So Canada Post now wants to abandon delivery to every urban address in the country, reportedly becoming the first major industrialized country in the world to do so http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/canada-first-g7-country-to-cut-universal-postal-service/article15873688/
Bad ideas don’t go away that easily. But worse than that, stopping direct delivery to home and business addresses sets a really bad precedent for postal services all over the world that want to shed unprofitable but necessary services.
Is Canada Post doing this in a cynical attempt to cut labor costs that might precede an initial public stock offering of a soon-to-be privatized entity? Nobody’s talking about that right now but you’d have to have been living under a rock not to see the way things are going.
After all, wasn’t it former Canada CEO Moya Greene who jumped ship a few years ago to become head of the U.K.’s Royal Mail which is now going through privatization? It’s plausible she left behind Canadian cohorts who think along these lines.
A few months ago, the U.S. Postal Service floated the same idea. This demonstrated questionable business sense because it’s unclear how much money this might save, In fact it could well end up costing a great deal of money to implement. To say nothing of a truckload of more-than-likely public resistance.
More importantly, this proposal may be unconstitutional since it reduces universal delivery that the Constitution guarantees down here.
Canada Post has unveiled a new plan that will ostensibly be phased in over five years. That scheme calls for delivering mail to community mailboxes instead of to homes and businesses. It also would increase the number of postal franchises (in other words small-scale privatization), cut workforce size, worker benefits and the like http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/aboutus/news/pr/2013/2013_action_plan.jsf.
Predictably, Canada Post blames the onslaught of electronic communications and the like as reasons for this service cutback. They also say this move will take Canadian taxpayers off the hook from having to bail out the money-losing agency. In the third quarter, Canada Post reported a, pre-tax loss of $102 million) ($109 million Canadian) for the period ended Sept. 28, a drop from $136 million ($145 million Canadian) a year earlier.
Question is, have email, mobile texting, tablets and other hitherto undeveloped media really supplanted the need for old fashioned mail north of the border or is that just stale rhetoric? As with down here, regular mail remains a necessity, if only not to discriminate against older or poorer people who may not be able to afford electronic gadgetry. Some U.S. members of Congress have leveled these criticisms against the U.S. The same may be true in Canada but its current Conservative government probably lacks empathy and doesn’t need the votes of such people– just like their U.S. counterparts in the GOP.
Even though Canada has a Postal charter that guarantees universal service, this is not written in Canada’s constitution, the British North America Act of 1867, which separated it from the British Empire. In fact, you’ve got to go to London to see that document http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/infosheets-canadapost-1770.htm.
No matter, let’s just hope enough Canadians can save their postal service from the ravages of greedy uncaring short-sighted privatizers.