The president of the postal workers’ union in Kelowna Liberal Stephen Fuhr ‘s riding says the MP has promised to vote against his own party’s bill to end the Canada Post strike.
In two video recordings shared with Global News which the president of the local union says were taken in Fuhr’s constituency office, a voice identified by the postal worker as Fuhr can be heard on a phone call earlier Friday saying he plans to vote against the legislation when it comes down to the wire — and vowing to urge others to do the same.
“As you wind down into second reading and report stage, the tail end of that, I’m going to support you,” the voice can be heard telling Matthew Aitken, president of Kelowna Local 760, which represents postal workers in Fuhr’s riding.
The male voice also can be heard suggesting there may be looming rebellion within the Liberal ranks, with other members also considering opposing the government.
“I’m going to be speaking with my vote volumes,” he told the postal worker.
“I’ll talk to some of my colleagues too, because it’s more than just me that are thinking about this. That’s something I can do.”
Global News reached out repeatedly to Fuhr’s office in Ottawa and Kelowna asking to verify his was the voice in the recording but has not received any response.
Postal workers have been on rotating strikes for more than a month, leading to significant backlogs in parcel and letter delivery.
They have been without a contract for a year but repeated efforts by the federal government to provide mediators to help with the talks between Canada Post and CUPW, the union representing postal workers, have failed to yield a deal.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that “all options” are on the table if a resolution could not be reached.
On Thursday, the government presented a motion to expedite any back-to-work legislation it might table, and then also tabled a bill to force workers back on the job. Meanwhile, the Senate passed a motion to allow for a rare weekend sitting in order to pass any back-to-work bill that might come its way.
The motion to set up a speedier framework for passing the bill dominated debate in the House of Commons on Friday.
A vote is anticipated to take place Friday evening if a deal is still not reached between Canada Post and the union.
At that point, sources say the government will move forward with the back-to-work legislation.
That bill would then likely be passed around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. Saturday morning, before heading to the Senate.
It would see postal workers back on the job likely by Monday.
The voice Aitken says is Fuhr’s also said in the video he wanted to oppose other procedural votes that have taken place so far but said he plans to make an impact by voting against the government when things move past second reading.
“I wanted to support you,” he said of earlier procedural votes and discussions but telling them to watch for his vote as things move forward.
“That’s when I will vote for you.”
Fuhr would not be the first Liberal MP to vote against his party if the voice in the video is indeed his.
In April 2018, Liberal MP Scott Simms voted in support of a Conservative motion opposing changes made by the government to the Canada Summer Jobs program, and as a result was removed from his position as chairman of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.
In October 2017, Liberal MP Wayne Long was also punished after supporting a Conservative motion to extend consultations on a controversial set of tax changes that garnered significant opposition and confusion from many small business owners.
Long was removed from two House of Commons committees as a result.
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