Postal reforms make no sense
EDITORIAL: WHAT OTHERS THINK
The federal government’s decision to end the phaseout of home mail delivery represents a triumph of bad politics over good judgment. In order to keep a rash election promise — or at least be able to claim they did — the Liberals announced last week that those lucky Canadians who still get doorto-door service will not have to give it up or need to walk to a dreaded community mail box.
It’s a seriously flawed plan that not only creates an inequitable, two-tier system for mail service but seriously jeopardizes the longterm viability of Canada Post.
It means that the 4.2 million addresses across the country that still get mail dropped at their doorsteps will continue to benefit from a service denied to the vast majority of Canadians.
Meanwhile, the 840,000 households that lost home delivery since 2014 have been told they will never get the service back.
Likewise, the millions of households that have been using community mail boxes since they first started being introduced 32 years ago will also have to continue making the trek to those unloved neighbourhood fixtures.
As for new housing developments being built now and in future, their residents will have to make do with community mailboxes. No home delivery for them.
This is a ludicrous, contradictory jumble of a public policy.
For some Canadians, home mail delivery is recognized as some kind of sacred right.
For most of the country — and that means people who pay the same taxes and postal charges as those with door-to-door service — home delivery remains an unattainable dream.
Canada Post officials argued convincingly that given the 44-percent decline in letter mail volumes between 2006 and 2016, they had to radically overhaul their business or else operate at a significant loss that someone — meaning taxpayers — would have to pick up.
Indeed, had Canada Post proceeded with its plan to phase out home delivery, it would have saved $400-million a year, certainly enough to put it on more solid financial ground.
But the minority who opposed the change was an angry, vocal minority.
Eager to differentiate his party from the Stephen Harper Conservatives who approved Canada Post’s plan, Justin Trudeau pledged in the 2015 election campaign to “save home mail delivery.”
Now, having studied Canada Post’s financial health and realizing it would be prohibitively expensive to restore home delivery, the Liberals have approved an unfair, half-baked scheme that serves the interests of no one but those few who will continue getting home delivery, the postal workers who will provide it, and the Liberals.
Meanwhile, the Liberals have raised the totally impractical possibility of providing home delivery to people with mobility issues in areas served by community mail boxes. Don’t hold your breath for this.
Whether Canadian taxpayers love or loath this Liberal nonsolution, they’ll have to subsidize it in coming years, years in which Canada Post will also grapple with $6 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for its retirees.
Too bad we can’t mark this daft Liberal plan with “return to sender.”