Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nanuk Goes Postal

I did some further ruminating on the high cost of living up here and how Canada's New Government® actually discourages Canadian Arctic sovereignty by making it nigh on impossible to survive financially in the north without resorting to hunting full time. But I nearly choked on my seal meat when I took a close look at the cost of shipping consumer goods via Canada Post.

Air freight charges to Salluit from Montreal are $10.35 a kilo (or roughly $4.70 a pound) by our sole airline, Air Inuit. We have always had high cargo rates up here due to a number of factors: high fuel costs, days lost flying due to bad weather, infrastructure costs, maintenance, etc. So when I went to the Canada Post website and used their parcel post calculator I shit my pants when it coughed up a price over three times higher for using Her Majesty's postal service.

That's $209.73 while the box sits in Dorval postal sorting station being used as a goal post during employee in-plant hockey games while it waits the 9 days before being thrown on a direct flight to Salluit.

Back in the day, Canada Post's mandate was to provide the public and businesses with an inexpensive and fairly reliable delivery service for letters and parcels, from sea to sea to sea. It also ran up huge operating deficits year after year, which didn't seem to matter all that much since all levels of governments were racking up huge debt.

The Corporation then started to run the risk of becoming marginalized, first due to the rise of courier services who were delivering faster for less, and then through email with its obvious impact on regular mail. But somewhere in the past, a decision was made to compete head on with UPS, Fed Ex and the like in the lucrative corridor running just north of the US border, and basically telling northerners to go fuck themselves.

Last year, Canada Post ran a profit of $119 M, and I feel they have made it off the back of the marginalized.

Salluit is only 1,950 km north of Montreal. But the cost of mailing the same package some 7,205 km, from St. John's NL to Victoria BC, is only a mere $48.37, or $3.22 a pound.

I've also looked at US parcel post charges. Let's take Key West FL to Nome AL as an example. From the extreme south east to the extreme north west of the country is 7,251 km. Yet the same 15 lb parcel costs only $27.87 to fly that distance. And to add insult to injury, mailing that 15 lb box from Key West to Salluit, across an international border, is a meager $34.70 or 16% of the cost of mailing it from within my own country and my own province.

So the next time you hear about Canadian Arctic sovereignty, realize it is all hot air. Harper at best is only interested in protecting Canada's northern resources: he has shown time and again he has no concern for Canada's northern residents.

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Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

It would be cheaper for you to climb on a flight with the package in your lap. I complain about shipping coss sometimes, but after this I am just going to shut up and be happy.

As for governments I don't think I could name one today that gives a damn about its people. Governments are private clubs for the elite and the wealthy.

12:34 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Phos - I hear you loud and clear. I always thought the postal system was something above profit motivation, sort of like libraries, soup kitchens and such. But once again my naivity is showing.

3:14 PM  
Blogger marty said...

I would be nice to your postal workers. They lead a stressful life and always carry weapons.

6:12 PM  

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