Mr. Don Boudria (Glengarry-Prescott-Russell):
Mr. Speaker, on December 9, 1992,1 rose in this House to put a question to the minister responsible for Canada Post. I wanted to know why he was pursuing this policy of shutting down rural post offices. I asked in particular for his intervention in the case of the post office in Saint-Clement de Riviere-du-Loup. Post offices are closing in my riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, in Martin-town, just as they are closing in my colleague's riding here.
The worst thing about these decisions is that they are arbitrary. Canada Post shuts down rural post offices whether or not the post office is still needed and whether or not the post office is making money. It does not make any difference to them. The only criteria Canada Post uses is whether or not the postmaster has left. We call this the natural opportunity criteria.
This so-called natural opportunity is what Canada Post is taking.
I submit to you today that several post offices were not shut down. There are discrepancies in the administration of this policy. In some cases post offices are allowed to remain open in the ridings of certain members opposite
even after the postmaster retired. But, in the ridings of members of the opposition it was quite another matter. I do hope that the government will answer these questions.
What I want the government to tell me today, is why pursue this policy of so-called natural opportunity to shut down rural post offices. The parliamentary secretary may argue: "We are not shutting them down. They are being converted". Go and tell that to my constituents in Summerstown for instance. When the post office was closed down one of these converted outlets was opened but it has moved three times in the past ten months. Canadians from rural areas are not provided with service at least not the level of service they are entitled to.
Today, I urge this government to reconsider its decision and eliminate immediately this criterion for shutting down rural post offices.
There is still time for this government to change its ways in regard to closing rural post offices. If the Tories will not do it, we will do it very soon.
Subtopic: CANADA POST CORPORATION