Postal workers go on the road to protest Conservatives' Canada Post policies

Postal workers hoping to capitalize on anger over the end of door-to-door delivery in parts of Canada are bringing their message to the election campaign — not by direct mailings, but by going on the road to follow Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

Protesters greet Stephen Harper in Edmonton

Protesters gather around an RV being driven across Canada by Canadian Union of Postal Workers representatives to protest the Conservatives' policies on Canada Post. The protesters were in Edmonton, where Conservative Leader Stephen Harper was attending a rally Wednesday. (Hannah Thibedeau/CBC)

Cuts to Canada Post have been a hot-button issue in parts of the country, especially where residents are losing door-to-door service under changes announced last year.

Postal workers are hoping to capitalize on that anger during the election — and not by direct mailings, but by taking to the road to follow Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

"We started out in St. John's, Nfld. a month ago and we've been making our way across the country, trying to make sure that every single voter knows exactly who's to blame for these cuts at Canada Post, and that's Stephen Harper and the Conservative government," Mike Palecek, national president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, told CBC News.

The union's frustration with the Conservatives goes back four years, to 2011, when then transport minister Lisa Raitt ordered striking postal employees back to work. Most recently, Canada Post cancelled home mail delivery, a move defended by the government but met with anger in some communities.

Canada Post's move to community mailboxes is expected to save the corporation about $500 million per year to cope with what it says is a declining volume of mail in the digital age.

Dozens of protestors met Harper as he arrived for a rally with supporters in Edmonton.

"We brought our big 'Save Canada Post' bus to make sure they could all see it and we're going to follow him everywhere he goes," Palecek said.

Palecek insists he isn't telling voters who to elect, just not to vote for the Conservatives.

The NDP say if they're elected they would re-introduce door-to-door delivery to everybody who has lost it and the Liberals would bring in a moratorium on the cuts and then have a study about how to move forward.

Conservative campaign spokesperson Kory Teneycke was chatting with some of the protesters. He says they were receptive and polite.

"This is the representation of union leadership, not the workers," Teneycke told CBC News.

with a file from The Canadian Press


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