The news that Canada Post is halting installation of community mailboxes across the country will surely be greeted as good news by many.
Opposed by both the union representing postal workers and residents who prize door-to-door delivery, the Crown corporation’s efforts to move towards community boxes was always going to be a tough sell.
The conversion program was made more difficult by Canada Post themselves, who, in the face of evidence of widespread theft from the boxes, clamped down on information and went into a shell.
While mail delivery is hardly the most important service provided by the federal government and the agencies and corporations under its control, the fact that both the Liberals and the NDP thought it politically advantageous to halt the installation of community mailboxes speaks to the failure of Canada Post to sell its initiative to the public it serves.
Which is not to say that initiative is without merit.
Indeed, it’s hard to argue that mail delivery has not decreased in importance since the rise of the Internet. The amount of mail has been shrinking for years and will only drop more in years to come. Furthermore, many people already receive mail in community boxes.
It’s hardly ridiculous for Canada Post, and the government that owns it, to consider ways to reduce costs – even if it means service will not be the same as 50 years ago, when postal delivery played a much larger role in Canadians’ lives.
The incoming Liberal government will be expected to keep its promise to protect home delivery. But that shouldn’t entail a blank cheque for a service in need of modernization.