CORNWALL – Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry Liberal candidate Bernadette Clement used a postal protest Wednesday to springboard her federal election campaign.
Clement joined members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 522 in Cornwall, Ont. under a large billboard on Ninth Street, which slams Conservative MP Guy Lauzon over impending cuts to door-to-door mail service.
CUPW Local 522 represents about 90 letter carriers in Cornwall and the surrounding area.
“When we saw CUPW put this (the billboard) up and start taking a Winnebago across the country, it was a good idea to say the Liberal party has made a commitment to save home delivery. It was an opportunity for me to highlight the fact that the Liberal party has all of this policy… that the team is going to be talking about all summer, about Real Change,” Clement told Cornwall Newswatch.
“The election will be won and lost on policy and on showing that the Liberal party is a real good alternative to what’s going on in Ottawa,” Clement said when asked if mail delivery will win or lose the federal seat in SDSG.
The Cornwall lawyer and city councillor hopes this issue is a springboard to talking about more policy issues ahead of voting day, Oct. 19.
“It’s a service that’s important to all Canadians. It’s a service that all Canadians count on, especially the elderly and disabled,” President CUPW Local 522 Barbara Riviere told Cornwall Newswatch.
“I couldn’t image my grandmother walking two blocks in an ice storm or a blind person trying to get to their CMB (community mailbox) site on ice. It’s a service we all depend on every day,” Riviere said.
She said people she has spoken with said they would miss the interaction with postal workers.
Riviere said it will “impact…the economy” with 5,000 to 8,000 job cuts. Canada Post has said it would reduce the workforce largely through attrition.
“It’s all about the numbers, that what we say,” the union president stated. “We’re not a hurting company whatsoever so why are we cutting jobs and making people rely on the system?”
Canada Post reported a profit of $24 million in the first quarter of 2015. It was largely due to growth in the parcels business and the higher cost for sending lettermail, even though volumes were down eight per cent from the same time in 2014, according to the agency’s financial results.
The Cornwall rally is part of a Canada-wide “Stop the Cuts – Save Canada Post” roadshow which has a giant white RV crisscrossing the country.
In March, Canada Post announced a five point action plan, which included the introduction of more community mailboxes.
In its 20-page plan, the agency said only 32 per cent of Canadians get their mail on their doorstep and it needed to streamline the system as Canadians send less mail every year.
The union disputes that fact, suggesting mail volumes are higher – largely due to junk mail.