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Government picks veteran arbitrator to settle CP Rail dispute

The government moved quickly to end a strike by 4,800 CP Rail engineers and conductors last May by passing back-to-work legislation.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

The federal government has named a veteran labour troubleshooter as the arbitrator in the labour dispute between CP Rail and its employees.

William Kaplan has served as an arbitrator or mediator in a host of disputes since 1989.

The government moved quickly to end a strike by 4,800 engineers and conductors last May by passing back-to-work legislation.

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The legislation also allowed the government to appoint an arbitrator who will decide on a settlement within 90 days.

The back-to-work bill angered both the union and opposition critics who said it short-circuited any chance of the two sides working out a deal alone.

But the governing Conservatives made no apologies, saying the strike at the rail company was affecting the economy.

The Harper government has intervened in a number of high-profile labour disputes in the past year, notably at Canada Post and Air Canada.

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