10.26.2015 05:07 PM

Did Trudeau’s Canada Post promise help him win the election?

As of today, the community mailbox insanity is on hold, thanks to Trudeau’s election victory. 

And, two years ago, I thought it would sink the Harper Conservatives. Here’s what I wrote back then.  Was I right?

The minister responsible issued a terse statement, but gave no interviews. Ditto the prime minister. Some hardy Conservatives, however, offered up a few talking points in support of their ritual mass political suicide. These are listed below. 

One, two-thirds of Canadians don’t get home delivery anymore. Why should that last one-third? We think everyone deserves to pay more and get less! 

 Two, the postal service can’t afford to provide postal services anymore. And those many years where we were reporting that we were doing well? Er, never mind. Now we’re doing poorly. 

 Three, no one will care, no one will notice. And your disabled, 90-year-old grandma, who can barely get to the front door, let alone a “community mailbox” several blocks away? Well, she needs the exercise. 

 If the Harper folks had sent me a letter, I would have sent one back. This is what I would’ve said: “Don’t trust the Evil Empire.” And, P.S. 

“You’ve just lost the next election.”


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    Kevin says:

    Either everyone gets home delivery or everyone gets community boxes. We all pay the same for a stamp. Fair is fair.

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      Bonnie says:

      Unrealistic Kevin. I live on a farm – – they are not going to start delivering my mail to my door – – would love it if they did, but ain’t going to happen – -and I pay the same for a stamp as everyone else.

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    Liam Young says:

    Yes, you were right!
    I think the Canada Post thing was a whole ‘if it ain’t broke (and it wasn’t – it was making a tidy profit, thank you), don’t fix it’ kind of issue the exposed the Harper machine and its pettiness.
    It also sent a very clear and distinct message to urban voters: this is the tip of the iceberg and we will make your life worse and more miserable while we cater to every whim of our ‘base’.
    The result? A very clear urban/rural split with votes and seats, with people in cities taking back federal government from people who live in the past. Yes, I said that.

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      Greyapple says:

      Ah yes, the rural rubes are stuck in the past. I would suggest you actually visit rural areas, I assure you, they’re not like “Deliverance.” You find the bumpkins are just as connected to wide world of information as “city folk” and just varied in their opinions too. Believe it or not, they and also have all the modern technology and conveniences you enjoy. In fact if you want to make a living as farmer you’ll need a few years scientific training at an agricultural college and know how to navigate the modern market. Sorry pal, you urban chauvinism is what’s rooted in the past.

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      Bonnie says:

      I don’t think “living in the past” is exactly the issue, and giving a negative connotation to rural dwellers is certainly narrow-visioned. There are obviously different conditions that exist in each setting, that would contribute to a difference in how a person might choose to vote. Best not to sit behind an imaginary wall around your urban area and claim to understand the people who live outside of it before actually understanding situations. Rural Manitobans have a term called “perimeter vision” for Winnipeg dwellers who make broad sweeping comments about rural Manitoba that obviously have no basis in fact, and reflect a lack of knowledge about what they are talking about.

      Is Trudeau the best thing for the future of this country? Time will tell. He is certainly bright and charismatic. Will his upbringing have “spoiled” him enough that he has no understanding of what the average person’s life is and how they can be affected by his policies? Time will tell. I have great admiration for the things his father accomplished and I hope we will look back at his time in office and say the same for him.

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    KBab says:

    It certainly helped. There are a surprising number of postal workers and carriers all across the country and they all have friends and family and are a big part of the ‘threatened’ middle class. Huge ripple effect, coast to coast to coast. It costed them.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Definitely not in the top five but a serious factor for some voters.

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    Steve T says:

    You may be right that the Canada Post issue helped Trudeau. However, as one of the two-thirds of Canadians who are sick of subsidizing the privileged one-third, this issue drives me nuts.

    As for 90-year-old Grandma, there are plenty of 90-year-olds who don’t get home mail delivery. There are also plenty of 90-year-olds who somehow find a way to buy groceries, and other things that require contact with the outside world. Same thing goes for all the red herring arguments about disabled people. Retaining an inefficient and antiquated process, which has clearly to be shown to be unnecessary for the majority of Canadians, is just plain dumb.

    But congrats to everyone who voted Trudeau to keep their home mail delivery. I hope you enjoy your continued ability to sponge off the rest of us, for the two snail-mail letters you get each week.

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    Bob Bullard says:

    We live in a community at the western edge of the City of Ottawa that became part of Ottawa as the city limits were expanded (we were Goulbourne). We have lived here 24yrs and have always had mailbox groups and no home delivery. Access to our subdivision by everyone is from two access roads, either one from DwyerHill or the other off Golf Club Way which parallels the twinned Hwy7. Since we all enter the subdivision on one of the two access roads the mailboxes are conveniently grouped and we do not need home delivery. I hope this continues. I also see this as a savings for the Post Office as there is no need for a mailman to walk to each home which is on a 2 and sometimes 3 acre lot, that’s a lot of walking for door to door delivery. So the home mailbox groupings can and does have a fit and does work.

    For those that have home delivery now the change will be hard. I do not agree that there is a one size fits all scenario. I believe the Post Office should retain home delivery for where it works and where people have lived and bought homes and have long had home delivery. For newer subdivisions where home mailbox groupings could be set on open space where people’s yards are not taken over with the Post Office right of way for the mailboxes then I think this works and should be explored and put in place where feasible. Do not take people’s yards away from them. But yes save money and start to place the grouped mailboxes in newer communities just being built. This saves money so I think it is fair to start doing it there.

    One size does not fit all and the Post Office needs to accommodate all (we all pay the same taxes) and where they can save money then that’s OK with me because if the Post Office does not save money then for sure they will need more tax dollars and that means a rate increase for all!

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    Matt says:

    My guess?


    I’m willing to bet at least half of those who voted Liberal couldn’t tell you a single promise Trudeau made before or during the election.

    They voted Liberal for one reason – They had the best shot at getting Harper out.

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    Craig McKie says:

    My guess, in small city BC it made a difference. I talked to my local delivery lady today, she being a well known local visitor. She was delighted with the hold on mailbox pad installation. So too, the vast majority of locals will be as it appears we have escaped boxation. They are retirees who moved here after dealing in their big city real estate and will spend their declining years here eating the proceeds. Retirement destination small urban areas require amenities and local post office delivery is an important one. I just wish Canada Post would not deliver packages from Amazon at 8AM presumably on the basis that householders would be absent later in the morning tending their cows and chickens or whatever. I personally do not rise before 9AM much to the discomfort of the guard dogs who keep the riffraff at bay. The local post office people realize this is a disconnect but are powerless to do anything about it. Canada Post must be one of the most poorly run outfits in this country. This is probably not an accident; yet another Harper inspired botchup. Maybe EVIL leaked across the street in Confederation Heights from CSE HQ to Canada Post castle.

    Justin! Keep the mail coming to the door as you promised. If you don’t a whole bunch of aging bourgeois colonist types out here in the Bible Belt will be sorely disillusioned. And thanks for your efforts. The long 10 years of darkness may well be over. Now be a good lad and buy 120 F18 Super Hornets and be done with F35.

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    DougM says:

    I don’t think so. After all, 2/3rds don’t get home delivery. I haven’t had home delivery since I lived with my parents 30 years ago. Frankly, I have no sympathy for the “elite” (tongue in cheek) that get home delivery…well…except for little old ladies and the like.

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    Reality.Bites says:

    Someone more clever than me will soon write a killer one-liner about this issue incorporating the phrase “first past the post.”

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    Sean Cummings says:

    Mail is obsolete. Canada Post is hanging on by the skin of its teeth. Home delivery will continue … for now. But it’s going to be gone within five years. There might be a political case for keeping it, but there surely isn’t the business case. If Mr. Trudeau can somehow convince Canadians they should bankroll an obsolete industry with their tax dollars that fills community mail boxes & home delivery mail boxes with mostly junk mail, so be it.

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    Cory says:

    IMO, ending home delivery is inevitable. It’s more efficient, costs less and is better for the environment. Continuing home delivery costs half a billion dollars a year. Eventually it’s going to be something we can no longer afford.

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    BillBC says:

    I think this issue resonated in the election because it seemed so simple: mail or no mail. Not like foreign trade deals that no one understands, or Middle Eastern problems that can’t be solved. It won’t be easy to settle, though. Surely we can’t go on for ever with a two tier service, where 1/3 of us get the stuff at home while 2/3 walk for it. Then there’s the fact that 95% of it is junk. Then there are the old ladies, 1/3 of them anyway, in danger of slipping and falling (the other 2/3rds can fend for themselves). Will be interesting to see how it plays out. Would have been much better if we’d started getting it only twice a week beginning around 1990…

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    cgh says:

    Whether it won for Trudeau or not doesn’t matter now. He’s now stuck with the mess at Canada Post. Its business continues to decline every year. The problem can no longer be fixed by rate increases. Hence, it’s either pour more money into CP on an annual basis or let the process of discontinuing door-to-door delivery disappear. There’s really only those two choices: more revenue or less service.

    And he’s only got an extra $15 billion annually to spend. How much of that is supposed to go to CP? Particularly when he’s got bribes to the CBC to pay off? Renewables to fund? Social infrastructure to build? The numerous grasping hands are out already.

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    Reality.Bites says:

    While obviously the home delivery of pieces of paper is a dying business, it’s not dead yet. One cost-reducing option is to reduce the number of days mail is delivered in places with home delivery. Seems to me that twice a week would be fine.

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      Cory says:

      I agree that could be an option, but the unions wouldn’t go for that because it would result in staffing cuts: full time posties would become part-time and you’d need less of them.

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        Reality.Bites says:

        You’d certainly need fewer, but not necessarily part-time. I cover route A on Mondays and Wednesdays, route B on Tuesdays and Thursdays and route C on Fridays. You cover Route C on Tuesdays, Route D on Monday and Thursday, and Route E on Wednesday and Friday. 5 routes covered by two full-time employees instead of 5.

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    Dan Forth says:

    Once I get my lazy fingers working on setting up receiving my myriad of bills electronically, Canada Post for me will be reduced to being the most expensive flyer delivery service known to mankind.

    Kill it now.

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    Justin says:

    Nice sentiment, but the conversation over making Canada Post viable must be made. It’s projected that by year 2020 Canada Post will need a subsidy of at least one billion dollars just to keep it afloat. Perhaps privatizing the service like they have done in Europe for instance. I’d rather see that money go to improving VIA rail or infrastructure than an outmoded communications service.

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    Ted H says:

    I like getting mail delivered to my door, and I like this immediate benefit of electing the Liberals. Maybe it’s not fair that many Canadians have to use the community boxes but I am going to be self serving and say I am happy I don’t have to.

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    Bluegreenblogger says:

    Hmm. I did not hear the issue brought up at the doorstep, or in conversation during the campaign. Not once. But I am in Etobicoke, and the overwhelming majority of people do have home delivery, as the housing is mostly 60-110 years old.(not I, our newer home is nice, but we get to walk to the corner for the mail) I have not NOTICED any new mailboxes installed yet. So I have seen zero evidence that it had an impact. I am certain that some people, recently ‘injured’ by loss of home delivery would be irate and cast a ballot in that mood. Now people living in older houses are probably more likely to be elderly. Younger people, in newer homes have never had home delivery, so will not miss it much. Logically speaking, this measure should have had a stronger negative impact on elderly Conservative voters who own their home, and have lived there for a long time. In other words, one would expect a negative impact on turnout of Conservative voters, and even some votes rolling over to Trudeau or Mulcair. Honestly, this question will probably be answered soon enough with actual evidence and analysis. Maybe not, try a FOI request of Canada Post. How much you wanna bet that Canada Post spent a lot of money polling this question for their political masters? Maybe they will share if prodded hard enough. Conclusion? I doubt it impacted more than a few tens of thousands of votes across Canada.

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