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Alberta premier supports labour minister’s visit to Canada Post picket line

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it wasn’t inappropriate for her labour minister to show up at a picket line of Canada Post workers.

Edmonton NDP legislature member Christina Gray visited the line and posed with some striking workers for a photo that was posted on Twitter.

A spokesman for the minister says she was there to support postal workers without taking sides in the dispute.

United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney described Gray’s visit as strange and showing poor judgment.

Notley says Gray’s attendance would have been inappropriate if the labour dispute were a provincial matter.

But she says the rotating walkouts across the country are Ottawa’s concern.

“It’s absolutely, completely under the jurisdiction of the federal government,” Notley said in Calgary.

“Our government supports working people generally,” she added. “That’s not particularly new.”

About 2,000 postal workers in Edmonton and surrounding communities, stretching from Jasper to Camrose, walked off the job Monday along with other employees in Victoria, Halifax and Windsor, Ont. They were to resume duties at midnight.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, which represents 50,000 employees, is trying to pressure the Crown corporation into accepting contract changes. The two sides have been bargaining separate contracts for rural and urban carriers, without success, over the last 10 months.

Nancy Dodsworth, the Edmonton local union president, said Canada Post was respecting Monday’s picket lines.

“There’s nothing moving in Edmonton at all,” she said.

“All the trucks have been waved off and they’ve been respecting our lines — much appreciated.”