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ALAN HOLMAN: Bowing to political pressure

Community mailboxes remain in use in Charlottetown even though Canada Post ordered a freeze on their installation following the Trudeau Liberal victory in the October 2015 federal election. 

(Guardian File Photo)
Community mailboxes remain in use in Charlottetown even though Canada Post ordered a freeze on their installation following the Trudeau Liberal victory in the October 2015 federal election. (Guardian File Photo) - The Guardian

Federal Liberals wrong again; not once, but twice – on mailboxes, taxes



In spite of whatever questionable promises Sean Casey, the MP for Charlottetown may have made during, and after, the last election, the question that needs to be answered is not why Canada Post isn’t restoring door-to-door deliveries, but, why isn’t it expanding the program of community mailboxes?

A few years ago, when Mr. Casey’s leader was asked why he opted for a gender balanced cabinet he replied, “Because it’s 2015.”

The same answer could easily be applied to why Canada Post should expand its community mailbox program for urban communities. Because it is 2018, and fewer letters and bills are sent though the mail.

Granted not all, but many people have their utility, and other regular bills sent to them on-line, they also pay them on-line. And, they communicate by email. Computers play an ever-increasing role in our modern day lives, it is 2018, not 1820. Two centuries ago, even 20 years ago, there may have been an argument for door-to-door delivery, but today - not so much.

Twenty years ago most of our rural communities still had a grocery store, maybe even two, and a service station where the residents could buy gas. Today, on Route 2 between the Charlottetown area and Summerside, there are only three communities where you can get gas. Things change, the world moves on. It is unfortunate that the government listened to a few dissenting voices and prevented the Post Office from moving on and modernizing its system.

This isn’t the only area where the federal Liberals have succumbed to political pressure from a relatively small segment of society. Last spring it incurred the wrath of doctors, lawyers, farmers and the small business community when it tried to make the tax system more equitable.

To be fair, there were aspects of the proposed changes that weren’t properly thought out and the government needed to reconsider what it was doing. Most of the egregious items concerned the farmers and the professional classes.

But, who can forget the hue and cry raised by the small business community. Driven mainly by the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses, who claim small business are the country’s biggest creators of new jobs. How can you possibly penalize the one area of the economy that creates the most jobs, they demanded to know.

Well this week, the national organ of all things related to business, The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, ran an article calling into question the truth of the claim that small businesses are the big job generator the CFIB says they are.

Globe reporter Ian McGugan has been writing on business and investment issues for 20 years. This week he has taken the heretical stance that small business sector isn’t the great job creator it claims to be.

Citing an American study that showed between 1992 and 2010 businesses with fewer than 20 employees only created 16 per cent of new jobs, whereas businesses of 500 or more employees created 40 per cent of the jobs in that same period.

In his article Mr. McGugan quotes another study that shows that more important than the number of employees, is the age of the company, “young companies of any size do churn out new jobs.”

He says that governments kowtow to small businessmen because they have been so good at claiming they work harder, take more risks, etc. than the rest of us. Mr. McGugan doesn’t buy that. He says people start businesses because they believe they can make more working for themselves than someone else.

“But,” he asks, “why should the rest of us subsidize their desire for wealth by giving them a tax break . . . fundamentally, it’s not fair.”

Fair or not, the government once again bought the small business line and instead of increasing their tax rate to bring them into line with the rest of us, the Liberals reduced the small business tax.

again, the squealing, squeaking, local ‘wheels’ get the gravy.

- Alan Holman is a freelance journalist living in Charlottetown. He can be reached at:

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