Bad decisions will kill Canada Post

How to take a useful and popular public service and give it a slow death.

What would you do without your Post Office?

We’d have no place to weigh and mail a package. No place to buy postage. No place to sign for special deliveries. No place to hang/read posters. No place to sell raffle tickets. No place to run into friends and exchange news. No place to talk to the post mistress about fabric and show her my latest delivery.

Rural Post Offices are more than just a place to pick up and drop off mail. Whether the federal government thinks it is important or not, the local Post Office is a secondary community hall. It is like no other faciltity in town because everyone goes there – at least one member of every household.

When I lived in Hudson’s Hope, older residents would take recent arrivals up to the Post Office and have them stay there all day so that everyone in town could meet them.

While that may be an outstanding case, the fact remains that picking up your mail at the Post Office is a social occasion. I can’t go into the Post Office without, at the very least, a quick “hello” from whoever else in in there, with a lengthy conversation being at the other end of the spectrum.

Without our Post Office, we’d lose this part of our towns’ social fabric.

The federal govenment has been cutting back Canada Post for years, and has threatened to close municipal Post Offices. Now they’re cutting door to door delivery and replacing it with “Super Mailboxes.”

If they were smart – and no one has ever made that outrageous claim – they would be looking at ways to expand their services and thus their profits.

If people are turning to the internet to send their “letters”, use it. Develop internet services to send letters and parcels. Restructure prices for online businesses to make it more attractive to mail orders out. There’s no incentive to mail a letter these days when it takes two weeks to go from Toronto to Cache Creek. In the 1970s, I could get a letter to Japan or Finland in two weeks!

Moving to Super Mailboxes is just one more step in the wrong direction.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal