Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Raitt Defends Canada Post Move to Phase out Urban Mail Delivery; Others Cry Foul

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Raitt Defends Canada Post Move to Phase out Urban Mail Delivery; Others Cry Foul

Article excerpt

Ottawa reacts to stunning Canada Post news

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OTTAWA - The demise of door-to-door mail delivery in Canada's urban centres loomed large over a dormant Parliament Hill on Wednesday as critics denounced the timing of a bombshell decision that Conservatives defended as a necessary evil.

Day 1 of the House of Commons holiday break was only hours old when Canada Post abruptly announced it planned to phase out door-to-door urban delivery, slash jobs and dramatically increase the price of stamps.

As many as 8,000 jobs are on the line due to the cuts, which are expected to impact a third of all Canadian households. Rural residences will be spared.

"There are really serious concerns being raised about this and yet we have the government announcing it after the House is adjourned, and that tells you everything you want to know about how they think Canadians are going to react," said NDP MP Peter Julian.

"It's profoundly disrespectful to Canadians and disrespectful to Parliament .... They're trying to shuffle this off and I think Canadians will be profoundly appalled about the cuts in services and cuts in jobs across the country."

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was equally disdainful.

"The timing is a demonstration of a tremendous level of cynicism by this government," Trudeau said.

"This is a government trying to minimize what they know is bad news as they announce that Stephen Harper is offering less postal services for more money from consumers in the coming years."

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said her government supports Canada Post's decision, noting it has had a mandate to operate on a self-sustaining basis since 1981. The Crown corporation says its five-point cost-cutting plan is aimed at returning the company to financial stability by 2019.

Canadians are sending fewer letters and parcels than ever, leaving Canada Post with no choice but to enact some tough financial measures in an effort to combat a steep decline in revenues, Raitt said.

A typical Canadian household buys only one to two dozen stamps a year, and mail volumes have continued to plummet, having fallen nearly 25 per cent per household since 2008, she added. …

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