Canada Post sticks it to rural seniors

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by admin on September 16, 2009

By John Cameron

An open letter to MP Lawrence Cannon

I am writing to express my concerns regarding rural mail delivery in our riding and across Canada.

Recently Canada Post sent two contractors throughout our municipality to conduct a rural mailbox safety review. Despite not being Canada Post (CPC) employees and not being knowledgeable about mail delivery, and not being capable of explaining how Canada Post’s new alleged national safety standards were developed or what in fact they were, these two very young individuals have the power to determine whether I and my fellow neighbours will continue to receive rural mailbox delivery or not.

This scenario is now being played out in all parts of rural Canada. The alternative to rural mailbox delivery is community mailbox (CMB) delivery whereby CPC customers will have to travel many kilometres in all kinds of weather to obtain their mail from a centralized location. In our situation the centralized location is the village of Low, Quebec where a long string of these unsightly boxes currently exist to service the villagers who eventually lost their lock box service when CPC closed our post office just prior to the moratorium against closing rural post offices and cutting rural jobs was imposed on CPC several years ago. In my situation this means a 10 km drive to and from the village, which involves going down and back up a long, steep and winding hill that is extremely treacherous during the winter season. As my mailbox was deemed “unsafe”, this is the new reality I am now faced with.

I moved here and built my home in 1982. For the past 27 years my mailbox has been located at the end of my laneway on a long straight stretch of back country road where traffic is virtually non-existent. My mailbox has always passed with flying colours all safety and delivery standards when reviewed by CPC personnel in the past. In all those years there has never been an unsafe incident involving my mailbox. As a matter of fact, when I investigated this matter with my fellow neighbours, no one can remember an accident involving the delivery of our mail in our municipality in 60 years.

I also discovered that there are senior citizens who have had their mailboxes deemed “unsafe”. An 85-year-old gentleman told me that his mailbox was deemed unsafe and now he will have to travel four kilometres to and from the village CMBs. He simply stated he doesn’t know how he’s going to get his mail because it was hard enough on him now just to go to the end of his laneway where his mailbox is now located. Is this fair to the senior citizens, not only in my riding, but in all of rural Canada?

Rural senior citizens live at home until their last days instead of moving into rural senior housing simply because rural senior housing is practically non existent. They need their rural mailboxes. Is it fair that one corporation whose sole interest is to eliminate jobs in the rural delivery sector can impose such severe and unjustified hardships on Canadian senior citizens, in particular, and all rural citizens in general. After all, lest we forget – these are the very people who helped build and defend this great nation that we all enjoy today!

Canada Post does not care about the impact this review will have on the population of rural Canada.

John Cameron lives in Low, Quebec.