HAVE YOUR SAY
What’s ahead for 2014?
If 2013 was a who-smoked-what, who-spent-what, who knew-what roller-coaster, what will the coming year look like?
Tell us who, what or where will define the next 12 months and why you think so. We’ll publish a section of responses in the Focus section.
email@example.com or go here
What doesn’t deliver
Re Postal Cuts A Calculated Risk For Ottawa (Dec. 12): Through snow, sleet, wind and rain, the homeowner trudges to a community mailbox: Canada Post, an organization that doesn’t deliver.
If the brain trust at Canada Post thinks mail volume is declining now, cutting service and increasing prices will ensure a greater and more rapid decline.
Canada Post may be a Crown corporation, but such a major overhaul of an essential service should be part of public policy debate in Parliament – but we don’t do that anymore either.
This is not just about residential mail, it’s also about all the small businesses that depend on reasonably priced, daily mail service. Is this another plank in the government’s economic action plan?
Perhaps all those dogs nipping at postal carriers’ heels can be trained to simply go for postal executives. Welcome to Canada, the country that doesn’t deliver.
Peter Belliveau, Moncton
Only one-third of Canadians have home delivery now. Cutting it out is like putting a Band-Aid on the Hoover Dam. The question really isn’t: How do we make the post office more efficient? It’s: Do we actually need such an elephant in this day and age?
Douglas Cornish, Ottawa
If there’s no delivery, I’m removing my mailbox. That means candidates will have no place to leave their flyers full of promises about what they’ll deliver when elected.
How will I find out how these guys will improve things if I can’t read their flyers? Politicians need to think this through a little more before taking away my optimism.
Joan Turnbull, Toronto
Pension blame game
Re Pension Costs Force End To Home Delivery (Dec. 12): This presents an interesting twist in blaming pension costs. Here’s another view on that narrative.
Governments became enamoured with applying a “business” model over the past few decades. Comprehensive services (those that support all citizens) like mail delivery were subject to the same “pay for yourself or get out” management style. To offload responsibility from government, they became subject to the corporate profit imperative, rather than the service imperative.
At the same time, for-profit corporations began eroding pension plans, and the financial industry told everyone it was better to invest in the markets. That same industry then collapsed the global economy in 2008. Middle-class retirement funding evaporated. The absurd result was to be mad at everyone who still had a pension. At the same time, we steadily eroded the tax base, reducing revenues while pretending we were not racking up huge liabilities in infrastructure, pensions, EI exposure etc.
The response was to get the financial industry (yes, them again) to analyze our governments and propose solutions based on a “business” model.
The problem is the pensions!
I don’t have a pension, but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand their fundamental place in a stable economy.
Guy Greenaway, Calgary
Where is the money going to come from to buy and install the community mailboxes for five million people? And what about all the laid-off postal workers? They will be thrown on the already huge heap of unemployed and left to fend as best they can.
Someone somewhere needs to give their head a shake.
Nigel Bennett, Stratford, Ont.
Who will oversee the placement of the new urban super-boxes?
Having experienced them in rural areas, I don’t look forward to this litter-collecting eyesore in my dense inner-city neighbourhood.
At a minimum, Canada Post should be calling for urban art/design proposals and residents’ input on what these will look like and where they will go.
Martha Jackman, Ottawa
Have you noticed how people collect mail at neighbourhood boxes? They drive up, leave the motor running, get the mail and drive off. What is the effect on the environment of millions of cars leaving their engines running daily, even if only for a short time?
Jim Burke, Woodstock, Ont.
Rationalizing mail delivery is one thing. But what about the disabled? Will they just be ignored?
Cyril Belshaw, Vancouver
First Nations control
Re A Chance To Fix The Broken System (editorial, Dec. 11): First Nations are not simply saying “no” to the proposed federal bill on education. We are advancing clear plans for progress.
Our long-standing position is First Nations control of First Nations education. Education is a right. It must be supported by stable, sustainable, fair funding.
A statutory funding guarantee is actually one area where legislation could be useful but is glaringly absent in the federal proposal. Equally important, any approach must support our languages and cultures. The position to engage on this basis was reaffirmed this week by Chiefs in Assembly.
We are the youngest and fastest-growing population and we are critical to Canada’s ongoing productivity. We need immediate action, but we must get it right.
A new approach must embrace innovation and reflect the diversity of First Nations, their needs and priorities. The current federal approach is resulting in high-school graduation rates of 30 per cent. In contrast, where there is First Nations control we see success. Let’s act on this reality.
Morley Googoo, AFN Nova Scotia-Newfoundland regional chief, AFN education portfolio
Muzzled off the Hill
Re MPs’ Staff Must Sign Confidentiality Deals (Dec. 12): Members of Parliament who are acting in an ethical fashion and in the best interest of their constituents have nothing to fear from their staff.
If such is not the case, that MP deserves every bit of publicity that can be splashed across the front page. The very thought of a lifelong, penalty-riddled confidentiality agreement is a violation of democratic principle.
I object in the strongest of terms. Sad, sad, sad.
N.C. Greenway, Ottawa
Mom’s two-TV logic
Re Do I Really Need To Buy This? (Facts & Arguments, Dec. 12): Fiorenza Gleasure’s essay about her thrifty mother-in-law reminds me of my mom, who grew up in the same generation. As a child, I wore many serviceable but un-stylish hand-me-downs and itchy socks that had been darned and redarned because they were still in good shape. Mom would even save on bedding by cleverly cutting old sheets in half and sewing together the outside edges, where they were less worn.
Despite my embarrassment, I could always rely on impressing my little friends with the fact my family had two TVs. When they would visit, they would indeed find two TVs – but one stacked on top of the other. The old one on top only got the picture. And the bottom only had working sound.
My mom would say, “Why waste money on a new one when two work together just fine?”
Claire Ihasz, Toronto