Environment featured Labour

Toni MacAfee: As the planet heats up, Canada Post is asleep at the wheel

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – On June 17, 2019, the Canadian government declared a climate emergency when a motion was passed through parliament calling climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity.”

This is not new to us. We already know that our country is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and that it is becoming increasingly difficult for our planet to breathe.

Words are not enough. They are meaningless without action. The federal government must walk the talk, starting with its largest Crown Corporation, Canada Post.

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) believes the post office can drive the transition to a green economy, while also tackling social inequalities.

Canada Post has the second largest public fleet of vehicles in the country, with over 13,000 vehicles travelling over 96 million kilometres yearly. According to Canada Post’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility report, this represents 843,700 kilotons of CO2 emissions per year.

The government and the Crown Corporation must shoulder their responsibilities and take action. Canada Post must replace its vehicle fleet with 100 percent renewable energy vehicles. It should hire Canadians to design and build these vehicles, creating green union jobs in the process.

With the largest retail network in the country – 6,300 post offices – Canada Post can do so much more than sell stamps and deliver mail. It could make much more extensive use of its logistics network and infrastructure. For example, it could install electric vehicle charging stations that could be used for its delivery vehicles and made available to the public.

This is just the tip of what the post-fossil fuel economy can look like.

All it takes is the political will. We strongly urge the Government of Canada and the entire political class to take a public stand on the role Canada Post Corporation could and should play in terms of a just transition and social development.

For more information, please visit deliveringcommunitypower.ca/and greennewdealcanada.ca/.

Toni MacAfee is the Education & Organization Officer, CUPW Atlantic Region

See also: News brief: Thursday’s town hall in Halifax will help shape far reaching plan for Green New Deal

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