by David Bush and Doug Nesbitt
On Monday, October 20, the first deliveries to Canada Post’s new community mailboxes will take place. But the fight against the complete elimination of home delivery, job losses, and the preparation for Canada Post privatization are unfolding around the country.
Today, the Canada Post sorting plant in Repentigny, Quebec was occupied before being pushed out by police. Protesters then blockaded trucks with picket lines. Yesterday in Dieppe (near Moncton), pickets, organized by the Moncton & District Labour Council, blockaded the postal depot for two hours. More actions are planned across the country next week.
The legal challenge
This has come as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, seniors and disabled peoples’ organizations launched a court challenge against the loss of home delivery. The challenge argues that Canada Post management’s decision to eliminate home delivery is beyond their authority and a violation of their mandate. A creation of parliament, the legal challenge argues that only parliament can make such decision.
Part of the legal challenge will also likely prevent the privatization of home delivery. In early October, the mainstream media finally caught up to what postal workers and concerned citizens already knew: that private companies will take over door-to-door delivery, including the new Winnipeg company YouHaveMail.ca. The Canada Post Act expressly states that Canada Post Corporation has a monopoly on home delivery of mail, thus forbidding privatized companies delivering it. To boot, it will simply cost you more. Home delivery is free. Canada Post is not funded by taxpayers and earns its own revenue. While it may cost the company $275/year to deliver to your door, those costs will be offloaded to customers and likely be much higher.
Postal banking and the NDP
Postal banking also continues to bubble up as an alternative route for the public service under attack by its own management and the Tories. Canada Post shelved its own study which demonstrated postal banking would expand services to all Canadians, especially people in rural areas, and provide even more revenue and profits. But with the federal government and Canada Post management opposed to taking on the big banks fleecing the Canadian public while raking in record profits, postal banking will require electoral change.
While the Liberals do nothing, the NDP are at least demanding an audit of Canada Post finances. The NDP, however, could make waves like they have just done with their childcare announcement, if they vow to reverse home delivery and direct Canada Post to implement postal banking. This could change the dynamics of this fight in favour of public services, good jobs, and against the Tories, privatizers and the banks.
The fight is coast-to-coast
This would give strength to the many local campaigns underway across the country. Grassroots efforts by CUPW locals working alongside other labour activists, seniors, home dwellers and disability rights activists, have been sustaining and building public opposition. With over 70 municipalities lined up against the loss of home delivery and job losses. The fight against the cuts at Canada Post is far from over, here is a brief list of recent actions that postal workers and their community allies have engaged in to Save Canada Post:
St. John’s, NL: Mayor speaks out against home delivery cuts
Mount Pearl, NL: Seniors and posties organize against home delivery cuts
Lower Sackville, NS: Residents protest dangerous CMB locations
Antigonish, NS: Postal workers oppose post office moving to mall
Roberval, QC: Postal workers march on Denis Lebel’s riding office
Milton, ON: Thousands of postcards opposing cuts delivered to Lisa Raitt’s riding office
Stratford, ON: Postal workers and community members oppose installation of CMB’s
Toronto: Postal workers and supporters protest at Joe Oliver’s riding office
Etobicoke & Scarborough, ON: Labour Council and posties start door-knocking campaign
Ottawa, ON: Local coalition builds opposition to home delivery cuts
Sudbury, ON: Postal workers plan protest against Canada Post cuts
Delta, BC: Resident speaks out against unrepaired CMBs
Cranbrook, BC: Postal workers and supporters rally against cuts
Port Moody, BC: Postal workers protest at James Moore’s riding office