Madam Speaker, late last year, the Liberal government conducted polling to see if it could get away with cutting Canada Post services that Canadians rely on. This poll was a surprise to Canada Post and hard-working postal workers right across the country. The poll misled respondents by implying that Canada Post receives government funding before going on to ask about a possible restructuring and cuts to services and jobs, including closing rural post offices, moving remaining door-to-door deliveries to community mailboxes, reducing the frequency of mail delivery and using more automation to replace Canada Post workers.
Across the country, Canadians rely on Canada Post and its dedicated staff to provide an essential service every single day, especially in rural and northern communities. Canada Post is a key conduit to bring in community supplies and connect with families living in urban areas. It is a key part of local economies. Hundreds of thousands of people, including seniors and people with disabilities, rely on door-to-door delivery.
While he says he is a friend to labour, the Prime Minister continues to undermine union rights and well-paying jobs in Canada. The government failed to restore door-to-door mail delivery in communities that lost it under Stephen Harper, despite a 2015 campaign promise to save the service.
In the 2017 report entitled “The Way Forward for Canada on Post”, which was created and tabled by the current government, 26 of the 45 recommendations spoke to maintaining and expanding services. Instead, this poll suggests the government is eyeing cuts to services and jobs. However, the poll shows that Canadians are strongly opposed to closing rural post offices and, indeed, the minister's mandate letter speaks to ensuring that Canada Post services better reach rural and remote areas, so closing post offices should not even be on the table.
Canadians are also skeptical of automation. Postal workers have worked hard throughout the pandemic, helping Canadians stay home and healthy, and small business owners have pivoted to e-commerce to stay afloat. In 2020, Canada Post dealt with record parcel volumes, including a 52% increase in parcel revenue from small businesses alone.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has conducted its own polling that shows Canada Post is a trusted brand and that Canadians support expanding its services. Canada Post is actually positioned to play a very important role in our country's recovery from COVID-19. However, the government's polling in the strategic policy review it announced in budget 2022 raises a lot of questions about whether the government plans to actually pursue an austerity agenda.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has also championed initiatives that would actually help build inclusive and sustainable communities, such as postal banking and community hubs. These are exciting opportunities. Let us think about Nunavut, where most communities have no access to a bank branch. This contributes to continuing systemic inequities. Postal banking could help nearly two million Canadians access more affordable quality banking services where no services are currently available, and it could be critical and a key opportunity for reconciliation.
Across the country, there is also an urgent need to build electric vehicle charging infrastructure. We just heard last night from the people at the function for electric vehicles that they need more infrastructure.
There is an opportunity to build on Canada Post's established footprint and brand to provide needed services to Canadians, so why is the government considering cuts that would hurt communities and the collective rights of postal workers? What is the government's plan for Canada Post? When will the government be transparent with Canadians and postal workers?