Canada Post’s Propaganda Offensive For Wrecking
-An article by Louis Lang-
The announcement of Canada Post’s “Five-point Action Plan” has been accompanied by the release of an avalanche of statistics to convince people that Canada Post is failing and that a public postal service is outdated. The monopoly media have taken the opportunity to present exaggerated reports calling for the elimination of universal postal service and full deregulation of postal services.
Deliberately exaggerated claims are being made to convince people that the sky is falling on Canada Post and the corporation has no choice but to cut postal services, raise postage prices and attack the wages and benefits of postal workers. The media report doom and gloom over a drop in first class mail volumes. The Conference Board of Canada projects that by 2020 the corporation will be facing an operating loss of $1 billion per year. The pension plan is said to be facing a $5.9 billion solvency deficiency and because of this must be “restructured.” All of this desperate talk is to paralyse people’s thinking as to a pro-social new direction for the public post office to serve the people and nation-building.
A review of the corporation’s financial reports of the last several years shows that these statistics and projections are not just exaggerations but in many cases outright lies.
But putting the statistics aside, neither the corporation nor the Harper government has been able to explain why more than $2-billion have been invested in the past few years to modernize mail processing and delivery if the post office is failing. Do they think that Canadians are so gullible that they will believe that billions of dollars would be invested in a sector of the economy that is supposed to be “dying” and “a thing of the past”?
The facts show the opposite is the case. The profits of UPS, FedEx, Pitney Bowes and other monopoly corporations in the communications sector have been steadily rising. The demand for the privatization and deregulation of Canada Post is not because it is failing but on the contrary, the elimination of the public post office is the potential source of super profits for these monopolies.
It is more than dishonest for the corporation to claim that the “Action Plan” and the drastic cuts are due to loss of mail volumes and the financial crisis facing Canada Post. This is the continuation of “Postal Transformation,” which was put in place by Moya Greene who was appointed President and CEO of Canada Post in 2005. Before any noise began about lower mail volumes and during a period the corporation was making hundreds of millions of dollars of profit every year, Moya Greene explained her plan to modernize the Post Office. She pointed out that the goal of the corporation was to “modernize and revitalize Canada Post” to reorient it to serve big business. She stressed that the approximately $2-billion investment was being made to take advantage of the fact that one-third of the workforce would be retiring in the coming years. She said, “This is an opportunity to synchronize modernization plans with the pace of retirements.”
Since then we have seen the disastrous effects of new sortation machines and restructured letter carrier routes. Thousands of jobs have already been eliminated including practically all mail service courier positions (truck drivers) where “Postal Transformation” has been implemented. The ongoing pressure on workers has taken a heavy toll in injuries, and in the Montreal area alone, several suicides of letter carriers have been reported due to the unbearable working conditions.
Along with “Postal Transformation,” the corporation, hand-in-hand with the Harper government, has been implementing privatization and deregulation. Deepak Chopra, previously President of Pitney Bowes Canada and Latin America, was appointed by Stephen Harper to head Canada Post in 2011. Since that time, the destruction of the public post office has been accelerating. More than 60 major Retail Post Offices have been closed in large urban centres across the country and replaced by hundreds of postal franchises located in major drug store chains and convenience stores.
With Bill C-9, a federal budget bill in 2010, the Harper government succeeded in taking international letters out of the exclusive purview of Canada Post. With this bill, the government legalized the existing illegal operations of businesses known as “remailers” that were handling letters bound for international destinations. By sneaking deregulation into a budget bill to avoid debate, Harper enabled large private mailers to take millions of dollars of revenue from Canada Post each year.
Stephen Harper and Deepak Chopra are not modernizing the post office; they are dismantling it for the benefit of the monopoly corporations they represent. The investment of billions of dollars and the attacks on the wages, working conditions and benefits of postal workers are integral parts of the Harper government’s plans to sell off the public assets of the Post Office at a low price with minimum risk for the buyer. Canada Post’s “Five-point action Plan” is another step on the road towards the destruction of the public Post Office and Canada’s national economy.
The struggle of postal workers for sustainable working conditions and wages benefits commensurate with the work they perform is an important block to the wrecking plans of the Harper government. The more than 50,000 postal workers and over 20,000 retirees must unite with other workers across the country to demand the recognition of their rights and a Canadian standard of living that reflects the highly developed productive economy. Postal and other workers and their allies amongst a broad section of Canadians are determined not to allow private interests to appropriate the assets of the public post office that workers have built over many years through their hard work.
Harper must be stopped!
CUPW Condemns Lisa Raitt For Her Support Of Canada Post’s Decision To Affect Drastic Cuts To Postal Services.
The following is the integral letter sent on December 16, 2013 by CUPW National President Denis Lemelin to Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport responsible for Canada Post condemning her for her support of Canada Post “Five Point Action Plan”.
Dear Minister Raitt:
I am writing to condemn your support for Canada Post plans to privatize more post offices, hike postage rates to unaffordable levels for charities, small businesses and others, and make our country the first in the world to eliminate door-to-door delivery.
It is inconceivable to us that such major cuts to our public postal service are being pursued without proper public consultation. The public owns Canada Post. They have a right to input.
We know that Canada Post engaged in some consultations, but they were completely inadequate. The corporation held invite-only meetings in less than 50 communities and conducted a largely online public consultation on its future, focusing on cuts.
As you know, the government is set to review how it handles our public postal service with a review of the Canadian Postal Service Charter in 2014. We think the government should put a hold on Canada Post’s plans and use the Charter review to consult with the public and others about what kind of postal service they need.
We have been trying to get a meeting to discuss the Charter review with you and your predecessor since March. We would like to reiterate our request for a meeting to discuss the review as well as the government’s support for the decision to gut public postal service for millions of Canadians. It is a bad decision and will be resisted at every turn.
As part of its fight back campaign, the CUPW has also prepared a petition to be presented to the House of Commons resolving to put an end to Canada Post “Five Point Action Plan”. The text of the petition reads as follows:
Whereas Canada Post and the Conservatives are taking an axe to long-treasured postal services – killing good jobs, eliminating door-to-door delivery, closing post offices and drastically increasing postage rates;
Whereas 6,000 to 8,000 workers will lose their jobs and five million households will lose door-to-door delivery over the next five years;
Whereas these cuts will hurt seniors and disabled Canadians in particular;
Whereas Canada Post barely held any consultations, effectively eliminating any opportunity for input from the people who will be most affected; and
Whereas Canada Post offers a public service that needs to be protected.
Therefore we, the undersigned, call upon the Government of Canada to reverse the cuts to services announced by Canada Post, and to look instead for ways to innovate in areas such as postal banking.
The Sunday e-mail will be closely monitoring in the New Year all further developments affecting cuts to postal services including any attempts by Canada Post to “restructure” our pension plan. Postal workers must resolutely build the Workers’ Opposition and actively fight for a new direction for the economy which places public right at the forefront of all considerations.
NO TO MONOPOLY RIGHT!
YES TO PUBLIC RIGHT!
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