A Conservative leadership candidate has come out in favour of privatizing Canada Post as the Crown corporation faces an ongoing labour dispute.
It's the latest headline-grabbing move from veteran Quebec MP Maxime Bernier, whose campaign has pushed for a dismantling of what he sees as big government monopolies.
Bernier said in a release Friday that he is concerned Canadians will be denied services because of the dispute between Canada Post and its union, which would hurt small and medium-sized businesses, and others who rely on the service.
Maxime Bernier speaks at the 2016 Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto on June 7, 2016. (Photo: Eduardo Lima/CP)
Bernier said Canadians have "long benefited" from private businesses delivering parcels and letters. "There are simply no reasons to protect Canada Post's monopoly for letters weighing less than 500 grams, whose volumes continue to decrease year by year," he said in the statement.
The MP pointed to other places where he said privatization of postal services has resulted in prices falling or at least increasing more slowly, including the United Kingdom.
"Meanwhile, the price of a stamp in Canada has increased by 44 per cent over the past decade," he said.
"Postal services should operate in a competitive environment, just like any other sector of the economy."
"The choice is clear between the two models. Monopolies have less incentives to reduce costs and improve services. Postal services should operate in a competitive environment, just like any other sector of the economy."
Competition and privatization, he concluded, will ensure Canadians aren't denied postal services when there is labour strife.
Liberals: Privatization off the table
The federal government has launched a review of Canada Post, intended to examine the Crown corporation's future as Canadians increasingly turning to email, online billing and private delivery options.
Public Works Minister Judy Foote said in May, however, that privatization of the postal service was not being considered.
Liberals also vowed on the campaign trail to restore door-to-door home delivery.
Bernier's statement was released on the same day the Canadian Union of Postal Workers asked for and received a 30-day truce with Canada Post to negotiate a new contract.
Bernier not saying much about pot, yet
In recent weeks, Bernier has come out against Canada's supply management system for the dairy and poultry industry — something he dubbed a "government cartel."
He also called for the deregulation of the telecom industry.
While economic freedom and competition is a key part of his message, Bernier doesn't appear to have much to say yet about the Liberals' plans to legalize marijuana beyond his support of the move in principle.
Bernier, who styles himself as a libertarian, tweeted about two newspaper columns this week examining the federal government's new task force studying pot legalization. He said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is "predictably going to use pot to expand bureaucracy and (the) nanny state."
When asked by The Huffington Post Canada if he supported private businesses selling marijuana, once its legal, or if he believe Canadians should have the right to grow it for recreational use, Bernier suggested he wasn't ready to jump into that debate.
"In principle, I'm in favour of the legalization of marijuana but that being said I will comment on the Liberal plan once it will be tabled in the House," Bernier said in an email.
With files from The Canadian Press
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