Friday, December 13, 2013

Canada to curtail urban postal delivery, leaving rural services (apparently) in tact

Ian Austen reported on Wednesday for the NYT:  
Though Canada would become the first Group of 7 country to end all residential mail delivery in cities and older suburbs, Canada Post shares many problems with postal services in the United States and elsewhere, including rapidly declining mail volumes and high wage and pension costs. Along with the service cuts, the government-owned service said it would eliminate 8,000 jobs, mostly through attrition.
What is interesting from a ruralist perspective is what Canada plans to do about its postal service budgetary crisis:  curtail metropolitan delivery, NOT close rural post offices.  The latter, of course, is what the U.S. has periodically proposed in recent years. Read more herehere, here, and here, for example.  What's odd about this news report--especially in light of the relatively recent controversy over rural post office closures in the United States--is that Austen's report never mentions the rural at all.  The implication, I guess, is that rural service will not be affected.  Or maybe it is just so unimportant as not to be worthy of mention. Hmmm.

Rather Austen quotes Professor Dwayne Winseck, who teaches communications at Carleton University in Ottawa, for a more general proposition--that the decision to end postal delivery is a "pivotal moment" in Canadian history:  
The whole notion of a universal correspondence service is a pretty important one. It’s quite a comedown for a national postal system.

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