Postal banking has strong support

It’s no secret that Canada Post has taken a hit as international remailers, couriers, and parcel delivery services have cut into its traditional sources of revenue. That doesn’t mean there aren’t options available for the corporation to grow, but it may not be in the way some suspect. Postal banking has the potential to help Canada Post grow and would be a boon for rural and remote communities too.  That is why New Democrats asked parliament to form a special committee to study the possibility.

The idea received strong support from stakeholders who see postal banking as a sustainable solution that can offer services to Canadians across the country.  For areas that are forced to get by without banking services, the implications would be significant.  It would also offer an alternative for those who cannot afford or choose not to use corporate banks, especially in areas that are not served by viable alternatives like credit unions.

New Democrats believe that now is the opportune time for Canada Post to explore alternative revenue streams such as postal banking. The idea will allow us to move forward with a plan that serves Canadians. Postal banking is sustainable, profitable and equitable, and will provide service where the big banks have abandoned people.

The objective of the motion is to create a special committee to examine and recommend a plan for a federal postal banking system administered under the Canada Post Corporation.  It’s not like Canada would be charting new territory if we choose to go down this path. There are international examples of successful postal banking initiatives including in Switzerland, France, Japan, New Zealand and Italy.  It’s also important to note that there is widespread support for postal banking in Canada.  Small communities, poverty organizations, and unions all showed support for the NDP motion.

In the north we have first-hand experience in places like Dubreuilville and Massey with the problems that occur when a bank leaves town.  The truth is that this has been a problem for smaller communities all across the country. We also understand how tenuous the presence of Canada Post can be.  In recent years communities have fought to keep their Post Offices.  Banking services would help anchor those outlets, while helping to stabilize Canada Post at the same time.  Additionally, postal banking would allow for local service, and support economic development in underserviced regions.

The roll out for the motion included representatives from the Canadian Postmasters and Assistants Association, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, ACORN, and other stakeholders. Everyone spoke to the importance of postal banking and how it would benefit communities across Canada.  The motion has already been debated once during Private Members Business and there is another hour to go before a vote in the Commons.  New Democrats are hopeful the government will see the potential for a committee study.  It won’t force them into anything beyond exploring the option, but the benefit for rural and remote communities alone is a strong reason to move this forward.