Submitted by Jean-Philippe Grenier, CUPW, third national vice president On June 17, 2019, the Canadian government declared a climate emergency, passing a motion through parliament calling climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity.”
This should shock no one. We already know that our country is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and that it is becoming increasingly difficult for our planet to breathe.
Words are not enough. They are meaningless without action. The federal government must walk the talk, starting with its largest Crown Corporation, Canada Post.
The post office is the largest retail and logistics network in Canada: there are more post offices across the country than Tim Hortons and Starbucks combined and Canada Post has one of the largest vehicle fleets in the country, with over 13,000 vehicles travelling over 96 million kilometres yearly.
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) believes the post office can drive the transition to a green economy, while also tackling social inequalities. We call it Delivering Community Power.
Picture this scenario: you walk into your local post office, where the roof is covered with solar panels. Outside, electric cars are lined up at a public, high-speed charging station. Among them is a made-in-Canada electric postal delivery van, just of the many Canada Post green vehicles.
Inside, you can still mail your Christmas gifts, but you can also open a bank account, thanks to the return of financial services at the post office, which is flagship demand from CUPW. As the big banks continue to abandon rural and Indigenous communities and payday lenders take advantage of the lack of services in these communities, a publicly-owned bank ensures people have access to affordable financial services.
In the post office of the future, door-to-door delivery has been restored to all, allowing carriers to check-in on seniors and other vulnerable populations during their routes and even helping them connect to public health and social services.
This is just the tip of what a green, 21st century post office can offer. CUPW is thinking big and so should you.
This is not a dream: it is an integrated, self-financing package of concrete solutions. Many of these of ideas are already working in post offices across the world. Workers believe in these solutions and it’s time for political parties to by-in as well.
Canada Post has the capacity to be a leader in our country’s leap away from fossil fuels, while strengthening rural economies, redistributing power from corporate Canada and maintaining good public sector jobs. Canada’s postal service belongs to all of us and it is ready and capable of serving us all.
Find out more about Delivering Community Power.