• John Jantak

NDP holds town hall meeting to discuss Canada Post service cuts in Vaudreuil-Soulanges


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Jamie Nicholls, NDP MP for Vaudreuil-Soulanges (left) and Alexandre Boulerice, NDP MP for Rosemont La Petite-Patrie listen as Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) President Sébastien Dubois for Vaudreuil-Dorion tells citizens how Canada Post cuts to mail service will affect residents in the region during a town hall meeting last Friday evening, May 16.

The federal New Democratic Party (NDP) province wide tour denouncing cuts to mail delivery service proposed by Canada Post made a stop in Vaudreuil-Dorion during a town hall meeting that was attended by about 50 residents from across the region at the Centre Multisports last Friday evening, May 16.

Jamie Nicholls, Member of Parliament (MP) for Vaudreuil-Soulanges and Alexandre Boulerice, MP for the Montreal riding of Rosemont La Petite-Patrie and Deputy Critic for Canada Post, said the cuts would place an unnecessary burden on residents throughout the region, particularly for people living in rural communities.

“The fact is there’s still a lot of rural home delivery in Vaudreuil-Soulanges and people have had this service for the longest time,” said Nicholls. “What Canada Post is proposing is ending this service which is a radical change. A lot of people will have difficulties because it will mean that an elderly person who has always received mail in front of their house will now have to go to a community mailbox.”

Nicholls noted that many residents have mobility issues which would make it extremely difficult for them to travel, especially during the winter months, including the fact that there are no sidewalks along stretches of rural road.

Other municipalities that have a more urbanized population such as Pincourt and Vaudreuil-Dorion are having difficulty determining the best spots to place community mailboxes. Nicholls places the blame squarely on Canada Post and the federal Conservative government for failing to properly address the issue.

“We were talking to the councillors in Pincourt today and they were saying that just the logistics of placing community boxes is difficult,” said Nicholls. “Canada Post isn’t consulting communities when they choose the location of community boxes and there’s also safety issues involved. It’s kind of a big mess.

“When you’re making big radical changes like this you have to do it properly and it looks like the Crown corporation and government aren’t taking their responsibility seriously,” added Nicholls. “They should be protecting our mail service. We’re going to be the only Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) country that will end home delivery. Other OECD countries still have home delivery.”

Claims made by Canada Post that it needs to cut home mail delivery to remain profitable in the Internet age are unwarranted, according to Boulerice, who said during the past 19 years, the Crown corporation has posted an annual profit except in two recent years.

For Boulerice, the proposed cuts by Canada Post are indicative of a broader government agenda to make cuts to other federal agencies including Service Canada, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in order to eventually privatize all these essential services. “We’re fighting to keep all these services operating at a reasonable cost for all Canadian,” said Boulerice.

Sébastien Dubois, President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers for Vaudreuil-Dorion, said the cuts to mail service would adversely affect senior citizens especially during the winter months because of the difficulty involved in walking to community mailboxes. Dubois proposed that Canada Post could keep the present level of service and remain profitable by introducing additional services, such as banking.

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