Members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) went door to door in Calgary on Saturday but they weren’t delivering the mail. They were distributing cards asking people to send them to the Prime Minister’s office to get him to restore door-to-door delivery service.
“Our focus here is to bring back services to those that have lost it and expand the post office. The post office is a public sector success story,” said CUPW Saskatoon Local president Julie Sanderson.
Four years ago, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government announced it was going to end door-to-door mail delivery to reduce costs.
But in 2015, the Liberals promised to stop the conversion to community mailboxes. Now a Commons committee has called on the government to reinstate door-to-door delivery where it was converted and to maintain a freeze on the installation of the super mailboxes.
Calgary letter carrier Clint Loor says door-to-door delivery goes beyond putting letters in mailboxes.
“A lot of my customers were telling us we were the last line of security aside from the Calgary Police Service because we were in the area all the time, always keeping an eye out for people, older citizens that might have mobility issues or health issues. We have those relationships where we can kind of watch out for those people,” said Loor, who was out talking to residents in Marlborough on Saturday.
Some people who now walk down the street in Marlborough to get their mail say there are advantages to doing away with home delivery.
“For me it’s good if I go away. I don’t have to worry much about my mail because I really don’t know my neighbours,” said Vera Vejdovsky.
Myles Thurlow says he misses home delivery but he likes saving money more.
“I can see the union’s point of view. They want more employees but I cannot see a great improvement over what it is right now, and a heck of a lot of money is going to be spent. And that is my big objection as a taxpayer, I don’t like spending money,” said Thurlow. “It was a poor idea to start with but we are so far down the road with the poor idea that it’s hard to change.”
In Calgary, around 60,000 households were converted before the switch was put on hold. That leaves 240,000 Calgary homes that were scheduled to get the community mailboxes waiting for a decision from the Liberal government.
A decision on the issue was expected by the spring of 2017.