President and CEO of Canada Post Deepak Chopra is meeting with Canadian Union of Postal Workers president Denis Lemelin in Ottawa to try to avert a strike. Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press
Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra will field questions on proposed Canada Post service cuts when he appears at an emergency session of the House of Commons transport committee Wednesday afternoon, his office confirmed late Tuesday.
Witnesses from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Conference Board of Canada, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business are also tentatively scheduled to appear at the hastily convened pre-holiday session.
CBCNews.ca is carrying the meeting live. Mobile users can watch the livestream here.
The meeting comes just days after NDP transport critic Olivia Chow served notice she intended to submit a formal request for emergency hearings in the new year to study the impact of the proposed cuts to door-to-door service, reduced service hours and a hike in the price of stamps.
On Monday, Conservative committee chair Larry Miller recalled the committee on his own intiiatve.
Raitt not attending
Earlier Tuesday, the New Democrats released the text of a motion that they hope to put forward during Wednesday's meeting, which would add Transport Minister Lisa Raitt to a proposed witness list, as well as "affected stakeholders," including "small businesses, charitable sector, labour, seniors, Canadians living with disabilities, Canada's municipalities and other concerned groups."
According to her office, Raitt won't be in attendance at Wednesday's meeting, which will almost certainly raise the ire of the opposition.
A spokesperson for her office noted that Canada Post is an independent Crown corporation, and is responsible for defending its operational decisions.
That may not be good enough for the New Democrats, however.
The party's deputy transport critic, Hoang Mai, told CBC News that, while his party welcomes the opportunity to start "this important study," he believes the committee must hear from the minister.
The motion to be put forward by the government at today's meeting makes no mention of the minister, however.
It also casts doubt on the prospect of subsequent hearings on the issue, stating "that no more than three further sitting hours on Wednesday, December 18, 2013, be dedicated to the study."
As of Tuesday afternoon, the official notice for the meeting states only that the committee is scheduled to get together behind closed door to discuss unspecified future business.
That's standard practice for off-session meetings, however, as witnesses can't be formally announced until the committee has officially adopted a motion to hear from them.