– Mayor Nolan Crouse
Why the big stink about community mailboxes? New subdivisions have not had door to door delivery for at least 20 years now and residents seem to have adapted quite well to the fact. Small towns and villages have never had the luxury of postal delivery at their doorsteps and have been quite content to go to their respective mailboxes in the local post office regardless of their age or physical capacity to walk or drive to the post office. In fact the local postal facility, whether it is a physical building or the mailbox on the street is often a convenient means of meeting your neighbours and enjoying a short social outing. Perhaps postal outlets could even be associated with a coffee shop or local bakery where neighbours could gather on a regular occasion?
The problem however is larger than just community mailboxes. Mail service in general has become less important these days with email and the many forms of social media. The use of postal services worldwide has been in steady decline since the adoption of the fax machine some 50 or so years ago. Fax now however is virtually obsolete as there are more efficient and less expensive forms of electronic communication. If fax is obsolete, so is a government mail service.
Why in Canada, with our system of postal codes being one of the most innovative and effective systems in the world, does it take so long to get delivery within our own country? I recall in 1977 being able to send a package by regular mail from Edmonton to Halifax and having it arrive there in two days whereas now it takes up to 10 days to get a simple letter delivered from St. Albert to Blairmore, a distance of 500 km. It is only due to the inefficiency and unreliability of Canada Post that courier service has become the norm where guaranteed next day delivery is required.
The time has come to shut down Canada Post entirely and let the private sector develop alternate systems for delivering regular mail. Between courier service and electronic communication we are at the stage where we could survive quite well without the added cost to the taxpayer and the constant unreliability due to labour disputes. Instead of reintroducing door-to-door delivery, It is now time for the federal government to quit pandering to the postal unions and get completely out of postal service.
Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.