Postal strike a non-event

In the middle of a family crisis right now where my elderly mother has been in and out and back in hospital for the last few months, there’s been extensive communication amongst her eight children.

In the middle of a family crisis right now where my elderly mother has been in and out and back in hospital for the last few months, there’s been extensive communication amongst her eight children.

The electronic version of mail — email — has become the daily norm to keep everyone in the family posted, so to speak.

Email even beats the phone because you can send notes, updates, photos and even video out to everyone all at once, instantly.

If we had to rely on Canada Post to get the word out and ensuing updates, it would have been better to wait until everyone got together at Christmas.

There was a time when a strike by Canada Post workers set fear in the hearts of everyone. It was a mighty sword that postal workers wielded because it really did disrupt the entire country’s psyche.

We relied on the postal service to bring us bills, cheques, letters, photos, invitations, everything.

The Internet has changed all that. It’s many wonderful uses, including email, have brought a sea of change to the way we communicate with each other.

And like all change in the modern world, if you don’t adapt, you get left behind.

We’ve seen Canada Post workers go on strike over the years.

It’s fair to say that the current rotating postal strike — which hit Red Deer on the weekend — is being received by many as a non-event.

And it’s not because many people have been otherwise occupied with the Stanley Cup playoffs, or even the upcoming visit of Prince William and Kate Middleton to Canada.

It’s because the Internet — and also the fact that millions of Canadians have “smart” cellphones that can instantly connect them with the world — offers a better, faster, more efficient new-age postal system.

To further reduce the power that postal strikes once had, the postal union itself has promised that really important mail, like pension, social assistance and child tax benefits, will be delivered.

Even at that, those people who do receive regular cheques in the mail can go to their financial institution and arrange direct deposit. The strike may be the thing that helps push them into going online.

Due to the rotating strikes, which began on June 2 and involve the 50,000 Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the postal corporation has reduced mail delivery in urban areas to three days a week.

Frankly, I’m happy to stop at the mailbox only three days a week now. Have you seen the mosquitoes out there?

Most of my mail — except for the odd letter from the only person on Earth I know who is not online and wedding invitations that for some reason haven’t yet gone — is not important. It goes directly into the recycling bin.

The union, which has been without a new contract since January, used to suffer public anger when the mail system shut down.

Things have changed.

Now it must also contend with public apathy.

Mary-Ann Barr is the Advocate’s assistant city editor. She can be reached by email at barr@bprda.wpengine.com, or by phone at 403-314-4332.