The Harper government’s lack of appreciation for public services has been made clear from the beginning. Health care is being chipped away, the national child care program was scrapped, and privatization is being forced on municipal governments desperate to maintain their infrastructure.
So it should come as no surprise that the federal government is now conducting a very quick and potentially damaging review of our public post office. While the Canada Post Corporation Strategic Review has ruled out privatization of Canada Post, deregulation of our public postal service is still on the table.
“We have several concerns about the possible deregulation of Canada Post,” said CUPE National President Paul Moist. “We encourage our members to speak up in defence of this crucial public service.”
Some of CUPE’s concerns with the deregulation of Canada Post are as follows:
Danger to the universal postal service
In a country the size of Canada’s, it is very expensive to provide equal services from coast to coast. Canada Posts’ exclusive privilege to deliver letters allows it to generate enough revenue to provide service to all Canadians, no matter how remote their location or how small their town. When Canada Post was granted this privilege in 1981, legislators understood that market forces alone could not guarantee a reasonable level of service at affordable prices to all Canadians, especially those living in rural or remote areas.
At that time it was estimated that the cost of servicing rural and isolated areas was ‘six to ten times’ the existing postage rate of a first class letter.
Danger to CUPW members
Postal workers in New Zealand suffered a dramatic decline in wage levels after their post office was deregulated in 1998. Thousands of postal workers’ jobs were eliminated by Sweden Post after it was deregulated. Between 1993 and 2005, Sweden Post destroyed 16,000 jobs while the competition created only 2000 jobs.Deregulation could easily turn good jobs into bad ones.
Danger to privacy
Many of the companies vying to enter into the market of mail delivery in Canada would be American-based. This would leave them subject to the terms of the USA Patriot Act. Under the terms of the Act, American subsidiaries delivering mail in Canada can be required to provide the American government with any records they have concerning the sending or receipt of mail.
We are calling on our members to speak up for Canada Post in the following ways: