasn't yet done, the scope of the bill will be debated. After this, it will move to committee of the whole, at which point MPs can employ a variety of tactics to delay the bill even further.

MPs also have the opportunity to debate every single clause in the bill, and can introduce as many amendments as they like  each of which has to go through a vote that takes five to ten minutes.

The legislation, once approved in the House of Commons, will move on to the Senate. Senate leaders have been negotiating in advance, so the bill will likely pass through Senate in a single sitting (one day) and into law.
Postal workers are expected to be back on the job within 24 hours of the bill passing into law.

However, with the NDP saying they will do everything they can to delay passage of the bill there is no reassurance this will happen any time soon.

NDP "for the workers", not small businesses?

With the NDP delaying the back-to-work legislation in Parliament, Canadian small business owners are becoming increasingly frustrated at the impact the strike is having on them.

In a survey that was started on June 3, 2011, CanadaOne has already heard from 394 small businesses in Canada, many of whom are seriously impacted by the postal dispute. Here are just a few of the ways small businesses have said they have been affected:

  • "It's very hard on small businesses like mine. I have had to refund online customers, and charge the ridiculous fees of other shipping companies. My small business would get by without Canada Post if I had some other viable option to ship out products."
  • "I've closed my business during the strike. Huge loss!!"
  • "Lost business will be difficult/impossible to get back due to poor economic conditions."
  • "Incoming inventory and outgoing sales are all shipped via Canada Post.  I have a lot of product in limbo right now and some very angry international customers who will likely never return."

Though the effects of the mail disruption on small businesses have been brought up many times in the debate, perhaps it is time for SMBs to express their concerns directly to the party who is stalling its conclusion.

NEW! Tell Canadian MPs what you think!

Our new free service, Have Your Say, lets you quickly compose an email to a group of politicians, without having to look-up their email addresses!
Click here to use Have Your Say  | (En Francais)

Take our Canada Post Strike / Lockout survey

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