Mr. Jeff Watson (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, CPC)
Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her intervention again in this particular matter.
There is a fundamental proposition that is being asked of the government in the House on this matter, which is do we trust the member—whose colleague, the member for Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, has said on the record that there is “no crisis at Canada Post currently”, a sentiment shared by Liberals on the record in the House as well—or do we trust the econometrics of a credible independent third party think tank in our country that applied an econometric model in forecasting, and not only analyzing, what Canada Post's current dire situation is?
There were a billion fewer individual stamped, addressed letters delivered in 2012 than in 2006, but that trend of e-substitution has not bottomed out yet. In fact, it is forecast to continue on into the future. Canada Post is posting annual deficits approaching $1 billion only six years from now in a rapidly declining financial position. Does the government support Canada Post acting now? Yes. Canada Post is an independent arm's-length crown corporation, managed by a board of directors and a CEO, and is responsible for its own day-to-day operations. Do we support them acting? Yes, absolutely, we do.
Canada Post chose a five-point plan. The member has articulated the particular points that are part of that five-point plan. It has done so in consultation with Canadians. It continues to engage communities in the rollout and implementation of that particular plan. We support that something had to be done and done now.
I know the member opposite and her party like to posit the idea of postal banking somehow turning the post offices into branches for banking. However, not one think tank in the country yet, the Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives, or anyone else, has suggested how such a bank would be capitalized, what it would take, and how a crown corporation that is in a failing economic condition right now and rapidly declining, would somehow be able to convert itself into a postal bank. Why, for that matter, adopt the branch bank model that is currently already eroding and is likely to continue? Within nine years, more than half of banking consumers will be young millennials. They are already abandoning that particular model of going to visit their branch.
None of the ideas of the opposition make any amount of sense. We will continue to support Canada Post taking urgent action and doing it right now, so that we can actually have a Canada Post that delivers mail.
Subtopic: Canada Post