Canada Post’s goal is to shut Osoyoos post office, MP Alex Atamanenko charges

By on March 19, 2014
MP Alex Atamanenko called the decision to open a Canada Post retail outlet across the street from the post office "despicable" in a speech Saturday to NDP faithful in Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire photo)

MP Alex Atamanenko called the decision to open a Canada Post retail outlet across the street from the post office “despicable” in a speech Saturday to NDP faithful in Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire photo)

Federal MP Alex Atamanenko is calling the decision to open a retail postal outlet across the street from the Osoyoos post office “despicable,” and says the goal is to shut the post office down.

“It’s an insult to the people who work at Canada Post, the people who provide the service,” said the NDP Member of Parliament. “What’s the purpose? Obviously volume will go down and they’ll eventually shut it down. That’s what they want.”

Atamanenko made the comments in Osoyoos on Saturday while attending the founding meeting of the NDP association for the new federal riding of South Okanagan-West Kootenay.

“I think that’s the endgame,” he said, adding that despite claims that Canada Post operates at arm’s length from the government, this is part of a broader privatization campaign by the Stephen Harper Conservatives.

Any move to close the post office will also hurt small businesses, said Atamanenko, adding that he’s received support from the Chamber of Commerce in Castlegar for retaining jobs at Canada Post in that community.

“The best guarantee for small business in Osoyoos is good paying jobs,” said the MP. “We need to preserve those jobs.”

Canada Post workers receive good benefits and they spend their money at businesses in town, he noted.

Atamanenko said he is not faulting Pharmasave, which opened the outlet on 78th Avenue, but rather is faulting Canada Post and the federal government.

He also acknowledged that the new outlet might not have a direct negative impact on mail service.

A Canada Post spokesperson didn’t respond to Atamanenko’s comments specifically, but he did send a general emailed response reiterating Canada Post’s commitment to meet the changing needs of Canadians by expanding the retail network.

“Our franchise postal outlet model has proven a very reliable and less expensive means for us to better meet the needs of Canadians’ changing shopping habits (one-stop shopping at stores that offer multiple services and products) and how they use Canada Post because of their increasingly busy lives,” wrote Phil Legault, manager of media relations with Canada Post. “Franchise postal outlets, like the Pharmasave in Osoyoos, are a complement to our post offices. As an example, the postal outlet in the Pharmasave is open an hour later weekdays than the post office, and it’s also open on Saturdays.”

In an interview in February, Legault said: “We’re not looking to close any post office outlets in Osoyoos or any community where we’ve signed these retail partnership agreements.”

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

The owners of the Pharmasave outlet in downtown Osoyoos have signed a new retail partnership agreement with Canada Post. The deal is all about improving customer service and allowing local customers to access all Canada Post services outside of normal post office hours, says Canada Post media relations manager Phil Legault. (Keith Lacey photo)

The owners of the Pharmasave outlet in downtown Osoyoos have signed a new retail partnership agreement with Canada Post. The deal is all about improving customer service and allowing local customers to access all Canada Post services outside of normal post office hours, says Canada Post media relations manager Phil Legault. (Keith Lacey photo)

 

One Comment

  1. Barbara Haskell

    March 21, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Why would they have more post boxes for retail when the retail businesses in Osoyoos have been closing down. What is it next? We lost the Chamber of Commerce to Oliver, the Telus office moved to Oliver, some other businesses closed down, and people just don’t come here too much in the winter … I agree with MP Atamanenko …

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