Mailman’s role minimized in the global village

Now in spite of what my children may think, I was not alive 100 years ago. But, I am old enough to remember a time when mail was different, very different. For one thing, if someone wanted to read an out-of-town newspaper, chances are they had it delivered by mail. I remember my father receiving copies of the Toronto and Montreal newspapers in the mailbox. They were delivered by a mailman – nobody ever heard the term “letter carrier” back then – who wore a very military uniform, complete with forage hat and cap badge. Back then the mail was royal, and the various letterboxes were mostly green with a very official coat of arms emblazoned on the front. Continue reading →

Falklands post office quick to salute Iron Lady

To date Margaret Thatcher is the first and only woman to have led a major political party in the U.K. and holding the office from 1979 to 1990, she served as British prime minister for the longest continuous period since Robert Jenkinson in the early 19th century. When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, then prime minister Thatcher responded to the attack by sending a task force to recapture the islands, despite the logistical problem of British forces operating 13,000 kilometres from home. At that time her Iron Lady nickname, first applied to her by a Soviet newspaper in 1976, stuck. Continue reading →

Canada Post’s decline will be stemmed by transformation

Sure, the corporation was piling up profits in the millions, but it had expenses in the billions. Canada Post is one of the largest businesses in Canada, and much of its costs are related to labour, and the cost of fulfilling its requirement to provide universal postal service to Canadians. Just a few years ago, when I was reviewing the annual report for the year 2010, I noticed that Canada Post, while making money then, was one bad week away from being in the red. Along came the labour problems of 2011, and that’s what happened. Lower volumes of mail, combined with an increase in the number of addresses to be served, means that it becomes increasingly less efficient to deliver mail. Continue reading →

Profit of $98M small comfort for Canada Post

Canada Post managed to turn a profit in 2012, but the profits are the result of non-cash adjustments to labour costs, and from operations. According to the Crown corporation’s annual report, $98 million in future sick leave and post-retirement health benefits were saved as a result of the new collective agreement reached in late 2012. That allowed for a one-time adjustment without which Canada Post would have posted a loss of $54 million in that year. The loss would have been tempered by profits from Canada Post’s other operations, such as Purolator, but the Canada Post group as a whole would still have posted a loss of $25 million. Continue reading →

Canada Post cuts will affect hobby, but collectors have a voice

The new forum is an effort by Canada Post to seek the views of average Canadians on how to transform the business in order to meet their current and future needs. Those average Canadians include members of the stamp-collecting community. You can participate in two ways. You can submit your comments on the Canada Post website ( and click on “The Future of Canada Post,” or you can write to The Future of Canada Post, 2701 Riverside Dr., Suite N0800, Ottawa, ON K1A 0B1. Future generations of postal historians will be studying this time closely. It would be a shame if they concluded that the present generation of collectors didn’t speak their minds. Continue reading →

Stamp highlights Queen’s Canadian connections

“Queen Elizabeth’s dedication to her role and her relationship with this country make this stamp a fitting tribute,” said Paul Calandra, member of Parliament for the Oak Ridges-Markham riding in southern Ontario, and parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage. “The diamond anniversary of her coronation is an occasion deserving of a special issue and the painting by Canadian artist Phil Richards offers a beautiful depiction of this remarkable monarch,” said Deepak Chopra, president and CEO of Canada Post. Although Queen Elizabeth II assumed the throne in February 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI, her coronation did not take place until June 2, 1953. Continue reading →

Winds of postal reform blowing harder than ever

The truth is that post office closures are going to become more and more common. As a business, Canada Post has a huge problem: not only is it losing money, but its core business of delivering mail to Canadians is in decline. At the same time, the number of addresses to be served is on the increase. Faced with these problems, the corporation has few alternatives. It must cut costs, which means closing post offices and combining operations such as sorting into fewer facilities, and possibly reducing the level of service. At the same time it needs to look at growing whatever revenue it can, and that means admail and philatelic sales. Continue reading →

Montreal’s 1812 war hero gets his due

“During the past year, Canadians have paid tribute to many heroes of the War of 1812. I am especially proud to be here today at the unveiling of this stamp in honour of Lieutenant-Colonel de Salaberry, a true French-Canadian hero,” said Minister Blaney. “Salaberry and his Voltigeurs are known for having bravely defended Canada 200 years ago, and we must never forget the sacrifices they made, as they participated in building the Canada we know today.” Dubbed “The Hero of Châteauguay,” de Salaberry was a distinguished British Army commander whose leadership of the legendary Voltigeurs ensured the successful defence of Montreal and all of Lower Canada (now Quebec) from 1812-14. Continue reading →

Stamp reflects on darker aspect of Canada’s history

Politics aside, the story is significant to us today because it points out that this nation, a mere 100 years ago, was capable of institutionalized discrimination. It is part of our collective past, just as much as the battle against American invaders in 1812, the internment of Japanese-Canadians during the Second World War, the liberation of Holland, and the internment of Ukrainian and German immigrants in the First World War. Canada is a great country, and in remembering our great moments, we should not forget our human failures. It seems that history does repeat itself. In 1937, the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner carrying 937 German-Jewish refugees, was turned away in Cuba, the United States, and Canada. Continue reading →

War of 1812 stamps salute Secord, de Salaberry

Canada Post released two stamps honouring the daring exploits of two legendary Canadian heroes – Laura Secord and Charles de Salaberry. Secord and de Salaberry’s pivotal actions helped to secure this country’s distinct identity when its future was threatened in a conflict with the Americans. Secord braved a 30-kilometre walk through the Canadian wilderness to warn a British outpost of an impending American attack. As commander of a group of fighters in Lower Canada, de Salaberry’s strategy and resourcefulness enabled his outnumbered Canadian force to repel an American invasion aimed at capturing Montreal. Continue reading →

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