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Support the philatelic community's inclusion in plan for a better postal service

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We, the members of the philatelic community, which includes stamp users, collectors, dealers and mail art practitioners, wish to be included in upcoming versions of the plan the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) released on Feb 29, 2016, “A Better Public Postal Service for Everyone!” Custodians of our postal history and national identity, we pursue our hobby or professional activities and purchase stamps and postal products annually, relying on the expertise and quality service provided by postal workers.

Over the years, the availability of traditional “lickable” stamps at postal outlets has decreased in favour of self-adhesive stamps that are less environmentally-friendly and have an adverse impact on the recycling process; stamps, both domestic and foreign, are defaced either by pen or by machines; and the practice and knowledge of hand cancellation have been abandoned. Many postal outlet employees have little or no philatelic knowledge and lack the proper resources to assist us in preserving our postal history.

We agree with CUPW that Canada Post belongs to all of us.  Members of the philatelic community are stakeholders with a particularly significant socio-economic impact.

  • Economically, they provide a revenue stream that contributes to Canada Post’s financial sustainability. Manitoba-based stamp collector and dealer Roger Fontaine points out that “Canadian stamp collectors and collectors worldwide purchase mint stamps, place them into a collection and the actual value of delivery is never used. This has brought the Canada Post Corporation hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for which they have never had to complete the delivery promise of the purchase.
  • Postcrossing, an international postcard club, currently has 8,625 Canadian members, and since its inception, they have sent collectively 558,597 postcards worldwide. This represents an estimated $1.4 million in postage purchased.
  • Saskatoon-based mail artist and designer Mahshed Hooshmand reminds us that “Many groups and events such as Write ON, Letter Writers Alliance and Snail Mail My Email are dedicated to the revival of ‘snail mail’ as a form of communication and art. Entrepreneurs, designers and artists in Canada have built their business around Canada's postal service and rely on the knowledge of frontline post office staff and the availability of historical and beautiful stamps. International events that celebrate letter writing and the postal service are observed and practised by many Canadians who dedicate time and money to mailing letters every day, in the hope of preserving Canada’s postal heritage. During such events in 2016, it is estimated that Canadian participants will send 30,000 pieces of mail art in all shapes and sizes.” 
  • Collectively, the philatelic community plays an important role in preserving our heritage, and according to Fredericton-based cultural historian Michael Maloney, “Postal stamp images have been effectively used since the late nineteenth century to reflect Canada’s national identity, to remind Canadians where we as a people have come from and what our nation stands for in the eyes of the world. It would be a tremendous loss if we lost sight of the value of proper care and handling of stamps, which are daily reminders to our citizens of our nation’s heritage and values.”

We believe that postal workers can be instrumental in preserving and continuing this long tradition, should they be provided in future with adequate tools, training and knowledge.

We call on CUPW to recognize that the voice of the philatelic community deserves to be included in the dialogue about a better postal service, and to enhance the preservation of postal practices and history by its workers.

Sincerely,
Members of the Philatelic Community

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