Mixed reaction to Liberal suspension of Canada Post mailbox program

CALGARY — The newly-elected Liberal government’s promise to suspend the rollout of community mailboxes is making some frustrated homeowners – even angrier.

Connie Orbeck held several month-long protests over the ‘superbox’ installed next to her southwest Calgary home, arguing it obscures her views and invades her privacy.

“Would you put the boxes eight feet in front of your deck?” she asked, rhetorically. “It is totally, totally, frustrating and amazing they would do that.”

The community box next to Orbeck’s deck was installed just hours before the federal government advised Canada Post to temporarily halt the program.

“As far as the timing, I don’t dare say anything too political, but when you change government and a nice young man who knows so much — this is what happens,” said an irritated Don Ayling, who is Orbeck’s neighbour.

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The move means those who already have community mailboxes are stuck with them for now, while about 500,000 Canadians will continue to receive delivery at their doors.

“I don’t think it’s about fairness, it’s about economics,” said Galina Vincent, who also lives in the area. “Of course I would prefer door-to-door (mail delivery); but so much money was spent and invested, we have to use it.”

The postal workers union is pushing for a complete reversal, but critics of the decision say it will cost Canada Post $1.5 billion to restore door-to-door service.

“The economics of this are so compelling — the economics of ending home delivery are clear to everybody,” Carlton University professor Ian Lee said.

With a decrease in use and declining revenues, some suggest it makes poor financial sense to suspend the conversion.

“This dynamic new (prime minister) is spending political capital on a 19th century anachronistic dinosaur,” Lee said.

“Once upon a time we had horse and buggies, but we no longer use horse and buggies … And that’s the problem,” he added. “They’re on the wrong side of history — numbers show a big collapse in demand for postal services,”

Canada Post said homeowners receiving their mail at the community boxes will continue to do so.

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Neighbourhoods that are scheduled to transition to a community mailbox beginning in November, are now on hold.

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