Monday, August 17, 2015

But who will deliver the mail?

Above, Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre seen jackhammering the foundation for a community mailbox in protest of Canada Post's recent decision to stop delivering the mail.

The decision to switch from door delivery to community mail boxes has provoked much outrage and fist shaking from members of the public and politicians. NDP Leader and Prime Minister-in-Waiting, Tom Mulcair has made the restoration of door-to-door service a campaign pledge while Trudeau has dutifully pledged to study the issue. But while the debate rages between members of the opinion molding class on what level of mail service the state should offer, perhaps there is another option? Why not consider privatization?

There are presently 6,500 post offices across the country but electronic communications and parcel delivery companies have all but eliminated the need for mail at all. Were Canada Post to cease operations these buildings could be re-purposed to serve the more urgent needs of consumers and the sale of these assets could fetch a tidy sum to be directed towards tax relief. The 6.5 billion pension shortfall would have to be dealt with; perhaps we could mail out a few 'sorry about your luck' cards before shutting it down. Not only would the land and vehicles be put to more productive use but so would the bureaucrats forced to find more productive employment.

Most likely, with fewer resources directed towards postal delivery, the price for flyers and other forms of direct commercial advertising (junk mail) would increase and we would be subjected to less of it or it would become targeted more accurately towards those who wish to receive it. And of course the subsidy for MP mailings would have to go. Even if prices went up on account of privatization (and they could very well) it would mean that the price of other stuff went down as resources were directed towards more urgent areas of consumer demand. Further, competition between firms would work to eliminate inefficiency and waste and keep prices down so even if prices for mail went up as resources were shifted out of that sector they would also be forced down on account of greater efficiency.

Instead of quibbling over exactly how much mail should be delivered and when, let's just privatize Canada Post and be done with it.

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