Thursday April 24, 2014

Subsidies not the way to go

With Canada Post service in Kamloops reduced to a single counter, we can’t help but ask: Why bother?

It almost seems as if the Crown corporation has given up even trying. The minimal service is a sop at best, designed to get the public used to diminished expectations and the ultimate removal of all counter service.

Even private outlets seem luxurious by comparison. Counters devoted to postal service in Sahali Centre or London Drugs, for example, used to be the type of place you would go if you couldn’t get to the real post office. Now it’s the post office that’s the poor cousin.

If things are that bad  — if revenues are really that dismal — why not just pull the plug and call it a day?

The answer likely has something to do with the protest letters sent by Kamloops council and petitions signed by hundreds of people. For many residents, this a public institution and there is a feeling of being cheated when it is scaled back to irrelevance.

But we’d better get used to it because one-counter service is just the beginning. Soon there will be fewer deliveries and post offices (other than private outlets) will become a thing of the past.

Canada Post has no intention of asking for government subsidies, and the federal government is highly unlikely to offer them.

So the only way to continue is with cutbacks.

In a Globe and Mail article, Robert Campbell, president of Mount Allison University in
Sackville, N.B., and chairman of a 2008 federal advisory committee on the crown corporation, maintained that the two are working hand in hand on reducing service levels.

“The government and Canada Post each need some help in getting to a point where Canadians would accept something that 10 or 15 years ago would have been beyond the realm of imagination.”

Supporting his point, just think back 15 years ago to the large post office we used to have in downtown Kamloops — housed in a building owned by the federal government.

In these circumstances, it may be naive to send letters or petitions to MP Cathy McLeod in the hope that she or the federal government will reverse this trend, especially with Canada Post declaring it is in danger of running out of money by next summer.

The federal government might have to weather some pushback over cuts to postal service. But the alternative, putting tax money into subsidies, would have it facing a full-scale revolt.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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