Editorial: Freeze on mail delivery switchover comes a little late for Langley

For residents of the Langleys, the announcement that Canada Post is calling a halt to its plan to eliminate door-to-door delivery and make people switch to community mailboxes has come a little late.

The attempt to do away with regular home delivery and reduce the number of letter carriers has sent mail theft in the area through the roof, thanks to the many mailboxes in isolated rural areas that make easy targets.

Last year, Langley was mail theft capital of Canada, according to Canada Post.

This year, it got worse.

The RCMP reported mail theft was up 90 per cent from the previous year, but said the number of incidents has begun to subside as Canada Post replaces community mail boxes with new, sturdier models that are harder to steal from.

To call the community mail box experiment a failure would be an understatement.

This year, one 36-year-old Langley City woman was arrested with between 8,000 and 10,000 pieces of stolen mail.

And she was hardly the only one out there stealing mail, identity cards, credit cards and other booty from the vulnerable unattended mailboxes.

The only thing the community boxes seem to have accomplished is to boost business for mail box rental companies.

So now, the Crown corporation says it is “temporarily suspending” the change.

We suspect the decision to call a halt has little do with recognizing how badly the community mail boxes have failed and everything to do with a desire by some senior postal managers to curry favour with the incoming Trudeau government.

Some 460,000 addresses were in the process of being converted to community mail boxes when the post office called a halt.

In applying the brakes, Canada Post also said “we remain focused on maintaining reliable postal service to all Canadians without disruption,” a near-comic comment considering how disruptive the widespread thefts have been.

As one wag observed, while the U.S. Mail slogan is “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” the Canadian slogan has become “Come and get your mail.”