Protesters block Canada Post vehicles from leaving the lot on Glanford Avenue as part of a solidarity picket in response to back-to-work legislation that ended the Canadian Union of Postal Workers strike in November. (Shalu Mehta/News staff)

Protesting Santas picket in front of Canada Post in Victoria

Canada Post vehicles blocked for one hour

A group of protesters dressed as Santa picketed in front of the Canada Post on Glanford Avenue Saturday morning in support of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The protesters, endorsed by the Young Communist League of Victoria and the Social Environmental Alliance, blocked Canada Post vehicles from leaving the premises for about one hour.

“Santa does much more than just give children what they want for Christmas. These Santas…they’re stepping in to help those that help others and that’s our postal workers,” said Howard Breen of Social Environmental Alliance. “The fact that Canada Post has mistreated them, actually violated their constitutional right to strike, we felt that mistreatment could not go unnoticed.”

READ MORE: Canada Post union files constitutional challenge against back-to-work legislation

Cars driving by the picketers honked in support as the Santas sang Christmas carols adjusted to attack Justin Trudeau and the back-to-work legislation that forced an end to the month-long postal worker strike.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers went on rotating strikes starting Oct. 22. A back-to-work bill was passed in Ottawa on Nov. 27.

Just two days ago, Canada Post announced its operations are back to normal across the country.

READ MORE: Canada Post declares operations back to normal just days before Christmas

Some of the demands the protesting Santas have are to repeal the back-to-work legislation, give women equal pay, and protect postal workers from injury, Breen said.

“The back to work legislation is a gross violation of a worker’s right to strike and so we’re calling for the immediate repeal of that legislation.”

Shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday, a large line of Canada Post trucks were backed up in the parking lot, waiting to get by the picketers.

Canada Post workers came out and read the back-to-work legislation to the picketers and said they had called police to clear them from the scene but police did not arrive.

“It’s not just about one union…the Supreme Court said the right to strike is constitutional,” said Doug Prentice, one of the protesters who was dressed as the Grinch. “As a private citizen and a loyal Canadian, I can’t stand by and do nothing.”

Around 10:40 a.m., the group dispersed and Canada Post vehicles were able to leave the parking lot again. Many of the vehicles honked at the protesters on their way out.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


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