Canada Post: A real uncreative mess

Julian Wolfe
December 16th, 2013

Canada Post’s decision to end home delivery to the Conservative Government’s applaud actively shows how the service is a real uncreative mess – effectively ending its last opportunity to revive itself.

Canada Post has been bogged down and run by entitlement – with a union to actively defend and encourage it. The Canada Post strike two years ago in the peak of the recession asking for higher salaries amid a scarcity of stable jobs signaled the beginning of the end, demonstrating the destructive nature of entitlement.

Couple the optics of unreasonably greedy children being spoon fed with an unimaginative government with no business sense and you get a service in deficit and chaos, one that makes the unprecedented move of destroying home-delivery service and making a stamp cost $1. Last Canadians checked, Canada Post was a crown corporation and we are all stakeholders. Given this unprecedented move, Canada becomes the first country to join the third world to embrace the idea of crippled communications and delivery. If the Americans could barely survive a financial crisis they created and still have home delivery, what’s Canada’s excuse? Funny enough, Harper still likes to parade at the “fact” that Canada has the best growth record of the G7…

There are several solutions that could have been employed that would still get Canadians a vital service. Funny enough, when the postal workers decided to demand more the government’s reason for putting them back to work was the detrimental impact the economy would bare from such a disruption in service. Today, the same people aren’t lobbying against a disruption in service, they are employing a permanent disruption and if they acknowledged an adverse economic impact two years ago, what makes today any different?

However, rather than putting the postal workers’ union in their place and clawing back on benefits and giving the 8,000 effected employees the choice of a pay cut – among upper management of course, the government has let the service’s sense of entitlement destroy an institution that easily could be competitive today.

The Americans know what they’re doing. Online retailers like Amazon are flourishing in today’s economic climate and they’re job is to sell and deliver. More and more Canadians, meanwhile, are joining the American chorus and joining the Amazon bandwagon as shopping online is cheaper and much more convenient. While letters may be the thing of the past, parcels aren’t. A creative Canada Post would have restructured on the Amazon model, and aimed to turn a profit, rather than dismantling the last useful task it had. However, Canadians need not worry, eventually Amazon will deliver the remaining bills that are sent by mail and aren’t online. Eventually, Canada Post will be gone completely and Canadians can rightfully demand their money back – especially since Amazon won’t be subsidized.

So now, Canadians will be subjected to the idea of community mailboxes, a task that will be daunting in the winter. However, just imagine the littering that will take place and the idea of vandalism. We don’t live in a utopia, utopias don’t exist. There is no doubt these community mailboxes will soon be smashed and bashed as thieves and gangs prey on the future of mail – one that is becoming more of a parcel driven entity, rather than white or brown envelopes. One mustn’t look further than their downtown to realize the new community mailboxes will serve a new lobbying point for the homeless, the preachers and those who want to cause problems. One mustn’t look further than the next -40 degree day where a 10 minute walk down the street to meet an empty mailbox or a hydro bill feels like a painful eternity. At least mailmen were better for the environment, kept danger away and on cold days, they’d have their mail trucks. No one is paying me to get my mail down the street, instead I’ll be expected to pay more to mail things, like those pesky tax returns – a reminder of how little the government deserves and how wasteful they actually are.

Canada Post is in a deficit because it has failed to modernize to meet today’s demands. It is a reflection of the inward thinking of the governing Conservatives who have become everything they claimed they wouldn’t be. Corrupt, scandal-plagued and entitled, don’t need to look any further than today’s Conservative Party. The Harper government has no vision, only rhetoric and loose accounting. A government with a vision and good business sense would understand that Canada Post is vital for the Canadian economy and can be the engine Amazon is in the United States. But when the Conservatives dragged the postal workers back to work two years ago on the basis of the necessity of movement in the Canadian economy, they failed to listen to the businesses that are upset today that they too will lose their mail service.

One day, Canada Post will be irrelevant, not because letters and bills will no longer exist, but because its management failed to capitalize on out of the box models and the trends that are starting to take shape today. And while letters may be becoming a thing of the past, there will still be about 9 billion in circulation this year, just rather than reaching your doorstep, they will reach a community mailbox. The trend of letter-based mail is obviously downward, but look at the actual trend: In 2008, there were 11.8 billion, in 2009 there were 10.8 billion, in 2010 there were 10.6 billion, in 2011 there were 10.1 billion and in 2012, 9.8 billion. Note that the downward trend is fairly slow. As a result, the crown corporation faced a $104 million deficit in the second quarter and predicts a $1 billion deficit by 2020. This is the time to be turning in a surplus by studying everything that Canada Post hasn’t been doing. However, given Canada Post is run by management and a union that acts solely on entitlement, one shouldn’t expect Canada Post to move forward because entitlement creates a real uncreative mess.

Are you satisfied with Canada Post’s decision to end door-to-door mail delivery?

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