Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on June 24, 2011.
This is the couch in my Ottawa office and more recently, my new home away from home. Under filibuster circumstances such as these, no member can leave the Parliamentary precinct. Basically you need to be ready for a potential vote with only five minutes notice. This means no time for a shower, little to no time to get dressed or undressed and no time for sleep in a more comfortable bed. Basically my suit has become my pyjamas and my couch is now my home away from home and I have gotten roughly two hours of sleep in the past 24 hour period. Fatigue is definitely a factor and more so when there appears to be no end in sight to the ongoing filibuster.
And yet this morning I received an email from constituent of mine who put everything into perspective. My constituent, whom I will call Melinda (not her real name) is a daycare provider. In this case, Melinda is paid through a government daycare subsidy. The subsidy has been sent in the mail, where it remains stuck as a result of this labour dispute. Melinda has bills to pay of her own. Melinda has her own family to feed.
Melinda serves as a reminder of who the real victims are in this labour dispute. While bickering continues over one extra week of vacation or not and the size of a pay raise and how much a new employee earns over an existing one, it is taxpayers like Melinda who continue to suffer. I do not mean to diminish the importance of settling issues in a contractual debate. But we must not lose sight over the innocent taxpayers like Melinda who depend upon the mail in order to get paid and to put food on the table for their families.
I am thankful to citizens like Melinda for taking the time to share their concerns with me. Melinda and those like her serve as a reminder of standing up for the interests of all Canadians and the importance of the work that we must do here in Ottawa now and in the days ahead. I respect the opposition for their tenacity in this debate, however I will spend as many days as it takes and will not leave Ottawa until I know that Canadians can again depend on Canada Post providing the service that we and Canadians can depend upon. Bring on the debate.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
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