I was surprised to receive an envelope in the mail from Canada Post informing me that our neighborhood would be converting to so-called community mailboxes next year. Having read the odd news item about their latest plan, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised but maybe I was simply in denial. Maybe I couldn't believe that Canada Post would do something this outrageous and arbitrary.
Citizens in London are proving once again that the only way to get any respect from the Harper Conservatives is to talk directly to the voters. The issue is the proposed elimination of door-to-door postal delivery, an ideological gambit by the Harper government that has always seemed politically risky, if somebody were to work to make it so.
Queen Elizabeth did not want to be the last monarch of Scotland, Lyndon Johnson did not want to be the first president to lose a war, ergo the postmaster general that has door to door mail eliminated during his tenure will go down in history as the worst to hold the position. If mail delivery to Canadian homes is eradicated on his watch, the postmaster general should be forced to resign.
Since their overall objective should be to find ways to deliver better services more efficiently to Canadians, and given their remarkable record of success, shouldn't Canada forge ahead with a stronger agenda for more Private-Public Partnerships?
According to neo-con politicians, union bosses and their minions, as well as public servants, and public institutions, are the causes of our economic woes, even as these are some of the few remaining polities that mitigate the damages caused by predator capitalism. Two of Canada's "emblematic" institutions, currently being undermined so that they can be replaced by inferior models, are "universal" health care, and Canada Post.
Hidden among all of those Facebook posts of dogs, cats and kids -- which are really only important to their owners -- are the ever-increasing 'feel sorry for me' posts. These often contain messages designed to attract a bevy of comments.
What this means in plain English is that Canadians just are not buying enough stamps to keep Canada Post afloat, and, as its only shareholder, the government of Canada has to look at its options and make some tough decisions. Luckily for them, the union bosses' arch-nemeses are in power, so they are all too happy to put the blame on the governing Conservatives.
On Wednesday, Canada Post confirmed what most of us already know: that door-to-door mail delivery is outdated, expensive, and unsustainable. In fact, I believe the federal government should have used the June 2011 strike to privatize the Crown Corporation, completely severing it from the federal government's books.
All the pundits basically agree Canada's public-sector post office is an increasingly useless anachronism in the digital age. Many would say its costs, services, and employees are downright terrible, in fact -- and have been for ages. Yet any government that fails to reverse this decades-long status quo of irrelevant mediocrity is also said to be running the risk of triggering a massive public backlash, capable of leaving its re-election odds, at best, in doubt.
Canadians living in urban centres will no longer be provided door to door mail service. While many of us, from across the age spectrum, use the Internet, not all Canadians are "online." I am troubled by the government's decision to choose "cuts" rather than innovation to adapt to technological change. Like so many other cuts to government jobs and services, the Conservatives continue to emasculate the presence and role of the federal government, and in doing so, they loosen the threads that bind us together.
Is this the end of snail mail? Seems to be...
Why not be truly bold and lead Canada Post into a new era of better banking services for Canadians? Indeed, the union has presented a sound and compelling idea to serve the public, make money and create jobs, but the crown corporation is saying no, we're not interested in better serving the public, making more money and creating more jobs!
Canada Post decided not to deliver the hefty textbook I'd ordered from Indigo for my upcoming course because "there was no safe place" to leave it at my front door. Courier after courier has no trouble immediately spotting the safe place at my door to leave boxes more visible than the one-book package Canada Post was tasked with delivering.
Canada Post is forecast to have an annual operating deficit of $1-billion by 2020. One way to help is to gradually eliminate the government monopoly. This could be done through contracting arrangements, which create a strong incentive for contracted employers and their employees to maximize their productivity.
Handling media relations, whether for a politician, a corporation or an NGO is not for the faint of heart. Or the weak of stomach -- I always tell new-to-the-job media relations specialists to lay in a supply of Maalox. And go easy on the Scotch.
We don't know for sure who will be tapped for the job of Governor of the Bank of Canada. What we do know is that the individual will be a Canadian. No other nationalities were invited to apply. But, in 2013, does such a citizenship restriction even make any sense? Or is it just another manifestation of good, old-fashioned Canadian parochialism?