• John Jantak

NDP begins province-wide tour to highlight eventual loss of Canada Post services


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Alexandre Boulerice, Federal NDP Labour critic and MP for Rosemont La Petite-Patrie, and Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, NDP MP for Pierrefonds-Dollard address constituents’ concerns about plans by Canada Post to eliminate door-to-door mail service during a public information meeting last Friday evening in Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

The federal New Democratic Party (NDP) launched the first of over 20 public forums in Pierrefonds-Roxboro last Friday, April 25, at Manoir Roger Bernard that was attended by about 60 constituents, including several postal workers, to draw public attention to plans by Canada Post to eliminate door-to-door home mail delivery and shutter post offices throughout the country.

NDP Labour critic Alexandre Boulerice, Member of Parliament (MP) for the Montreal riding of Rosemont La Petite-Patrie, said the Quebec-wide tour he is making in the next several weeks aims to provide citizens with the tools to oppose the elimination of home mail delivery and to push the federal Conservative government to back down on their “irrational” decision.

“Canada Post services have been butchered without regard for the difficulty that seniors and persons with reduced mobility will face as a result of the elimination of home mail delivery,” said Boulerice. “Add to that the postal workers who will be losing their jobs, the increase in the price of stamps, and the complications involved with placing community mailboxes in urban settings, and you get a clear picture of how regions will be paying the price for these unreasonable cuts.”

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, MP for the West Island riding of Pierrefonds-Dollard, is also a vocal critic of the elimination of door-to-door mail delivery and began her presentation by holding up about 1,000 business reply cards sent to her riding office by area constituents who are concerned about the eventual loss of service.

“The current plan will make Canada the only G7 country to have turned its back on home mail delivery,” said Blanchette-Lamothe. “That’s unacceptable. The goal of this tour is to explain why these announced cuts are unnecessary, to respond to the population’s questions and to raise awareness about the impacts of these cuts.”

Blanchette-Lamothe noted that the NDP is not the only organization that has condemned the elimination of home delivery services, citing several other groups including the Union of Quebec Municipalities, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Quebec Federation of Senior Citizens that have also expressed concern or directly criticized the cuts to Canada Post services.

Alain Robitaille, the National Coordinator for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) for Quebec, said the cuts will eliminate between 6,000 to 8,000 postal jobs through attrition and cause unnecessary hardship for seniors and other residents particularly in major urban areas such as Montreal, surrounding municipalities in the West Island, and other regions in the province.

“Our major concern is the loss of service for our customers,” Robitaille told Your Local Journal. “We know that the elderly and other people with mobility problems will have a lot of difficulty going to community mailboxes. Our other concern is that there have been no negotiations or public consultations on the issue. We want the federal government to consult with the real owners of Canada Post, which is the population in Quebec and the rest of Canada.”

Instead of eliminating door-to-door mail delivery and shutting down post offices, Robitaille said a possible solution would be for Canada Post to expand its range of services to include banking, which would help to off set the decrease in posted mail because of the Internet and online billing, and provide new job opportunities for Canada Post employees.

“We’re not the only country that is facing the same situation,” said Robitaille. “Many countries are upgrading their operations to include banking and other financial services, such as France, Switzerland, Italy, Brazil, Japan and New Zealand. There are over 6,400 post offices in Canada, so the infrastructure is already there.”

For the many seniors were present at the public forum, the possible loss of the individual mail slots in apartment buildings and subsidized rental buildings such as the Manoir Roger Bernard, is a major concern, said Edward Staniewicz.

“I’m worried that we’re going to lose the individual mail-boxes in our building,” said Staniewicz. “We’re seniors here. We’re getting on in age and our health is deteriorating. What are they going to do, put the boxes out on the street? It’s not just our building. There are seniors in other buildings who are also worried.

“The weather isn’t very good in winter,” Staniewicz added. “No matter what the city does to maintain the roads, there are always going to be cases where people slip and fall. And there’s also the risk of theft from public boxes. I think this whole thing is a way to strip Canada Post of all its power and sell it off to a private company under the guise that it’s not making money.”

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