I arrive in the Council Chamber for the Canada Post presentation. As I enter I see the large bulky form that is John Blommesteyn who is here to complain about the behaviour of Regional Councillor John Taylor who, quite properly, leaves his seat and joins the public in the audience.
I sit down directly behind Blommesteyn, noting a thick wad of notes in his hand, and strike up a conversation. I ask him if he feels nervous. No. He tells me he has done this before. He is chatty and smiles a lot, ignoring the fact that I often write unflattering things about him.
I ask if he is going to request extra time. Back in December 2013 he led a deputation of three – the others being his young sons – and loudly demanded 20 minutes instead of the usual five. Then he was the raging bull.
Now he is at the microphone complaining about breaches of the Town’s code of conduct and about this and that. Now and again the Mayor tells him he mustn’t stray from the subject and he complies without demur. He is going through the motions. Soon his five minutes is up.
The Mayor asks the councillors if they will give him some more time to finish what he has to say and, to my surprise, they refuse (with the exception of Christina Bisanz and, I think, Kelly Broome-Plumbley who are newcomers to Council). The animosity of the old guard, hidden behind blank faces, is deep and enduring.
I expected a roar or a rant from Blommesteyn, denouncing the Mayor or Taylor or, perhaps, just the system. But there was nothing. He smiles at me, collects his papers and silently exits without waiting for the discussion. Bad manners, I’d say.
Now we are on to a weary discussion about how the code of conduct should be updated and reviewed. There were a few good points made but I can’t immediately recall them. As the debate concludes I hear the Mayor make a plea for the new Code to contain a definition of what constitutes a “frivolous or vexatious” complaint.
No prizes for guessing who was in his mind when he said that.
Canada Post tells us to pick up our own mail
Canada Post delivers two men in suits to Mulock Drive. They are here to tell us to prepare for the end of home delivery of mail by the Fall. Bringing the mail to someone’s home is, apparently, the old-fashioned way. And it costs twice as the alternative “community mailboxes”.
Even though I hear that only one third of us now get mail delivered to our doors, what is happening is clearly a degradation in service and it can’t be wrapped up as anything else.
I learn we are all collectively to blame for this state of affairs. The number of letters in the system shrank by 1.2 billion between 2006-13. I hear this trend from paper to digital is irreversible. There is less mail and Canada Post is delivering to more addresses. We are told this is not sustainable.
Over the coming five-year period, five million addresses will be converting to community mailboxes. We are being pummeled into submission by statistics.
A slide comes up on the big screen showing a fictional map of two adjacent neighbourhoods giving us an idea of what life could be like with community mailboxes.
One neighbourhood has a smattering of red dots. Fewer dots mean bigger community mailboxes. Next door is a neighbourhood with measles. Lots of little red dots mean more - but smaller - community mailboxes.
Personally, I prefer the latter.
But maybe that’s because I have a feeling in my bones that, before the year is out, and despite all my protestations, something with a Canada Post logo is going to be sitting at the bottom of my garden.