Letter carriers refuse to deliver graphic anti-abortion flyers

Canada Post workers in Saskatoon won't be forced to deliver anti-abortion flyers

Some Canada Post letter carriers are refusing to deliver graphic anti-abortion flyers that also target Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

The flyers were originally hand distributed by members of an organization called the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CCBR).

The pamphlets, with graphic images of fetuses from an abortion, made their rounds in the city in June and were meant to target the pro-choice stance of Trudeau, who is now on the campaign trail following Sunday's October election call. 

This time, instead of being delivered by members of the CCBR, the flyers are slipped into white, unsealed envelopes and delivered through Canada Post.

"Most of the letter carriers that I've heard from [who are] from the union office are horrified," said Julee Sanderson, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers in Saskatoon.

"They don't want to be subjected to the public scrutiny by delivering a flyer that obviously is a political flyer made to shock people," she added. "A lot of them feel as though Canada Post should not be engaging in this type of delivery."

However, a Canada Post spokesman in Saskatoon said in a statement that it has no place in deciding what type of mail does or doesn't get delivered.

"We are responsible for the physical delivery of all mail in Canada," said Matt Ziebarth, delivery manager in Saskatoon. "We do not have the legal right to refuse delivery of a mail item because we or other people object to its content. Anyone who has concerns about the content should either contact the publisher or simply dispose of it."

Sanderson contacted the manager of delivery operations for Canada Post and expressed her concerns on behalf of her colleagues, who are responsible for putting the flyers in mailboxes.

"We have keys to enter buildings, to put mail into mailboxes, or community mailboxes that other organizations or flyer delivery companies don't have access to, and [receiving these kinds of flyers] is not a consumer's choice," said Sanderson.

Some letter carriers have already refused to deliver the flyers, CBC News has been told.

Sanderson said if the post office chooses to go after those employees, they could face anything from a three- to five-day suspension.

Refusal to deliver the flyers could be considered a major misconduct and result in a suspension without pay, Sanderson said.

On Wednesday, four employees from the west Canada Post depot in Saskatoon refused to distribute the anti-abortion and anti-Liberal party flyers from the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform's national office in Ottawa.

Their supervisor initially told them to go home, then changed his mind and said they could work Thursday, Sanderson said.

If they refuse to distribute the flyers on Friday, Canada Post has said it would take action, Sanderson said.

There are about 200 Canada Post mail carriers in Saskatoon. Only one depot with 30 employees has received the shipment of flyers, but it's expected more will come to the other depots in coming days, Sanderson said.