Rally to save home mail delivery draws seniors, NDP crowd

Canada Post plans to eliminate home mail delivery in Dartmouth beginning June 13 and move to community mailboxes instead.

On the second floor of the Halifax Central Library, the Lindsay Children’s Room is packed with nearly 50 people from all around the Halifax Regional Municipality. A large banner is taped up at the front wall of the room, which reads “Save Canada Post.”

Canada Post is eliminating home mail delivery in Dartmouth beginning June 13 and in other parts of HRM (excluding the peninsula) on July 20, opting for community mailboxes instead. The corporation is phasing out home delivery in an attempt to dramatically cut costs.

Megan Leslie, the NDP MP for Halifax, organized Monday’s town hall at the library and two previous events. The NDP is the only party that has publicly opposed the changes proposed by Canada Post.

“Why all of a sudden are we being forced into having this discussion about whether or not Canada Post is profitable? Maybe postal service is just a public service. Maybe it’s something we’re willing to pay for as a community,” said Leslie.

The featured speakers included Scott Domenie, with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), Michael Keefe, vice-president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers – Nova Local (CUPW) and Bill VanGorder, chair of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP NS).

Keefe, a postal worker for 30 years in HRM, gave a detailed overview of Canada Post’s plan, which was introduced on Dec. 11, 2013. He said the consultation process was poor and that switching to community mailboxes results in problems related to theft, vandalism and accessibility.

“When you have people slipping and falling and breaking their legs at mailbox sites in HRM, it’s a municipal and federal issue,” said Keefe.

Alexa McDonough, former federal NDP leader, speaks during the Q&A period of the town hall, showing off a campaign poster.
Alexa McDonough, holding up some of the campaign posters,  said “everybody take it and post it somewhere,” during the Q&A period of the town hall. (Photo: Allie Graham)

VanGorder said many seniors have mobility issues. He said CARP has about 7,000 members province-wide, with approximately 4,000 in Metro Halifax, and that CARP has not been consulted by Canada Post.

“Sometimes the only person [seniors] see on a regular basis is their home mail delivery provider,” VanGorder said. “They’re the ones being hit.”

CARP is encouraging both members and non-members to sign a petition to save door-to-door services. “We [won’t] take this lying down, sitting down, or slipping on the ice,” said VanGorder to the crowd, consisting primarily of seniors.

The representatives and other residents left on a hopeful note that they’ll save door-to-door delivery.

“When people ask me if we can win this, [I say] absolutely we can, but it’s going to take all of us,” said Keefe.