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When 30 cents seemed crazy expensive for postage stamps

A sharp rise in the price of postal stamps was going to be delivered to Canadians in 1982.

Stamps were set to jump from 17 cents each to 30 cents in January 1982

Canada Post was going to be raising the cost of mailing a letter in Jaunary 1982. 2:33

The price of postage stamps was going up, and The National presumed that wasn't going to sit well with the public.

"Next January, we're going to have another reason to hate the post office," anchor Knowlton Nash said off the top of the broadcast on Sept. 25, 1981.

"The 17-cent stamp is going the way of the 10-cent phone call. The new cost of mailing a letter will be 30 cents, a 70 per cent jump."

It was also going to cost more to send letters to the United States (35¢, up from 17¢)  and to other countries (up to 60¢ from 35¢) as well.

And while that meant Canada Post customers would be paying more, the CBC's Bill Casey said they would be getting more from their postal service as well.

"The higher postal rates will bring over half a billion dollars more to help Canada Post President Michael Warren provide better service to his customers," said Casey.

A 'necessary' increase

Postmaster-General André Ouellet defended the coming increase to the price of stamps in Canada. (The National/CBC Archives)

Postmaster-General André Ouellet had said the proposed new rates for postage were unlikely to change, even though they were not yet official when announced to the public.

"I would say that what we have proposed today is pretty close [to] what is necessary — if it's not right on the dot," he said.

Indeed, those same stated prices for stamps held firm and were formally approved by the government that December.

'If it doesn't deliver' ...

The pending stamp price hike meant people would be paying more to mail letters, whether they were sending them to recipients in Canada or outside the country. (The National/CBC Archives)

The price hike was occurring as a larger ongoing process was converting Canada Post to a Crown corporation, rather than being operated as a direct branch of the federal government.

Casey said there was potentially an opportunity for Canada Post, as there seemed to be some public support for increased rates if that led to better overall service.

"If it doesn't deliver, then there's a good chance that a lot of its big commercial customers will be looking around for other ways to get their message across," he reported.

'Money was the reason'

The National updates viewers on the pending increase in the price of stamps. 1:35

And while Ottawa heard from many people who opposed the price hike, their outrage didn't change the outcome.

"The government received 13,000 letters from people complaining about the increase, but the cabinet wasn't persuaded — money was the reason why," the CBC's Jason Moscovitz reported just before Christmas that year.

"With the big increase on January 1, Canada Post will have $500 million coming in every year. It'll go a long way to ease the horrendous deficit of $750 million."