Will the Canada Post overhaul become an election issue?

On Wednesday morning, Canada Post announced major operational changes which they hope will put the crown corporation on a more sustainable financial path.

Essentially, they will phase out door-to-door mail delivery in urban areas, will boost the price of stamps and cut as many as 8,000 jobs.

Responding to the announcement, Liberal Insider and Sun News personality Warren Kinsella wrote this on his website.


I’m not kidding, either. If this extraordinary story isn’t an Onion-like bit of satire – and I checked, it doesn’t seem to be – the Harper guys are done like dinner. Dead.

Justin, here are your talking points: “No wonder they were eager to shut down the House early. If elected, I will stop this. Vote for me, and I will force Canada Post to keep delivering your mail.”

You know what, Kinsella is probably right.

[ Related: Canada Post cuts urban door-to-door delivery in major strategy shift ]

Maybe not about Harper losing the election but about this being a hot political potato that could have long-lasting effects.

Let's face it, Canadians are generally an apathetic bunch. Often, a controversy will brew and within a week or two we forget about it and move on to other things. But when it comes to mail delivery, Canadians seem to lose their calm demeanor.

And, in this case, the opposition politicians seem to be fanning the flames.

Here's a statement from NDP MP Olivia Chow.

"Harper’s Conservatives can find millions to keep his well-connected friends in the Senate but he can't find a way to keep mail coming to your door," Chow said in a news release posted to party's website.

"That tells you what Conservative priorities are. These short-sighted service cuts will have the biggest impact on seniors and persons with disabilities.

"You don’t save a business by cutting services, driving away customers and raising costs. The Conservatives waited until the House had risen to deliver this lump of coal to Canadians. Canadians deserve better."

And, while Trudeau didn't follow Kinsella's advice word for word, he stayed on-theme.

"The consultation that Canada Post apparently did is singularly lacking in metrics, in numbers — it’s basically anecdotal," Trudeau told reporters, according to the Canadian Press.

"We need to make sure that Canadians are being properly served by an institution like Canada Post, and that will require a little more robust discussion and study than this government has actually taken on."

As for the government, it's defending the cuts.

"The government of Canada supports Canada Post in its efforts to fulfill its mandate of operating on a self-sustaining financial basis in order to protect taxpayers, while modernizing its business and aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians," Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement.

[ More Politics: Justin Trudeau questioned about poor attendance record in the House of Commons ]

On the surface, Canada Post's action seems to be a sound business decision. The industry has changed, Canada Post has been bleeding money and technology has forced postal services throughout the Western world to change their business models.

But, again, postal delivery is always hot political potato: It's an issue that affects every Canadian and a policy that voters will be reminded of every day as they purchase stamps or make the trek to their community mail boxes.

So, ultimately, we shouldn't be surprised that the opposition parties are jumping on this issue.

And just maybe — like Kinsella suggests — it could hurt the Harper government in the next election.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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