The Communist Party of Canada joins with the labour movement and its community allies in condemning the federal government’s unilateral decision to eliminate home delivery, raise postal rates, and cut thousands of jobs. While the “restructuring” announcement was made by Canada Post Corporation, these measures are orchestrated by the Harper Tories, as part of their overall agenda to privatize public services and to attack the rights and interests of organized workers.
If implemented, these changes would make Canada the first country in the world to completely replace door‑to‑door delivery of urban mail with the “community mail boxes” which were imposed despite major opposition in rural areas across the country. Those negatively affected will include huge numbers of pensioners and people with disabilities who will find it much more difficult to get their mail on a regular basis. The reduction of service levels and staggering price increases to begin next March will also devastate thousands of small businesses and charities which rely heavily on lettermail to maintain contact with customers and pay their bills. The bland reassurances of Canada Post and Harper government cabinet ministers that these are “minor problems” ring completely hollow.
The “restructuring” plan is also an escalation of the government’s attack on the workforce at Canada Post. Up to 8,000 jobs of postal workers will be eliminated, and the hard‑won pension rights of all Canada Post employees are also threatened. This is just the latest example of the Harper government’s neoliberal agenda, based on protecting corporate profits and making the working class pay the full cost of the economic crisis of the capitalist system.
As many observers have stressed, the reduction of services and the dramatic rise in Canada Post prices are designed to compel Canadians to seek other options to deliver letters and packages. The Harper Tories are setting the stage for further steps towards privatization of all public assets and services, in this case by turning over a huge chunk of this vital service to the big transnational delivery corporations. This trend will become virtually unstoppable with the signing of secretive deals such as the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union, which aims to prevent any future government from adopting policies or laws which could impact the profits of private corporations.
The “justification” for the “restructuring” includes wildly exaggerated projections of heavy financial losses by Canada Post, as well as a Conference Board of Canada report advocating the changes announced on December 11. The Conference Board recommendations are hardly surprising, since Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra (who is paid nearly $500,000 a year) is on the board of this so‑called “independent” right‑wing think‑tank, clearly a conflict of interest.
The Communist Party of Canada demands full withdrawal of the unilateral decision to cut delivery services, raise prices and eliminate jobs. We call upon the federal government to act upon the well‑founded proposals by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to use other policies to build the customer base of Canada Post, such as expanded postal banking which has become a solid source of income for post offices in other countries. We will join with other progressive and democratic movements across the country to help mount a massive public fightback against this reactionary restructuring drive.
Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada, Jan. 7, 2014