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Feds call emergency session on strike

Federal politicians will debate taking action to end Ottawa’s transit strike during an emergency session of Parliament at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

Federal politicians will debate taking action to end Ottawa’s transit strike during an emergency session of Parliament at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

The meeting was called at the behest of Ottawa-Vanier Liberal MP Mauril Belanger.

“We want to ratchet up the pressure to make sure that whatever can be done to bring the parties together and solve this thing is done in a fair manner,” he said.

Since asking to have the debate, Belanger said there has already been some action happening in that area.

Yesterday afternoon, Labour Minister Rona Ambrose said they could order the 2,300 striking OC Transpo employees back to work.

However, he advised that if Ambrose was serious about bringing legislation forward quickly, she should be consulting MPs from all parties while drafting the legislation.

Rather than force OC Transpo employees back to work, Ottawa Centre NDP MP Paul Dewar urged Ambrose to have the city and the union agree to binding arbitration on the contract while sending the issue of scheduling to a separate process.

In a letter sent to Ambrose yesterday, Dewar wrote that binding arbitration would end the strike immediately.

“Clearly, timely solutions are required to break the logjam. I believe arbitration will be a fair resolution for all involved,” wrote Dewar.

City council is now challenging the bargaining team from the Amalgamated Transit Union to return to the table with a new offer after informal negotiations broke down on Tuesday.

“Quite frankly, we’ve shown a great deal of flexibility over the last 50 days,” said Mayor Larry O’Brien. “We have listened very carefully to the requests of the ATU and tried to respond. We want them to come back to the table and indicate where they are flexible.”