Stamping out Canada Post’s urban stronghold would upset national mail balance.
I've got a post secret for you. It's about a review of Canada Post that could completely change how our mail system works.
The strategic review of the Canada Post Corporation was announced in April, but it sounded really friendly then.
It promised not to privatize Canada Post and to "make sure this public institution has the right means and tools to fulfill its mandate in the future," according to Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon.
So why did the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) drop off over 20,000 protest postcards at the minister's office on Tuesday (September 2)?
They're thinking the feds want to ditch Old Reliable for a slick privately run import.
"The agenda is to open up the market to the private sector," says CUPW national president Denis Lemelin.
Lemelin says the main fear is talk of deregulating Canada Post, which has been profitable for the last 12 years, doing away with its exclusive right to deliver regular mail to 15 million households across the country.
That mandate includes getting letters to everyone from Joe Corporate on Bay Street to Joanne Isolation who relies on an Air Stage Office because where she lives is inaccessible by land for more than six months a year.
Got mail? Historic post office at Union Station is now a bank.
"In some ways, that [exclusive right supports our ability to] have only one price for a stamp in Canada," says Lemelin, explaining that profits from urban service help pay for expensive rural service.
He says, "If this market is opened, then some corporation - it can be UPS (which has already tried unsuccessfully, to sue the government for preferential treatment of Canada Post), FedEx, DHL or some other smaller private one - can decide to deliver mail in a larger city at a price lower than Canada Post."
Canada Post would still be stuck with the more difficult and expensive task of serving smaller remote communities.
"That would make a big change in the way we service rural areas," warns Lemelin, suggesting that such a move would raise prices, lower services and cost jobs.
Transport Canada spokesperson Maryse Durette asserts that the review is routine, just an analysis in light of technological changes like e-mail, the Internet and shifts in mail volumes.
"We're looking to see if Canada Post has the tools and means to do what Canadians expect," says Durette, who sidesteps deregulation talk.
"I cannot say [deregulation] is or is not [possible]. It's a review. What do you review in a review? You review everything, but as a premise we're starting with the fact that Canada Post is not broken and will remain a Crown corporation."
Who knows? Maybe the Conservative Party of Canada just wants exclusive possession of the CPC acronym.