Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ambrose to propose back to work legislation UPDATED (see end of post)

The Ottawa Citizen broke this news minutes ago:

OTTAWA — The House of Commons will take up the question of Ottawa's transit strike in an emergency debate on Thursday night, Speaker Peter Milliken has ordered.

The move came at the request of Liberal MP Mauril Bélanger, who represents Ottawa-Vanier.

There is a lot to say about such a debate. Members of Parliament from across Canada could conceivably enter a debate that concerns a large number of Canadians in a very concentrated location. Perhaps parties will stack their respective allotted times for debate with local MPs, or perhaps not.

Little information is available about the nature of the debate. It could be a take-note debate, wherein no binding votes are taken (similar debates occurred involving Canada's involvement in the mission in Afghanistan).

No matter what, federal politicians of all political colours will enter their opinions into the record, and what they say could have significant consequences for Ottawans.

UPDATE: David Reevely is looking into nature of the debate, according to his Twitter: "Parliament to hold emergency debate on Ottawa transit strike. Working out whether that means more than a gabfest."

UPDATE AGAIN: Apparently this won't be a gabfest. The Citizen and CBC are reporting that labour minister Rona Ambrose will introduce back-to-work legislation that, she hopes, will receive the support of the opposition Liberals.

An Ambrose quotation from the Citizen:

"As of last night, the talks have stalled and they are at a stalemate and it is my belief that when the government sees a situation where there is clearly no compromise or no flexibility being shown by either side to reach an agreement, it is our obligation to act," [Ambrose] told reporters on Parliament Hill. "I'm prepared to act at this time, I'm prepared to introduce back to work legislation. However, I do need the support of the opposition. So I have approached the Liberal Party and asked them for that support. As you know, if we do introduce back-to-work legislation, we will need those votes to pass it in the House."
The Sun reports that NDP MP Paul Dewar was initially reluctant to lend full support to the move.
Dewar said his party would prefer to see Ambrose name an arbitrator - a move that, he says, would halt the strike immediately.
ONE MORE UPDATE: This is straight from one of the Citizen staff who knows more than most, the aforementioned Reevely, as he dictated to Twitter: "Best understanding: Emergency debate on bus strike IS a gabfest; legislation proceeds on a separate track. Maybe faster, probably slower."

So much for federal inaction on the strike. Stay tuned.


TD said...

Finally some Strike news that doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out! (Knock on wood)

Anonymous said...

Bust this strike

Then fire them all, in order of seniority. I don't mind paying the guys from Montreal and Toronto an extra 10K to come here.

Peter said...

So if the legislation passes, how long until regular bus service resumes?

Anonymous said...

I would guess that regular bus service will still take a few weeks to get back to normal.
I never thought I'd say this but THANK YOU RONA AMBROSE!!!
They should give the drivers what they gave public service: 4ish percent over 3 years. And make your own scheduling? I don't think so... Come on Rona, make them pay!

dean said...

So far the union has being saying that if the city accepted their offer that the system would basically be back in a week. If legislated back they will probably claim that it will take much longer. Never admitting that Mercier estimate was more realistic.

Anonymous said...

So far the union has being saying that if the city accepted their offer that the system would basically be back in a week. If legislated back they will probably claim that it will take much longer. Never admitting that Mercier estimate was more realistic.

Yup. Almost as funny was the mechanics saying that the buses are in a terrible state of repair because they haven't been well maintained all these years and warranties have lapsed resulting in many more costs.

As if it wasn't their job to fix the buses in a timely manner to begin with. I guess when all you want to work is a 4 hour shift, with an hour coffee break and then you go home and start the paper work for your claim on the other 4 hours or the overtime or whatever it's hard to actually get around to fixing the thing.

Anonymous said...

'We're doing a bad job! So it makes it harder to do our job!'

'The city is paying us to do a bad job! This is costing the city more money in lapsed warranties!'


Coridon Henshaw said...

If the Conservatives' intention is to have the service at least partially running for Obama's visit, they may need to take extreme measures.

Without NDP support, the time line to pass legislation will be measured in weeks and not days. This will be too late to have enough service restored to support the kind of massive crowds that tend to come out to see The Messiah--scratch that--Obama.

If the intention is to have the service restored to bring out people to see Obama, then the Conservatives may be backed into needing to use various powers not normally invoked except in times of major crisis.

exess said...

They will invoke closure.