An Ottawa coalition that opposes Canada Post's decisiontore place door-to-door delivery with community mail boxes has officially launched in Glen Cairn.
The Coalition for an Accessible Public Postal Service, made up of about six organizations, including Solidarity Against Austerity, the Association of Community Groups for Reform Now (Acorn), the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada and the Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers Federation , held a town hall meeting at Don Cherry's Sports Grill in Glen Cairn on Sept. 24.
Coalition members said Canadians have a right to receive their mail in a timely fashion.
"This is for our children and our grandchildren," said Nadia Willard a member of Acorn. "To take (home delivery) away only allows the government to take more away."
More than 30 people attended the meeting, including Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson and Kanata South candidate David Abuwa.
Kevin Skerrett, one of the organizers with Solidarity Against Austerity, said the coalition is attempting to bring pressure to bear at the level of municipal government, but ultimately wants to place pressure at all government levels to have the decision to go to community mailboxes reversed.
"We are calling on the federal government to, essentially, reflect the views of Canadians, which is that we don't like this plan and we don't want to lose home delivery," he said. "I'm still convinced that this is overwhelmingly opposed by Canadians." Though decisions on the placement of community mailboxes in the first of 11 communities across Ottawa, including Kanata, has already passed and installation has begun, Skerrett said the fight is not over.
"This is, to my mind ... a very open question: what is going to happen with this particularly troubling proposal," he said.
The speakers at the town hall said the change to community mailboxes will physically harm some people, cause undue hardship and is perhaps a scheme to privatize Canada Post.
Speakers at the town hall meeting included Willard, Kanata resident Trevor Haché, and Geoff Bickerton, research director with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
Bickerton said Canada Post has lied about needing to cut costs to remain profitable.
Abuwa called community mailboxes a human rights issue, as much of the discussion centred on how the elderly and those with disabilities will get to their mail.
Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley had originally planned to go to the meeting, but said he later decided there was no point in attending, and that he had to deal with construction on Post Road.
He said Canada Post has committed to helping those with mobility problems get their mail, and that there is nothing more the municipality can do to influence Canada Post.
"The deal-breaker for me was that (Canada Post) had to have some sort of a plan to take care of people that could not get to their mailbox legitimately, and they've assured us that they have."
The majority of Kanata South residents are already on a community mailbox system, and it would be difficult to justify keeping door-to-door delivery for the minority, said Hubley.
"That's the challenge in this whole discussion," he said.
Wilkinson said she also does not support the coalition's objective, though Skerrett said the councillor had spoken in favour of the group during the meeting.
"If they can get the rest of the country to keep on having mail delivery in the central city areas where it's really hard to put in these boxes, more power to them, but right now, we've got them here now. I have other things I have to spend my time on," she said.
The coalition's immediate goal is to have city council pass a motion stating the city's opposition to Canada Post's decision, as other Canadian communities have.
Both Wilkinson and Hubley said the motion would have no impact, and that they would not support one.
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