Brigid Pomeroy hands out protest buttons at Saturday’s rally at Spirit Square.

Rally protests cuts to mail delivery

Canada Post is actually a “cash cow,” CUPW says, and the financial straits it is under is a “manufactured crisis”

Don’t cut door-to-door mail delivery.

That was the message at a rally held at Spirit Square on Saturday by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW).

“Stephen Harper and this Conservative government is not listening,” CUPW Pacific Region representative Tim Armstrong told the gathering in downtown Campbell River that brought postal workers and supporters together. “So we have to turn up the volume.”

The rally was one in a series being held on the Island to protest cuts to delivery and other Canada Post services. Armstrong spoke to the gathering followed by federal NDP candidate Rachel Blaney and North Island MLA CLaire Trevena.

In 2013, Canada Post announced a five point plan that include “stealing” door-to-door delivery of mail; closing or downsizing public post offices; raising postage rates by over 35 per cent; cutting 8,000 “living wage” jobs; and attacking the pensions and retirement security of postal workers.

In instituting this plan, the Conservatives bypassed parliament and elected officials, blindsided the union, failed to consult with municipalities and failed to consult with the public.

Armstrong said the Conservatives and Canada Post claim that the post office is not profitable and needs to cut services to prevent it from becoming a burden on the taxpayers.

Canada Post is actually a “cash cow,” Armstrong said, and the financial straits that the crown corporation is under is a “manufactured crisis.”

Canada Post has been profitable for the past 17 of 19 years. Canada Post just announced profits of $194 million.

CUPW believes that cutting services and raising prices is a bad plan, Armstrong said. CUPW has a better plan, he said. The union proposes Canada Post expand services rather than cut them. The corporation has the most extensive retail outlets in the country and could use those to provide services to Canadians.

For example, Armstrong said Canada Post could re-establish banking services that it used to provide prior to 1969 and which other countries’ postal services still provide.

In the meantime, CUPW is keeping up the fight against cutbacks to services like door-to-door delivery. That includes pressuring municipal councils to support door-to-door service and circulating a petition which was available at Saturday’s rally to sign. Approximately 500 people signed the petition on Saturday.

Blaney, meanwhile, lambasted the prime minister for Canada Post’s plan to cut door-to-door delivery.

“It is time for Stephen Harper to put away the axe and restore our home delivery,” Blaney said.

Blaney said Harper is changing the country’s institutions against Canadians’ wishes.

“We are losing the Canada we once knew,” Blaney said.

Provincial NDP MLA CLaire Trevena addressed the rally as well.

“What we are seeing is, once again, a government that is doing two things: it is trying to kill a union and it is trying to privatize an essential service,” Trevena said. “It is moving to make Canada Post unsustainable.”

Canada Post is making money but the federal government is trying to “run it into the ground.”

“We need to keep on fighting for our services, our federal services and our services locally,” Trevena said.

Kinfo rousted Saturday’s postal rally with rockin’ music. Alistair Taylor/Campbell River Mirror