The votes are in and it is official, Deepak Chopra is the winner RankandFile.ca’s Scumbag of the Year award for 2015. Chopra, the president and CEO of Canada Post, trounced a strong field of contenders in our open voting. Each of his competitors would have been a worthy choice. But rarely has a candidate united so many people from across the country. Chopra has been working hard to win this award, he was nominated but lost last year.
In 2011 Chopra was appointed by the Harper government to his position. Previously he worked for Pitney Bowes, a multinational company specializing in mail, parcel and information technology. His tenure at Canada Post started by pushing 50,000 workers onto a rotating strike and then locking them out in the spring of 2011. Canada Post was aiming to rollback sick days, lengthen routes and and force letter carriers into unsafe working conditions. The lockout was eventually settled by the government ordering workers back to work, mandating a wage settlement and the government declaring that Canada Post was a vital service for the economy.
Less than two years later, just days after the House of Commons broke for the winter holidays, Chopra and Canada Post, announced they will be ending door-to-door mail service, cutting thousands of jobs and upping postage prices. Merry fucking Christmas! Chopra then lied about doing consultations about this drastic change and he even had the gall to say old people told him they would welcome going to community mailboxes instead of home delivery, because they needed the exercise.
Part of the justification of the changes at Canada Post were its profitability. Chopra and others in Canada Post’s management pointed to a Conference Board of Canada report stating the crown corporation was losing money and mail volumes were declining rapidly. The study however compared the quarter of after the lockout, when mail volumes were massive and backlogged with the following year to show a steep decline. The study’s skewed results didn’t take into account this or the explosion in growth of parcel delivery. Hence they predicted Canada Post would lose $400 million in 2014, when in fact they turned a profit (as they have for every year but one in the last 20). And who sits on the board of directors at the Conference Board of Canada, none other than Deepak fucking Chopra.
For the last two years Chopra has continued to attack mail service across the country. He and the rest of management at Canada Post have cut service to hundreds of thousands of addresses right across the country. The contract to manufacture community mailboxes that replace home mail delivery were given to an American firm. And low and behold the installation of the CMB’s has been a mess. They are regularly poorly installed, placed in improper locales and have been routinely freezing shut in cold weather!
Community groups and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have been working tirelessly to fight this insane cut to a valuable public service. The protests, sit-ins, petitioning, canvassing changed the conversation and played a big role in curbing support for the Tories in many areas of the country. Just before the Tories called the election they reappointed Chopra for another five year term, even though his current mandate expired in 2016. When the Liberals took power they asked Chopra and 30 others who the Tories pre-appointed to step down. Chopra refused. A classic scumbag move.
So for being a lying, conniving, snivelling Tory bureaucrat whose goal has been to destroy the power of the union and the effectiveness of a valuable public service, Deepak Chopra is RankandFile.ca’s Scumbag of the year. You can tweet this award to Canada Post @canadapostcorp
Sara Thomas and Mike Hachey
Justice Herman Wilton-Siegal
The University of Toronto administration
The Ryerson Student Union executive