Musings —12.21.2013 09:59 PM—
If governments gradually defeat themselves, then the imbecilic boss of Canada Post dramatically accelerated that process this week.
Didn’t catch what Canada Post “CEO” Deepak Chopra told a Parliamentary committee? Rest assured: you’re going to be hearing about it a lot, between now and the next federal election. If Chopra isn’t repudiated by the Prime Minister sometime soon – or if he isn’t quickly forced into an ignominious departure – the words he uttered before an emergency session of the House of Commons transport committee will live forever in the Pantheon of Political Perfidy.
Here’s what Chopra said, when asked about his idiotic plan to eliminate urban home delivery, and thereby force Canadian seniors to slog through snowbanks and foul weather to some distant “community mail box” to get their mail:
“Seniors are telling me, ‘I want to be healthy. I want to be active in my life. They want to be living fuller lives.”
Get that? Seniors are saying to him that they need more exercise, says this Conservative Party appointee. Confined to a wheelchair? Got a bad hip or knee? Too bad! Chopra and his boss, Stephen Harper, apparently think all you Canadian seniors out there are lazy and slothful, and – without consultation, without warning – they want to eliminate the mail delivery you’ve had your entire life, so you can get some fresh air! The long march awaits!
In salary, Chopra got half a million bucks last year, he got nearly $200,000 as a bonus, and he’s got 22 vice-presidents. He also got headlines that aren’t helpful to his political bosses, to say the least: “Canada Post CEO defends delivery cuts, says seniors will get more exercise.” (Globe and Mail) “Canada Post’s Deepak Chopra Says Seniors Want Exercise From Picking Up Mail.” (Huffington Post) “Canada Post boss to seniors: The walk to your community mail box will be good for your health.” (National Post)
Who’s doing media relations for this guy? The Khmer Rouge? Comical Ali?
Can’t you just picture Chopra in a bank lineup somewhere, readying the deposit of his big, fat bonus from Canada Post – which, by the by, lost $134 million in the first three quarters of 2013 – and a couple of seniors push their walkers up to him? “Hey, Deepak,” say they. “Can you please cut our home mail delivery? We’d like some fresh air.”
Can’t picture that? Me neither. That’s why I phoned and emailed the media relations folks at Canada Post in Ottawa to ask how Chopra was able to testify, with a straight face, that “seniors are telling me” they want exercise and no home delivery. A poll? A focus group? Some online consultation? “I strongly suspect Mr. Chopra’s statement was made without any consultation whatsoever,” I told the Canada Post flaks. “And that is what I intend to write unless provided with clear evidence to the contrary.”
By deadline, no such evidence had been provided. Funny, that.
Personally, I don’t think there is one senior in Canada – not one – who has told Canada Post’s CEO they wanted to lose home mail delivery because they wanted “to be active.” I think Deepak Chopra told a bald-faced whopper to Members of Parliament, in fact. (But if he ever offers up some evidence, we will of course dutifully pass it along.)
In the meantime, however, this clown has created a gargantuan political mess for the Conservative government, one that is bigger than Rob and Doug Ford. Given that Canadian seniors have been the voting demographic that has been most consistently loyal to the Harper Conservatives, we can only assume that (a) Stephen Harper wishes to return to relative security of lobbying for right-wing interests at the National Citizen’s Coalition, or (b) the Cons have gotten bored with this governing stuff, and they want to give Justin Trudeau a chance.
Either way, there is really only one way to describe what has happened to the Harper Conservatives latest move:
They’ve gone postal.