It’s the end of the left-over season

Alan
Alan Holman
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The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any for clearing up the odds and ends left over from the past year.

A recent joke on the Internet reminds one of how the postal service has deteriorated. The joke points out how the motto of Canada Post has changed over the years: 1980 - ‘ In Business To Serve’; 1990 - ‘ From Anyone To Anywhere’; 2000 - ‘ Canada Post Delivers’; 2013 - “Come And Get Your Bloody Mail’.

For the past two years the Conservative government has been boasting with great pride over the fact Canada came through the recent recession in better economic shape than any of the other G- 8 countries. It will be interesting to see if it will be equally boastful in 2014, over the fact that Canada will become the first G- 8 country to be without home delivery in its urban areas.

Post office management say they need to cut back on the postal service because of expensive union perks and the fact that mail usage has dropped dramatically since the advent of email and the Internet. This might be plausible if Canada was the only country in the world with computers and unions.

The last time anyone checked it seems all of the other G- 8 countries have both computers and unions, and their home delivery service has survived in spite of this.

When corporate management uses union contracts as an excuse for problems they don’t seem to realize they are highlighting their own managerial ineptitude. Management negotiated and agreed to contracts that the corporation now finds so objectionable. When managers agree to demands that will harm the viability of the company it is not the unions that have failed.

PRICE HIKES

The Island Regulatory Appeals Commission gave everyone the cold shoulder when they hiked gas and oil prices as soon as the holiday season ended.

It is hard to understand why Islanders have to wake up in the morning to find out they will pay a price for not filling their tank the night before. It is not that long ago that prudent Islanders would pay close attention when it came time for prices to change.

Often it became known in late afternoon that prices would be going up at midnight, and then people took the appropriate action. In fact, they took action in such numbers that service stations were overrun with customers for a few hours, and some stations occasionally ran out of fuel.

The service stations didn’t like this and they petitioned IRAC to change the system. Now the prices changes are kept secret until the new prices are in effect. Advantage to the service stations.

If the lineups were the reason for the change maybe IRAC could consider invoking a longer notice period. When prices are changing on the 15th and at the end of each month, maybe the new prices could be announced 24 or 36 hours in advance. People who want to top up their tank would have enough time to do so, and not have to line up at the last minute. It is not a large amount of money, but the secrecy involved is irritating, and it’s an irritant that could easily be eliminated.

POLITICS

In their December political poll for Prince Edward Island, Corporate Research Associates played Santa Claus, bringing gifts to all of the Island’s political parties.

The Liberals saw their popularity jump by seven points to 49 per cent. The Greens had a four point hike, going from three to seven per cent. Both the NDP and the Conservatives slipped by six points, leaving the NDP with 26 per cent and the Tories with 17 per cent.

What was Santa’s gift to the NDP and the Tories? Well, there was actually more than one. The fact that 48 per cent of Islanders are dissatisfied with the Liberal government is a gift to all the opposition parties.

Mike Redmond’s slow and steadily increasing popularity, while not earth shattering at 25 per cent, has the trend line going in the right direction, up. And Robert Ghiz’s popularity fluctuating as it does from the low to mid 30s should give the Conservative’s hope that when they select a leader they might see a dramatic change in their party’s fortunes.

The Premier’s popularity is at 35 per cent, up from 31, and for a year hasn’t exceeded 38 per cent. That’s not very high. Former premier, Catherine Callbeck decided to step down when her popularity was at 37 per cent.

Alan Holman is a freelance journalist living in Charlottetown. He can be reached at: acholman@pei.eastlink.ca

Organizations: Canada Post, Island Regulatory Appeals Commission, NDP Corporate Research Associates Conservatives The Premier

Geographic location: Canada, Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown

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