Madam Speaker, I am very privileged to rise today to speak on behalf of the residents from where I live. In Windsor—Tecumseh, people are very astute and look around and shake their heads at a legislature's approach many times.
Canada Post is a perfect example of infrastructure that has been built and developed across this country, in every corner, but that is not being maximized. As a matter of fact, the private sector is looking at the profit-making areas of Canada Post in a very predatory fashion and is eroding Canada Post.
We have a perfect example today of how we should be maximizing this existing infrastructure. We have over two million Canadians who do not have access to a bank within their community. We have people who are subject to predatory lending. They have to go to payday cash lenders because banks have decreased the number of branches in their communities by some 20%. We have 45% of rural communities with a post office but not bank branch.
Today, we know of Canadians who have to take their government cheque to a payday loan operation and pay an exorbitant fee to get their government cheque cashed. There is something wrong with that.
The fact of the matter is that many of the comments today are based on a task force report that was done two years ago. There has been critical evidence in response to that task force and its premises in approaching postal banking with the aim of recommending that it not be pursued.
The first premise of the task force was not based on how we could improve Canada Post. It was based on how we could cut costs and services at Canada Post. That is a key distinction. The second premise of the task force was that it studied postal banking with the view that private banking sector was serving Canadians very efficiently. As a matter of fact, they called it “great service”.
Those two premises of the task force were wrong. They were erroneous. We have the expertise and evidence from over 60 countries with successful postal banking. We also have our own evidence and experience. People know that postal banking could be a springboard.
When we are on vacation and want to mail a postcard home, we see this when we are in these rural communities. For Canadians living in the real world, our wheels get turning when we see how that service could be maximized in that space. It could be a kiosk for Service Canada. It could be a starting point for Nutrition North delivery. There are all kinds of things the government does that we could maximize within Canada Post.
The problem that we have is that we are looking at everything in silos. Postal banking is a perfect example of how we could increase the well-being of Canadians. That social cost when we remove it does become, ultimately, an economic cost.