Feds urged to protect rural post offices

In a report made public this spring, an arms-length advisory panel recommended that “Canada Post be permitted to use privately owned dealer outlets as a service delivery option in rural Canada.” Worried, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers started a letter-writing campaign this summer urging municipalities to speak out.

http://cnews.canoe.ca
August 17, 2009

Feds urged to protect rural post offices
Althia Raj, National Bureau, Sun Media

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OTTAWA — Canada’s smaller municipalities are again urging the federal government to protect rural post offices against closure or privatization.

Hundreds of town councils are sending petitions to Ottawa asking the junior minister in charge of Canada Post, Rob Merrifield, to protect a decade-long moratorium on post office closures.

“I realize that one of these days rural delivery is going to disappear,” said Holden, Alta., Mayor Ivan Hrabec. “But if you take the rural post office away, it takes away the reason people have to come to town.”

Hrabec credits the post office with helping keep local businesses open in his village of 400 people.

“You come to town, get the mail, have a coffee, maybe buy something at the grocery store, it just keeps the community a little more alive,” he said.

In a report made public this spring, an arms-length advisory panel recommended that “Canada Post be permitted to use privately owned dealer outlets as a service delivery option in rural Canada.”

Worried, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers started a letter-writing campaign this summer urging municipalities to speak out.

Mayor Ken McRae of Port Alberni, B.C., said his city supported the petition because it keeps good-paying union jobs in town.

“You never know what is going to happen (to the jobs) when they go to private enterprise,” he said.

The Conservative government, however, said it has no plans to close or privatize rural post offices.

“The government is committed to maintaining the rural moratorium … and excellent rural mail service,” Merrifield’s spokesman Chris Hilton said.

The government has not officially responded to the advisory panel’s recommendations, but is expected to react in the coming weeks.

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http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2009/08/17/10491366-sun.html


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