Writing in National Post, Chris Selley addresses a couple of lingering issues. First, the financial viability of Canada Post:
Over the next seven years, the board predicts a 27% decline in domestic transaction mail — bills, cheques, letters —a 26% drop in addressed and unaddressed ad-mail and a 26% decline in its publication traffic. It projects Canada Post will have a $1-billion deficit in 2020.
Mr. Selley argues capably that the status quo in mail delivery in Canada is not sustainable. It is silly to offer daily mail to all urban locales, especially as remote regions get far lower levels of service. As Mr. Selley notes, it is these remote regions that most need mail delivery, as they’re not as well served by internet connectivity as their urban brethren. Thus, Mr. Selley argues, subsidization that would have to go to Canada Post should, instead, be routed towards subsidizing broadband service across Canada (an idea that’s been around for at least a dozen years):
There remains the issue of far-flung and remote communities. Some might question the very idea of subsidizing life there, in general. Not me. But there are other ways to subsidize the delivery of truly essential mail to those communities than to have a monopoly charging the same price to send a letter to Resolute as to send it across town. If we’re going to subsidize anything, in the long term, subsidizing Internet connectivity in such communities, and thus direct connection to the global economy, strikes me as a vastly superior investment.
Personally, I’m still not sold on the idea of subsidizing life in those remote communities (beyond our basic welfare system), so I’m not sure I can get on board with subsidized broadband. However, if I’m given the choice between continued subsidization of Canada Post or subsidizing broadband connections, I’ll definitely choose the latter.