KAMLOOPS — This week's announcement that the Liberals will freeze conversions to community mailboxes is the classic definition of compromise: it is bound to make no one happy.
The postal workers union and seniors who have trouble leaving their homes won't be happy that door-to-door is not being restored to those who lost it.
Those with an eye on the government's bottom line are likely upset that a cost-saving measure enacted by the previous Conservative government won't be followed through.
While it's status quo going forward for mail delivery, it should bring up the debate about why the federal government is still in the mail delivery business.
If we start with the premise that any services provided by the government should be either essential to Canadian life, or inappropriate to entrust to the private sector, the mail delivery increasingly doesn't pass the test.
More and more Canadians receive only two types of deliveries from Canada Post - either flyers and or parcels containing online purchases.
Surely, private delivery businesses can handle those tasks.
There are still some who receive cheques and bills through the mail, but that number is quickly dwindling.
The number of people who regularly receive personal correspondence in their mailboxes is even smaller.
Eventually, our postal carriers will be delivering nothing more than Amazon boxes and Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons.
That hardly seems like a job for a government.
There are two rubs, of course.
First, depending on who you listen to, Canada Post may or may not be profitable, and the government would be loathe to give up a revenue stream.
Second, though, is the one-word argument that people always employ, as if it trumps any other argument: jobs.
Canada Post offers good jobs for thousands of Canadians.
But the federal government must balance its own employment mandate with the need to get out of the way of private business.
The time may not be now, but in the coming years, the Canadian government will need to privatize Canada Post and let some other company handle the coupons and the Amazon orders.
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