In a bid to keep Canada Post from privatizing its Trail location, the postal workers union has completed its own mailing campaign and is waiting for the results.
In February, Canada Post issued a letter of notification to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) citing its intent to open a privately-owned postal franchise in downtown Trail.
At that time, the union had 90 days to offer another option that would be viable and cost-effective. To that end, every house in Trail was sent a card that informed residents of the impending change and asked for support.
“Everyone in Trail received a postage-free card to fill out that said ‘Save our Post Office,’” said Ed Evans, CUPW Local 842.
The cards were mailed directly to Robert Aubin, the NDP MP who serves as critic responsible for Canada Post.
“This is a politically motivated issue,” said Evans. “If the Harper government says ‘I don’t care what the public says’ and decides to (privatize) post offices, then he will be on the hot seat for that decision.
“The cards of support that everyone has mailed in will be ammo in (the opposition’s) back pocket.”
Even if the public responds with overwhelming support to keep Canada Post locations status quo, the subject itself could become a hot-button issue for the government when the House of Commons reconvenes in the fall.
“This is not just a union issue,” said Alex Atamanenko, MP for B.C. Southern Interior.
“The current government is all about farming out jobs to retail outlets and not worrying about good pay or benefits.”
Atamanenko said that preserving Canada Post locations is a community issue that needs support from the local chamber and council to send the message that “further cuts on the backs of rural communities is not acceptable.
“We have to watch this because it could be one of those sleeper issues that all of a sudden we wake up and find they have done it,” he said.
The Canada Post Corporation came into force as a crown corporation in 1981 with a mandate to set a ‘new direction’ for the postal service, and create a reliable service that ensures the postal service’s financial security and independence.
Since then, the Internet revolution sent the postal service into a tailspin as people are turning to digital alternatives to send and receive correspondence.
“People are becoming more comfortable with alternative ways to receive everything from bill payments to bank statements,” said Anick Losier, media relations for Canada Post.
“They convert to electronic without really thinking about the impact to Canada Post,” she said.
“It means that people don’t need to go to the post office in the same way.
“That is the trend and it is not going to turn around.”
Although the number of supportive responses hasn’t been officially tallied, Evans said that the overall picture painted is that people want to keep their post offices “where they are at.”
“I’ve been reading through a lot of my emails both national and regional,” he said.
“In regards to small town post offices, the public is very supportive of us.”