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Postal Union Works to Hold Liberals to Door-to-Door Delivery Promise

Union ‘hopeful’ that feds won’t break campaign pledge.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall 9 Feb 2017 | TheTyee.ca

Jeremy J. Nuttall is The Tyee’s reader-funded Parliament Hill reporter in Ottawa. Find his previous stories here.

The national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says the Liberal government’s record of broken promises has him concerned about the government’s campaign pledge to restore door-to-door delivery.

Mike Palecek met with Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote — who is responsible for Canada Post — Thursday morning on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to discuss door-to-door restoration and other issues.

Palecek described the short meeting as “productive.”

But he said there is concern about the Liberal government’s record of breaking election promises and what that could mean for the pledge to restore door-to-door delivery made during the 2015 election campaign.

“I think we’re concerned, we want to make sure the commitments that were made are lived up to,” Palecek told The Tyee outside Parliament.

Justin Trudeau pledged to restore door-to-door delivery, which was being phased out across the country in exchange for community mailboxes.

People had complained community mailboxes were sometimes in dangerous locations, such as on the side of dark roads, or made it difficult for the elderly to collect their mail, among other issues.

Once Trudeau took office, his government halted the conversion to community boxes and established a task force to look into Canada Post issues, including door-to-door delivery.

The task force wrote a paper for the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, which released a report complete with recommendations for Canada Post in December. The report recommended restoring door-to-door service to its previous level.

But the same government has been under fire for breaking a number of promises, most recently to bring in electoral reform and, before that, to conduct a new review of the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia. The project was approved in November, but without conducting a completely new review.

Despite the Liberals’ history, Palecek said his union is hoping the Liberals fulfill their commitment on door-to-door delivery and said many members of the public also want them to follow through.

“It’s about the commitments that were made along the election campaign. The Prime Minister committed to restoring door-to-door delivery,” he said. “I think people expected to see that when this government was elected.”

Palecek said at Thursday’s meeting Foote provided timelines to the union detailing when some of the issues that arose in the December report will be addressed. Palecek is expecting decisions to start being made in the spring.

Also on the agenda was postal banking, a system of using post offices to offer banking services, which Canada had until the late 1960s.

Many say bringing back the practice could help northern communities in particular, where residents sometimes drive hours to access a bank and don’t have Internet access.

Brenda McAuley, national president Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, said her union represents many postmasters in smaller communities and having postal banking instituted would be a help to them.

McAuley said she met with Foote earlier this week and is scheduling another meeting to discuss the closure of rural post offices.

She said she remains “hopeful” about the discussions.  [Tyee]

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