Opinion

OUR VIEW: Postal protest is past due

Residents across the country have been exercised recently by the fact that Canada Post intends to phase out door-to-door delivery of mail to urban addresses in favour of mailboxes – already a fact of life for many, particularly those who live in apartment and townhouse complexes.

Unfortunately for all those of us who would prefer time to stand still on such issues, the writing has been on the wall – if not on our personalized stationery – for years. The fact is, the convenience and prevalence of email (including ebills, ebanking and ecommerce) effectively spelled the end of “snail mail” – as the major mode of communication – many years ago.

No, it’s not gone entirely, and it likely never will be. There will still be those who prefer hard-copy mail, both for esthetic and, for some transactions, practical reasons. And it seems that new media never completely edge out old formats – which sometimes survive (like the vinyl record) to become trendy again. And handling of parcels, of course, is still going to be a stock-in-trade for Canada Post, until someone figures out a safe and reliable way of teleporting goods. But it can’t come as a surprise that the loss of significant mail volumes to digital communication would have an inevitable impact on Canada Post’s bottom line. Though we may argue about the corporation’s management decisions and strategies – and the stance of the federal government in negotiations – that bottom line is also our bottom line, as taxpayers.

Present-day critics may wish to ponder that the time to protest the shift toward mail boxes – and raise quite legitimate concerns about their security, and inaccessibility for those facing physical challenges  – was years ago, when they became the norm for rural and suburban routes. It’s sad that those unaffected at that time could not envision that someone else’s problem would eventually become their own – but how many times has that happened in human history?

Like it or not, that battle has been lost, as have the working positions Canada Post means to eliminate through attrition. If there was a time to save or transition those jobs, the strategies also needed to be launched by union leaders long ago.

– Black Press

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