Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning everyone.
Mr. Palecek, you are the national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, are you not?
It's a pleasure to meet you. We met a great many of your members on our trip, during the committee's 22 public hearings all over the country. Your members repeatedly told us—and I believe you expressed your opinion on the subject as well—that they had absolutely no confidence in the task force's report and that, in many cases, it relied on factually incorrect information. I'm glad we have the opportunity to meet, so you can confirm or deny the statements.
Your members pointed out more than once that the task force's report was based on accounting data from Ernst & Young, which, itself, relied on information from the Conference Board. On Monday, I asked an Ernst & Young representative who appeared before the committee whether his firm's figures were based on those of the Conference Board, and he told me that that was absolutely not the case. I can't understand why, then, your members continue to level that criticism when it hasn't turned out to be true.
What are your comments on that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Mr. Palecek, your members say that the $700-million deficit is not accurate, because Ernst & Young based their accounting study on the Conference Board's findings. That's what all your members across Canada said. However, Ernst & Young confirmed here last Monday that their numbers are not based on the Conference Board's findings.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, that's interesting.
On the five-point plan, is there anything you agree with in this plan? Have you ever proposed another plan?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, but when the five-point plan was released, did your side release another route, another avenue to take? Have you officially released a document with a plan? It could have been a good thing.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Finally, sir, I would like you to share with us all the different efforts that were put forward by your group, your members, in the last few years. What exactly have your members been ready to do, or to change, to help Canada Post in the 21st century, with all the different aspects of the new world in terms of delivery and everything?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
What actual changes were made to your working conditions in the past few years?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
I often get the sense that your union fails to recognize the financial trouble Canada Post has been in for a few years now. You have, however, agreed to new collective agreements in recent years, and those agreements do somewhat attest to your recognition of the precarious situation Canada Post is in.
How do you explain that, on the one hand, you disagree that Canada Post is in financial trouble and that, on the other hand, you accepted changes to your collective agreement? Was that forced on you? I'm not sure whether you get my meaning.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mrs. Bertrand, I was not here the first time you came to testify before the committee. So I'm very happy to meet you.
My first question is about the solvency break instituted by the previous government. Canada Post's financial situation is precarious. Since our report may be made public in November, Canada Post will not have enough time to receive our recommendations and apply changes that would help its situation improve by 2017.
Do you think the government will have any other choice but to extend that solvency break?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
We have often discussed the issue of the moratorium on post office closures in rural regions. I think that also applies to suburban post offices. We have also often heard the perception that the end of that moratorium would inevitably lead to the crumbling of Canada Post's pan-Canadian infrastructure.
Do you think the moratorium is essential to the maintenance of Canada Post's pan-Canadian structure? Should that moratorium perhaps be reviewed?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
My colleague and I think that post offices in rural regions are very important. By ending the moratorium, we could save rural post offices and close post offices in the suburbs, where there are many franchises. In our opinion, that's really what should be done.
We are somewhat concerned by what we have heard, to the effect that the end of the moratorium would lead to the crumbling of pan-Canadian infrastructure.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In one study, the Conference Board anticipates a deficit of $1 billion and, three years later, Ernst & Young anticipates a deficit of $700 million. Is that reduction attributable to Canada Post's five-point action plan, to a different context or different accounting? The deficit is less than $300 million. Here is the question I am asking myself. Does this mean that the five-point action plan has worked?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I would like to thank the witnesses for being with us this afternoon. We greatly appreciate it.
Mr. Chopra, here is my first question for you. Is Canada Post a symbol of national unity for the country?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Right. Thank you.
I almost forgot; I want to correct a fact for the members of this committee. The Conservative government never gave the mandate to dismantle Canada Post. I don't really agree with my colleague.
Here is my second question for you, Mr. Chopra. I ask it in all due respect. In fact, it's even to your benefit that I'll ask the question so you can defend yourself to this committee.
Throughout our travels, I have repeatedly heard that you had a hidden agenda. The Canada Post unions accused you of pursuing an ideological objective, which was to move toward a kind of privatization.
I would like to know what you have to say about this statement we have heard many times. I'm giving you, sir, the opportunity to express your thoughts on that to this committee.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
It has been three years since the five-year plan was implemented. You have seen the reaction of Canadians in general, as well as that of certain interest groups and political parties.
If you had to redo it today, November 2, 2016, would you create the same five-point plan? Would you remove or add anything?
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