WINNIPEG, April 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The largest francophone community in Western Canada is up in arms after learning that its historic post office may be shut down and postal services relocated.
Rumours have been circulating for months that Canada Post, citing accessibility for the disabled, is planning to close down the post office in a lovely old building located at 208 Provencher Boulevard in St. Boniface, the French quarter of Winnipeg. But Canada Post officials recently refused to deny these rumours, angering St. Boniface residents and supporters.
"Should Canada Post proceed with the closure of a historic post office without a bona fide consultation considering cultural, linguistic and heritage factors in Saint Boniface, this would send a negative message," said Daniel Boucher, President and CEO of the Société franco-manitobaine. "We understand and support the need for disability access, and strongly believe it is possible to address both accessibility and quality services in both official languages within this historic building."
"Canada Post can't terminate public post offices like this. They represent the heart and soul of the community," said Bob Tyre, president of the Winnipeg local of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
The franco-manitoban community in St. Boniface, populated by descendants of some of the earliest French settlers, has existed for more than 200 years and is constantly being enriched by francophone immigrants. When the rumours first began to circulate, one distressed resident compared the closure to severing an artery (La Liberté, March 2010).
"People are entitled to receive services in each official language and corporate outlets are the best way to achieve that," said Denis Lemelin, National President of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. Both Lemelin and Boucher will be featured among the speakers in support of keeping the post office open at a demonstration scheduled for 4 PM April 29, 2010 at 208 Provencher Blvd.
"Canada Post has said many times it is an "iconic brand." As such, it should be preserving the fragile heritage of its historic post offices, not destroying them," said Tyre. "We have to stop them before this goes any further."
St. Boniface residents will be the first to sign the "People's Postal Declaration" which will be circulating in communities across the country in the coming months. The declaration is a joint initiative of the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.
SOURCE Canadian Union of Postal Workers
For further information: For further information: contact Bob Tyre, (204) 792-3892; To obtain the People's Postal Declaration, go to: cupw.ca/PostalDeclaration