Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will start off, and my colleague will finish.
Good morning to all of you. It is a pleasure to meet with you.
Mr. Coles, I was especially struck by your presentation. I found it fascinating. There are a number of AbitibiBowater employees in my riding affiliated with your union. And I want to stress the fact that, in this whole situation, several injustices have been committed against the workers. That is a side of the issue we are discussing somewhat indirectly.
I think about what this company has done in recent years. In Quebec, in my riding, senior managers shut down the Belgo plant, they temporarily shut down the sawmills in La Tuque, and they just shut down the Dolbeau plant permanently.
Employees and unions do not understand the federal government's decision to pay out $130 million to a company like AbitibiBowater. People appreciate that the industry is in trouble, and they are even ready to make concessions. But people find AbitibiBowater's actions in Newfoundland Labrador unacceptable, not even giving workers severance pay, which the government had to do. Workers at the Grand-Mère plant recently agreed to another series of rollbacks in their working conditions, conditions that were hard-won over the years.
It is unacceptable for the company to collect $130 million and not pay a thing to its employees, while those at the top rake in big fat bonuses, to the tune of millions of dollars. The company's executives have received bonuses over the past few years. People find that outrageous. I appreciate that this is a NAFTA dispute, but workers sure have trouble understanding this process when they see themselves being cheated as the executives line their pockets.
I would like to know whether you have anything to say about that.