I really have to agree with the tag line and the first 3 paragraphs of this article . The practical difference between the Liberals and Conservatives were few and far between, and this led to a parliament more interested (and focused) on throwing mud than really debating issues. As a result, as strange as it may seem, I am actually looking forward to this session of parliament and appreciative of this new diametric split in Canadian politics.
Having said that though, The only question the writer sees in this dispute is whether the worker has the right to withdraw his labour if he is unhappy with his employers offered wage, and in practice I agree, although not in the way the author would have me I think... You see, the last time I checked, and in my capitalism riddled mind I believe that indeed the worker does and should have that right, it is called quitting ones job. Which of course leads to the employer's corollary; the ability to terminate the employment of any worker who refuses to work for the wage offered. But that is not what the author of this article had in mind.
The Government's solution to this "job action" is an ideological about face and a warning to labour unions in this country. The conservatives have done what an employer, free of union coercion would do, basically establish a wage which he is willing to pay and allow anyone who doesn't like it, the reciprocal freedom to walk away.
Of course the real reason that this is an issue, is that government is involved in the provision of this service in the first place. Competition among independent postal services would ensure that workers and companies could only make, in wages and profits respectively, what the market would bear. There would be no way to blackmail an entire population with a cessation of the service because the people of the country would be free to take their money and their business elsewhere.
Why does the government system insist on one price to mail a simple letter anyway? It seems to me that were I to accept the idea that government should control the postal services (which I don't) that there ought to be a difference in the price of a letter depending on not only where it is going but where it is coming from.
Think about it. How much more in real terms does it cost the post office to pick up mail from or deliver it to Baffin Island than it does to pick it up from Toronto? In the city my taxes (set by government) are significantly higher than those in the country because of the services which are provided for me by the government (police, fire, garbage, water, sewage etc). If that sort of disparity is permitted by government then why should there be absolute equity when it comes to the price (set by government) of delivering a letter?
There is just so much wrong with this system and the current dispute, there is a solution though. End the monopoly, get government out of the service industry, restrict the government's mandate to the protection of individual rights and in all other aspects of our lives... laissez faire!