Thursday, July 10, 2008

Public postal service threatened

Should our public post office continue to have an exclusive privilege to handle letters so that it can provide universal service?

The federal government is conducting an inquiry, the Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review, to answer questions like these. The advisory panel conducting this review has been given a very broad mandate, which includes considering deregulation.

Even the hint of deregulation should outrage all Northerners.

When Canada Post became a Crown corporation in 1981, the estimated cost to provide service to rural and isolated areas was six to 10 times greater than the existing postage rate. Canada Post was given an exclusive privilege to handle letters so that it could generate enough money to provide affordable postal service to everyone. Canada has the second largest land mass, one of the smallest population densities and one of lowest standard postage rates in the industrial world!

Where other countries have deregulated their postal services, the results have been fewer jobs, reduced service and higher costs. Since Sweden deregulated its postal service in 1993, rates have increased by 90 per cent.

Universal service is not possible at an affordable rate without Canada Post retaining the exclusive privilege to handle letters.

If the increased financial cost and loss of decent jobs isn't enough to make you outraged about the possibility of deregulation, then what about the cost to our environment and your loss of privacy?

If the letter market is opened to private competition, the same number of letters will be delivered to the same number of people, but with many, many more vehicles - therefore resulting in much, much more pollution.

It is currently a federal offence to open mail that is not addressed to you unless there is a judicial warrant. Competition would allow American-based companies to handle our mail. They are subject to the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which requires them to provide the American government with any records concerning the sending or receiving of mail. Kiss your privacy good-bye!

Well, since the Canada Post Corp. Strategic Review is not conducting any public hearings - a fact they should be ashamed of - the only way to have your voice heard is by making a written submission before Sept. 2.

I am guessing that they hope the owners of Canada Post (that's us, the public) will be too busy enjoying our short summer to pay attention. Join me in showing them how important our public postal service is! Send your submissions to the Canada Post Corp. Strategic Review.