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?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for being here. I think there are a few French Canadians among you. That's good, so we can have a good discussion.
You know that Mr. Chopra was with us before you arrived. I don't know whether you crossed paths when he left. I hope he shook your hand.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to come back to one of the things that Mr. Chopra said and that I would like to confirm. He said that both Canada Post management and the employees and various groups and unions that represent Canada Post workers had agreed that Canada Post needs to adjust and renew itself for the 21st century, but he did not go into detail.
Is it true that you and Mr. Chopra agree on that? The question is open to everyone.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
You say that you sat down with Mr. Chopra and concluded with him that there was a problem with the pensions. Are you also—you and he—of the opinion that Canada Post needs to renew itself given the changes in the world and the way Canadians use Canada Post?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Maheux. I have several questions, so I'll continue.
Mr. Dubois and Mr. Ling, you mentioned that you support some of the five points. Which ones?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, Ms. Stairs. I am pleased to see you here this morning.
You deal with Canada Post directly, in a business sense, of course. When Canadians order things on eBay and their parcels arrive late, to whom do they complain? Do they complain to eBay or to Canada Post?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
I imagine that it happens very rarely, as you said. However, after the tracking process, when people find out that the delay is due to an error on Canada Post's part, what happens? Are databases turned over to Canada Post? Have you set up a relationship with Canada Post to deal with that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Has Canada Post ever had to reimburse either you, or the companies that go to your website, because of any delays?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Could you tell me what you think about the plan, especially in terms of the way it has been implemented, that is, between 2013 and the moratorium that has been in effect for a year?
After the five-point plan was implemented, what consequences, if any, have there been for your business?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
In recent weeks, our committee has heard a lot of proposals to add services to Canada Post, especially government services. They affect the employees and the offices alike.
What is eBay's opinion about those additional services? Do you believe that Canada Post will be able to meet your needs as effectively, as quickly and as efficiently if all kinds of services are added? How do you see that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you.
Ms. Stairs, I want to go back to our discussion on the addition of new government services to Canada Post. You said that doing so would create a distraction and would move away from Canada Post's mandate and core activity.
The suggestions were to have a postal bank, to process passport applications and a whole series of services that now escape me.
In your opinion, which of those new services would create the greatest distraction that would move Canada Post away from its mandate?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today. We appreciate it very much.
I have a series of questions that I can ask in quick succession. Then I will have some more in-depth questions.
I really liked reading your report. On page 13, you say that the Canada Post mission has “a dual mandate”.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
In the task force report,
It says that part of Canada Post's mandate is to “provide the same basic and customary service to all Canadians”.
In reality, that has never been the case. Two-thirds of Canadians already pick up their mail at a mailbox and the other third receives it at their doors. So it might be said that the mandate has never truly been observed.
What is your opinion?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay.
Is it normal that, for a workforce of 50,000 employees, there should be 2,500 senior managers? I’m just asking.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
On page 4 of the task force report, there is this comment: “Since 2011, despite having reduced its headcount by about 10% or approximately 5,800 employees, the corporation’s overall labour costs have remained stable at $4.4 billion.”
What would explain that?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
CPC (QC)
Okay, I understand. Thank you very much.
If I am not mistaken, the study done a few years ago by the Conference Board of Canada forecast a deficit of $1 billion. Three years later, in your most recent study, you forecast a deficit of $700 million, give or take.
Would you say that the five-point plan allowed the forecast deficit to be decreased by $300 million? Is it the five-point plan that has made for savings of that magnitude?
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