Transport Minister Lisa Raitt is defending Canada Post's decision to phase out urban mail delivery over the next five years while hiking the price of stamps.
Raitt, the minister responsible for the Crown corporation, says Canadians are sending less mail than ever, leaving Canada Post with some tough financial decisions in order to combat a steep decline in revenues.
She says a typical Canadian household buys only one to two dozen stamps a year, and mail volumes continue to plummet, having fallen nearly 25 per cent per household since 2008.
``The government of Canada supports Canada Post in its efforts to fulfil its mandate of operating on a self-sustaining financial basis in order to protect taxpayers, while modernizing its business and aligning postal services with the choices of Canadians,'' Raitt said in a statement.
She adds she is looking forward to ``seeing progress'' as Canada Post rolls out its cost-cutting plans.
The NDP's Olivia Chow and Peter Julian, meantime, assailed the Conservative government for the decision.
``Conservatives are destroying Canadians' long-treasured postal services,'' Chow said in a statement. ``These job-killing and service-cutting measures will isolate seniors, the poor and the disabled living in urban areas.''
On Parliament Hill, Julian criticized the government for the timing of the announcement. The House of Commons adjourned on Tuesday until late January.
``There are really serious concerns being raised about this and yet we have the government announcing it after the House is adjourned, and that tells you everything you want to know about how they think Canadians are going to react,'' Julian said.
``It's profoundly disrespectful to Canadians and disrespectful to Parliament.''
The Green Party's Elizabeth May was equally disdainful.
``This decision will disproportionately affect the elderly and Canadians living with disabilities, for whom home delivery of letters and parcels provides a critical link,'' May said.
``Canada Post claims to be listening to Canadians, yet I've yet to hear anyone tell me that they no longer want letters delivered to their homes.''