You’ve got mail… for now

As the government begins to destroy Canada Post – at least that’s how community members felt at a rally in Winnipeg last week – it has people up in arms about what is really going on with the country’s mail delivery.

Winnipeg has two of the postal codes that are switching to community mailboxes. I have family living in these older neighbourhoods where there is concern about how the transition will affect everyone from homeowners to the elderly and the disabled.

Crime, safety, accessibility – all issues that were discussed when an estimated 350 people crammed into a high school gym for the town hall meeting. I was there taking it all in.

Also in attendance was a postal clerk who has been with Canada Post for 34 years, she said, and working in a CP retail store for four years. She said the postal rate hikes are “outrageous” and claims that the amount of mail going through the system has not slowed, noting there are frequent lineups in her St. Boniface store.

“We’re all expected to pay more for our services so it doesn’t make sense to have those services diminished.”

A month before the event, residents were given postcards to mail to their elected officials. It basically said, “Hey, save door-to-door delivery.” One woman showed a card that had markings of going through the post but it was returned to her – seemingly by her MP Joy Smith, she said.

Smith was noticeably absent for the event but I tweeted her. She replied, “Difficult to attend an event in #Winnipeg when only given a few hours notice & I happen to be in #Ottawa voting w/ other MPs.” Though I should point out other elected officials at least had staff representing them at the meeting if they couldn’t be there themselves.

Again, residents had over a month’s notice about the event, which led me to question how in touch Smith is with the communities she represents.

Smith added, “Most of our riding has had community mailboxes for 10-20 years,” which again has nothing to do with the older neighbourhoods in question. By all accounts these communities aren’t suitable to house the giant mailboxes.

Finally, I asked Smith how she voted and rather than answering directly, she sent a link to a site with pages and pages of House votes. I gave up trying to find the answer online and it leads me to believe she voted to gut Canada Post. Sources have told me Smith is retiring from politics so that could also be reason for her not caring.

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