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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Canada Post adjusting to modern reality

“Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

— New York City Postal Office VP of delivery Henry Panky

Unless of course you work as a mail carrier for Canada Post.

As The Canadian Press reported, mail carriers are now an endangered species on Canadian streets as the Crown corporation has decided to phase out home delivery and eliminate thousands of positions.

The national mail service says rising costs and falling mail volumes have made it impossible to continue its traditional operations, so it plans to put a five-stage plan into action that will help save up to $900 million a year.

That mean within the next five years, folks who get their mail delivered to their homes — about one-third of Canadians, mostly in cities — will have to pick up their mail at community mailboxes.

At the same time, the cost of mail delivery will jump as well. The price of stamps will rise by 35 per cent to 85 cents per stamp when purchased in a booklet, starting on March 31. Stamps that are purchased one at a time will cost $1 each. The changes require approval by regulators.

While the Canadian Union of Postal Workers called the cost-cutting decisions “short-sighted and foolish,” we have to say that Canada Post is simply trying to deal with the reality of modern times. This news does not come as any big surprise — at least not to us.

Nevertheless, members of the federal Opposition are attacking the Conservative government for allowing “job-killing and service-cutting measures” that will “isolate seniors, the poor and the disabled living in urban areas,” as NDP MP Olivia Chow intoned.

But blaming the Conservatives for destroying Canada Post is disingenuous. The demise of the postal carrier and the financial problems now facing Canada Post were inevitable the moment folks started sending each other electronic messages.

The postal service may receive a flood of extra mail and package deliveries during the Christmas season, but that doesn’t change the fact that the rise of email and social media has effectively killed so-called snail-mail deliveries.

Truly, here is an example of the old saying “use it or lose it. For a corporation that depends on the sale of stamps and mail and package deliveries for its continued viability, that kind of model is simply unsustainable.

A study from the Conference Board of Canada released in April said that the postal service will be losing $1 billion a year by 2020. The corporation must evolve or die out.

But the loss of thousands of postal carriers — Canada Post says about 6,000 to 8,000 positions will be eliminated over the next five years, mainly through attrition — will indeed come as a blow to some folks who are used to getting their mail at their doorstep. And we certainly sympathize with the postal union in that fact that this truly does represent an end of an era.

However, a great many Canadians already have to pick up their mail at a community mailbox.

In fact, many small towns in the countryside still retain a post office with mailboxes where area residents have to drive in to pick up their mail, along with their groceries and anything else they need. Those without a post office nearby still have community mailboxes situated at an accessible location.

This has always been the reality for rural Canadians, and urban residents and businesses will simply have to adjust.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 12, 2013

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Indeed, as a rural resident and long time owner of a post office box all I have to say is this. Welcome to how the other half lives.

Canada Post has decided to do some trimming. Too little, too late.

Notice how the trimming takes place everywhere but their ivory tower HQ.

Note the parallels with Manitoba Hydro.

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“Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

— New York City Postal Office VP of delivery Henry Panky

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“Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

— New York City Postal Office VP of delivery Henry Panky

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