Queen Charlotte appeals to federal leaders for quicker mail service

  • Jul. 29, 2009 8:00 p.m.

The leaders of three federal parties will soon hear from Queen Charlotte village council on the subject of the islands’ mail service. Mayor Carol Kulesha discussed a draft letter addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP leader Jack Layton and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff at the July 20 council meeting. She said all three party leaders have talked about how important rural areas are to Canada, so they need to know about the petition signed by almost 1,000 people on the islands. The petition is supported by all island communities and demands that Canada Post reinstate full delivery service standards, including air service, while ensuring that rates are similar to other full service communities. Ms Kulesha said she received a letter from Canada Post’s chief executive, Moya Greene, pointing out that there is increased service for the summer. “That’s great for the moment,” Ms Kulesha said, but in winter, mail will only leave the islands two times a week. Ms Greene’s letter reiterated that the islands are considered a remote site and therefore Canada Post has different delivery standards. This means that expedited parcels should arrive within five days, not including the day the parcel was brought to the post office, weekends or holidays. Ms Kulesha said that means at least eight days for expedited mail. In Prince Rupert the standard is two business days for the same category of mail. What is the difference? she asked. Both communities are served by airlines. “We are not remote, we have two airlines,” she said to council. Pacific Coastal is ready to talk to Canada Post, but Ms Kulesha said now Canada Post has decided air service is too expensive. Ms Kulesha also informed councillors about a conversation she had with Jeremy Cotton, Canada Post’s general manager of government affairs, who said he had done a study to track x-press post packages and how well they’ve done getting to the islands. He told her that 96 per cent of the packages meet the remote delivery standards, although 28 did go mysteriously missing. According to the mayor, a further conversation with Mr. Cotton revealed that packages leaving the islands are on time 85 per cent of the time. He seemed satisfied with that result, she said. “I said, that’s awful,” she said.Ms Kulesha is concerned that costs for health care, veterinarian, credit union and business community have all gone up since the change and people waiting for government cheques spent Christmas wondering when they would appear. She also wants to know why one federal government body considers the islands a remote location, while at the same time islanders are not able to claim the full northern living allowance when it comes time to pay their income tax. She is working further on the letter with council and will have it ready by the time the party leaders are back in Parliament this fall.