The eccentric aunt of Canadian politics points the way back:
Elizabeth May is calling for a return to door-to-door mail delivery by Canada Post, saying the agency can pay for the service by diversifying into services such as banking in rural areas.
The Green leader spoke to reporters Tuesday in front of a recently installed community mailbox in Halifax which she says should be removed.
"Picture this location in the winter Halifax just went through with ice everywhere. Picture people trying to get from their homes to this postal box on foot. This is an idiocy," said May, as cars and trucks sped by on the busy St. Margaret's Bay Road artery.
"We need door-to-door mail delivery."
Having to walk through snow and ice in the middle of winter. You'd almost think you were living in Canada or something. Don't worry too much Lizzy. If global warming is real then people won't have to worry about "ice everywhere" for much longer. They'll just stroll through the balmy February mornings to pick up their junk mail.
What Ms May is missing is that in much of the country community mail boxes have been common place for more than twenty years. More than two-thirds of Canadians don't get home delivery. I guess there isn't "ice everywhere" in two-thirds of the country. Since this is Lizzy May the silliness doesn't come in dribs and drabs but all at once.
In order to subsidize the increasingly uneconomical home delivery of mail, the Green Party leader is suggesting Canada Post get into the insurance and banking business. You read that right. She wants a Crown corporation to put money into the already oversaturated financial services sector. Of course Ms May doesn't explain how Canada Post will make money selling GICs and variable annuities, products it's executives know nothing about. Will the Posties be able to sell these products cheaper and more efficiently than the private sector? Does anyone still believe that?
Having failed at developing a coherent marketing plan for Canada Post Bank, Lizzy then skips over common sense and calls for home delivery as a make work scheme. Apparently the more letter carriers we hire the better the economy will do. Alright. Let's follow Lizzynomics to its logical conclusion.
Delivering physical pieces of paper across Canada is nearly obsolete. There is very little today that cannot be done online. As a nation we're in a period of transition. The idea of a traditional post office is going to look incredibly quaint in about ten years. But let's say that you don't care about. To hell with progress we want jobs! Three cheers for Elizabeth Maynard May!
Fine. The fastest way to create jobs is to destroy technology. Imagine how well Canada Post would be doing if the government ordered the internet to shut down. No more e-mails! No more Facebook! Our political masters would force all of us to go back to writing out letters, putting them in envelopes, sticking on a stamp and then walking over to a mail box. For nostalgia purposes we could even replace all those bland Canada Post boxes and bring back those nifty pre-Trudeau Royal Mail boxes!
This would certainly create thousands of jobs for letter carriers, mail sorters and the necessary back office work force this would entail. Thing is that at the same time it would destroy many thousands of more jobs in the rest of the economy. We adopt more advanced technology because it makes things faster and more convenient. This is another way of saying it makes us more productive.
The Canadian worker is among the most productive in the world. This isn't because we work harder than other nations, it's because of the technology we use. Being more productive is what allowed us to become one of the richest nations on earth. The short-term downside of adopting the latest and greatest is that thousands of jobs are destroyed. In time, of course, thousands of more job are created in their stead. That period of transition can be brutally harsh, yet without this kind of change we'd still be using actual buggy whips.
If Lizzy May really wants to keep Canada out of recession, she needs to learn how economies actually work. She needs to understand that make work isn't real work.
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