By David Heap and Wendy Goldsmith, members of Londoners 4 Door 2 Door
Inspired by other community activists Ottawa and Hamilton, Londoners have been taking up the spade in response to Canada Post’s hurried approach to the conversion of door to door delivery to self serve mail boxes.
After working on door-to-door canvassing since January, raising the issue in local media, in town hall meetings and in our neighbourhoods, we have had to step up our resistance to the Canada Post juggernaut in recent weeks. As holes were excavated in our communities and concrete pads installed without even Canada Post reporting back about consultations as was promised to London’s City Council in March, we moved into more direct action. We first took a stand by sitting in a hole dug on Cavendish Crescent, which got a quick reaction from some of London’s city councilors, leading to a resolution from a City Council that had avoided taking a stand on the issue for months.
To date, four community gardens have been planted, most with the guidance of Internationally known artist Ron Benner. Benner, a Londoner, incorporates native plants into his works of art, which are springing up in different part of London in sites designated for unsightly ‘community’ mailboxes (CMB).
One garden was bulldozed by a Canada Post sub-contractor and replaced with concrete pads, but at the time of writing the other three remain, lovingly tended to by neighbours and friends of Londoners 4 Door 2 Door.
At yet another site in London, a week-long block-the-box block party continues. In the blistering heat, residents on this suburban street reclaimed the space that has been designated for a CMB, and have repurposed it with community, connection and a neighbourly camaraderie in mind. This is the very sense of community that Canada Post’s management and the Harper government are determined to undermine.
Despite the City of London’s resolution to request consultation from Canada Post prior to the implementation of the CMBs, Canada Post seems determined to steamroll their agenda. Public opinion overwhelmingly agrees that Canadians want and deserve door-to-door mail delivery. The media and community attention that the garden plantings and site sit-ins have achieved keep the issue in the front of mind for Londoners, and has drawn coverage nationally. We are contacted daily by residents concerned about the hurried installations that Canada Post subcontractors are rushing to put into our neighbourhoods, in many cases with no regard for community safety. Local media have been putting incumbent Conservative MPs on the spot about the issue of door-to-door mail deliver, and it is clear that they have no real answers for community concerns.
Whether you call it a sit-in or an occupation, protecting community spaces is a form of activism. which is accessible to many of us in targeted communities. To start, all you need is a lawn chair and maybe some shade, reading material and a willingness to “get in the way”. Support from the community is of course vital to maintaining and spreading this struggle, so talk to your neighbours before you start and as you undertake this sort of action. Mobile phones with cameras are handy to document what is going on, post photos on social media and call for back-up when needed.
One crucial message to convey to everyone is that this issue goes far beyond concrete pads and mailboxes being imposed on our communities: we are really fighting to maintain one of our vital public services and to give Canadians a real say in how it is run. The Conservative agenda could not be more at odds with what Canadians want: leaked documents show that Harper is ready to privatize our public post office. Cutting service is really just a prelude to dealing the profitable parts of the business (like parcel delivery) to private sector cronies.
Londoners 4 Door 2 Door continues to reach out and connect with like-minded individuals, neighbourhood groups and communities who also value the beautification of boulevards over the privatization of financially successful, publicly owned services that benefit all of us.
You contact Londoners 4 Door 2 Door by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website