Dispute may cripple HST vote

What began as a rotating nation-wide postal strike – now turned lockout in urban centres – may not be inconveniencing too many people, because most don’t rely on the mail the way they once did.

However, it may prove to be a big factor in the provincial referendum on the HST.

The last package is supposed to be delivered by Friday, but that seems to be a hopelessly optimistic timetable at  present, given that no one knows what will happen next in the escalating conflict between Canada Post and Canadian Union of Postal Workers (even with the government meddling).

Meanwhile, it appears that thousands of HST ballots are currently sitting in limbo somewhere in post offices and distribution centres – maybe not even in B.C.

Much of the country’s mail goes through Toronto, including mail that originates in B.C. It isn’t clear whether the HST referendum packages have gone there or not, but the modern mail delivery system is built on routing large volumes of mail through specific sorting plants. It is entirely possible that all or most of the voting packages go through Toronto before being delivered to B.C. addresses.

While Craig James, B.C. acting chief electoral officer, said there were no plans to change the referendum timetable, Elections B.C. has the option to push back the deadline for returning ballots if the shutdown continues.

At present, all completed voting packages are to be in Elections BC hands by July 22.

Unless the deadline is extended, and even then, voter participation isn’t likely to be very high.

It would be most unfortunate if this important vote were to be crippled by a postal dispute.

- Langley Times


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