The Honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate for
a few moments in this debate. I have 10 minutes and a lot to say, so let me begin. I am going
to be hosting a town hall in Dartmouth on Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:00 to talk
about these cuts. I am pleased to have a go at it tonight because when I have a town hall
I let me constituents do the talking instead of taking up the time myself.
I am pleased to be here to talk about this motion and to talk in support of home delivery
by Canada Post to Canadians. I have been listening to the debate all day and to the members opposite
trying to explain why it is they are moving in this direction, and I still do not have
a clear answer. Let us be clear. They sound like they know what they are talking about.
The government has it down pat in terms of cutting services. Whether it is services to
veterans, closing down offices, closing down services to fishermen, closing down services
for people on EI, closing down libraries, or not ensuring that military personnel and
their families get the services they need, the government is really good at closing down
services. But the question that I ask is, if the Conservatives
are so smart and sure of themselves in their explanation and arguments for this, why did
they announce the decision in the dead of night? Why did they announce the decision
the day after Parliament closed, when there was no one watching or listening and no one
to question them, to try to hold them to account and to get some answers? There wasn’t a minister
nor an executive from Canada Post in sight when Canadians got wind of what the government
had announced and began to demand answers. It’s just simply not good enough. I was talking
to Carl today, a man from Dartmouth. He is 88. He said he just got off the phone with
his sister, who lives out in the country down near Lunenburg. She is his younger sister.
She is 87. He is upset about this because he said it is going to be difficult for him
to access the mail in weather like this and weather like we have had throughout the winter.
He said his sister has gone days, if not weeks, trying to access her community mailbox in
the country. I had a call from Sue the other day Ms. Speaker.
She said there have been times over this winter when she has gone a number of days not being
able to get into her mailbox because of the ice and snow.
Why is the government on this and so many other issues not prepared to consult with
Canadians, is not prepared to consult with Carl, Sue and so many of the people in Dartmouth
who are going to see the service cut? Why aren’t prepared to come with me to the town
hall at the Woodlawn United Church on Thursday night and hear what people have to say?
People are concerned about the fact that they are not going to be able to get the service
they normally do. I hear government members say there are other Canadians who do not get
door-to-door service anymore and depend on community mailboxes. We fought against that
because we believed it was wrong too. Two wrongs do not make a right Mr. Speaker. The
government has to figure how it is going to provide services to Canadians, how it will
be able to make Canadians’ lives better, how to make Canadian families’ lives more affordable
instead of always finding ways to cut back services Mr. Speaker.
In terms of the whole issue of expanding services and whether Canada Post could start making
money from postal banking, the government should be examining those kinds of options.
It should be able to come to the House and tell us that they are going to expand these
services and ensure that Canada Post will try options like those adopted in other G7
countries to ensure that services are available for Carl, Sue and the other people in Dartmouth—Cole
Harbour, who desperately need and deserve these services. This is a service that we
should be providing to all Canadians. It connects our communities from coast to coast to coast.
That is the kind of country that we on this side of the House want to live in.
The Honourable member from Essex. Mr. Speaker, I listened to the member’s intervention
and want to move to the issue of postal banking and ask a number of questions on that today
to find out whether the member supports postal banking without having the facts, or whether
he has the facts and that is why he supports postal banking.
My question is very simple. What would it cost Canada Post to capitalize a postal bank?
What would it cost Canada Post to operate all those postal branches as banks? How does
he expect Canada Post to be able to pay for that initiative?
We will find out whether he has the facts about postal banking or whether it is ideology.
Honourable member for Dartmouth-Cole Harbour. Mr. Speaker, I do not know if the member over
there is a minister of state or a parliamentary secretary, but he has a title and he is responsible
for this file: Canada Post. He makes a bit of a stipend for that. I do not know what
it is, but say it’s $30,000 or $40,000. This is his file.
Canada Post has just announced that it is going to cut services to Canadians and that
it has examined options, yet the parliamentary secretary or the minister of state, whatever
that member is, does not know what those options are. He does not know what the costs are.
He does not know what the implications are for Canada Post. What is he doing?
The question is, what is the CEO, who is making a half a million dollars, doing over there?
What is he doing over there to ensure that Canadians receive the services that Canada
Post is mandated to provide? Is he examining the alternatives that other G7 countries around
the world have examined and have successfully implemented to ensure that their postal services
are viable? Or has he been sitting on his hands, trying to lecture seniors that they
should be using this opportunity to get some exercise? I think that is wrong.