Protests against Canada Post’s delivery cuts heat up at Parliament resumes

Canada Post is phasing out urban home deliveries, something that one mother in Cambridge, Ont., says will hurt people with limited mobility. (CBC file photo)

Thousands of Canada Post workers and supporters rallied against recently-announced reductions to mail delivery in Canadian cities this weekend, calling Prime Minister Stephen Harper a "job killer" and demanding answers as Parliament returns from holiday.

More rallies are expected to be held across the country as the House of Commons resumes following its winter break on Monday, including a demonstration on Parliament Hill.

The decision to drastically reduce the scope of mail delivery in Canadian cities was announced in December when the government declared the end of door-to-door delivery within the next five years.

The new strategy also includes implementing a series of urban community mailbox drop-off locations and increasing the price of stamps. The change will eliminate 6,000 to 8,000 positions, to be phased out as employees retire.

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The controversial decision was announced on Dec. 11, just as the House of Commons was closing for holiday. The timing was recently lampooned by CBC's Rick Mercer, who said it was done "so nobody could ask the Prime Minister about it."

Well, Parliament is back in session now, and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers is working on keeping the issue in a spotlight. The NDP says it will introduce a motion on Tuesday to oppose the end of Canada Post's door-to-door service.

NPD transport critic Olivia Chow will put forward a motion that the House of Commons "express its opposition to Canada becoming the only country in the G7 without such a service."

A rally held on Sunday outside the Prime Minister's office in Ottawa, featured thousands of supporters chanting and rallying for answers. Some in attendance wore shirts and held up placards calling Harper a "serial job killer." The rally called for Canada Post to go back to the drawing board and find a better way to cover its financial losses.

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“The Conservatives are wrong to think that people are going to accept these cuts,” CUPW national vice-president Gayle Bossenberry said. “Stephen Harper, axe this plan and consult with the public.”

The plan to cut door to door delivery has been vocally opposed by a number of agencies who claim the changes will worst affect seniors and people with mobility issues. Earlier comments by Canada Post CEO Deepak Chopra, suggesting seniors would get much-needed exercise by walking to get their mail, was widely panned.

According to CUPW, the decision to cut door-to-door delivery has already been officially opposed by the governments of Vancouver, Victoria and Medicine Hat, with more cities expected to join soon.

More protests are expected to be held across the country as the debate continues, including a return to Parliament Hill. Monday rallies are currently planned for outside post offices in Victoria, B.C. and Halifax, as well as in front of the federal building in Hamilton, Ont. There are also events planned for Charlottetown, PEI, Windsor, Ont., and London, Ont.

Now that the decision-makers are back to work, no doubt the opposition to Canada Post cuts will ramp back up to full speed.

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