Canada column for Sunday, Jan. 19/14
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
A petition calling on Canada Post to reconsider its plan to end door-to-door mail delivery in urban centers has so far received about 130,000 signatures.
Susan Dixon of Cambridge, Ontario started the online petition (www.change.org) saying that it will create a hardship for many people including those with limited mobility and the elderly.
She has two sons, one with cerebral palsy who uses a walker or wheelchair to get around.
“Canada Post’s decision would mean having to bundle them up and struggle through the snow with a wheelchair just to get our mail,” she said.
In a cost-cutting move, the postal service plans to phase out delivery to the door in cities and towns and switch to group mail boxes that are now in use in many newer subdivisions.
The post office projects an annual loss of $1 billion a year by 2020 if it continues without changes that include an increase in the price of stamps.
“We know we need to be sensitive and understanding in our approach to changes . . . but the status quo is not going to change,” said Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton.
Executives of Air Canada and WestJet Airlines support the decision that closed Toronto’s Pearson Airport to incoming flights for eight hours due to freezing and icy weather.
The rare “ground stop” was imposed on Jan. 7 by the Greater Toronto Airport Authority when temperatures plummeted to -40F with the wind chill at Canada’s busiest airport.
Equipment was freezing up and it was too cold for workers to be outside, the authority said, stranding thousands of travelers.
Air Canada independently had stopped flights into Toronto to avoid leaving passengers stuck inside planes on the tarmac for four or five hours, said chief financial officer Michael Rousseau.
News in brief:
- Sears Canada has cut another 1,628 positions to lower expenses. The company ended 800 repair parts and service jobs last November and now has eliminated hundreds of warehouse jobs. It is also outsourcing 1,345 positions at call centers in Toronto, Montreal and Belleville, Ont. Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. said it will take over Sears’ prime location at the Toronto Eaton Center and will open in vacated stores in Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa.
- Canadian-born rock legend Neil Young’s anti-oilsands statements are irresponsible, said Dave Collyer, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The singer has lack of understanding about the oilsands and economic benefits they bring, Collyer added. Young is on a four-concert tour to raise money for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation located near the oilfields in Alberta.
Facts and figures:
The Canadian dollar remains at a four-year low at 91.12 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0973 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is 1 percent while the prime-lending rate remains at 3 percent.
Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 13,878 points and the TSX Venture index at 976 points.
Lotto 6-49: (Jan. 15) 2, 15, 25, 27, 38 and 46; bonus 33. (Jan. 11) 3, 11, 15, 21, 23 and 33; bonus 32. Lotto Max: (Jan. 10) 12, 28, 31, 38, 40, 41 and 45; bonus 15.
- An offer of financial compensation to the 90 children of serial killer Robert Pickton’s victims is being prepared. Len Doust, an attorney for the British Columbia government, has asked the Supreme Court to put lawsuits by the children of nine women on hold in the meantime. Pickton is serving a life sentence for murdering six sex-trade workers in Vancouver after the remains or DNA of 33 women were found on his pig farm.
- Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will visit Canada in May. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the visit comes as Canada begins five years of commemorations, including the centennial of the start of the First World War this year and the country's 150th birthday in 2017. The royal couple visit Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
- Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has called by-elections on Feb. 13 in Niagara Falls and Toronto’s Thornhill to fill vacancies in the legislature. The announcement comes as her Liberal party said it will build a new regional hospital in Niagara and is giving millions of dollars to aid the area’s wine industry. The vacancies resulted from the resignations of Liberal Kim Craitor in Niagara Falls and Conservative Peter Shurman in Toronto.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com