Passionate crowd gathers for Nelson stop on CUPW Canada Post Caravan Tour
By Brendan Quinn, The Nelson Daily
A large and passionate crowd gathered in front of city hall on Monday to protest the Harper government’s plan to implement community mailboxes and eliminate door-to-door delivery by postal workers.
The rally was hosted by the President of CUPW Local 790, Brenda Muscoby-Yanke, and featured speakers that included Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian of the NDP and National President of the CUPW, Mike Palecek.
Julian, representing the riding of Burnaby/New Westminster and the Opposition Critic to Canada Post, opened the rally by jumping right to point, telling the audience that “As Canadians, we want to save our door to door delivery,” to resounding applause.
Julian spoke of the clandestine conference held by the Conservative Government just before Christmas in 2013 during which they announced the phasing out of home delivery for the postal service, to which the crowd responded with boos and cries of “shame”.
Outside of key topics like thievery and job loss, a major talking point that resonated with locals was the growing population of seniors in Nelson and the hilly and treacherous terrain they would be forced to navigate should door-to-door delivery be eliminated.
Jean Reichardt, a local senior’s advocate and Queen’s Medal recipient, spoke out against the plan and the detrimental and damaging effect it would have on older Canadians.
“For seniors who have some mobility challenges-and in Nelson during winter that’s most of us- getting to one of these fancy mailboxes is a challenge,” she said.
Reichardt continued, citing the vital and potentially life saving role door-to-door delivery persons play when it comes to seniors.
“It’s the letter carrier that is often the one to realize somebody is in distress, because they see those newspapers and they realize that the person inside that dwelling is in difficulty, and that is a very valuable and irreplaceable service that Canada Post is providing and it doesn’t cost anything.”
The rally closed with an impassioned speech by CUPW National President Mike Palecek, who has been touring the country in his “Save Canada Post” caravan, beginning on the East Coast and making its way westward.
Palecek began by speaking out against the Harper government’s claims that these cuts were made for financial reasons.
“There’s no economic justification for these cuts. Canada Post continues to make money, we made $200 million in profit last year, there’s no reason for them to pursue this.”
Palecek made clear his loyalties to the NDP by explaining to the crowd that while the Liberals have promised a moratorium to prevent any more cuts going forward, only the NDP plans to undo the cuts entirely and restore door to door delivery.
Palecek ended the rally with a song dedicated to Mr. Harper, with lines like “As your final trophy, you tried to kill the Postie, but you should know CUPW will never die,” garnering massive applause and cheers from the crowd.