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Monday, January 13, 2014   by: Staff received a copy of a letter sent to City Council from Mark Barsanti, president of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, in response to recent announcements by Canada Post.

Dear Mayor Amaroso and Members of Council:

On January 6, I was sworn in as President of the Chamber of Commerce for the 2014-2015 term. 

In my remarks, I suggested to the community that we need to set a strategic direction that is consistent with the values and vision that formed the foundation for the Sault to become the industrial power house that it was in the 20th century. 

It was the vision and entrepreneurialism of Francis Clergue that set the stage for Sault Ste Marie to become a major industrial force in the development of Canada. 

Clergue came to this area in the late 1800’s to capitalize on a failed power plant project. 

From that decision, Clergue built an industrial empire, parts of which still survive today and over the last 125 years created billions of dollars of wealth in the form of wages, pensions, capital investment and tax revenue.

I challenged the community to strike a strategic direction to become the best place in Canada to do business. 

This is a forward looking goal that would require some hard choices in order to be achieved.

On Monday night, council is being asked to consider a motion that will call on the Federal Government to stop the planned changes at Canada Post which include the move to community mail boxes and the increases to postage rates.  

The councillors putting this motion forward no doubt have their hearts in the right place.

They are good people with genuine concerns for their constituents. 

Seniors and those with mobility issues will be negatively impacted by this decision.

Jobs could be lost. 

They were quoted in the press as stating their belief that the decision made by Canada Post was not well thought out.

To become the best city in Canada to do business, we need to set a tone that is supportive of business decisions and we need to develop a reputation for being a community that knows how to capitalize on change. 

Canada Post undertook extensive consultation on this issue. 

It completed months of dialogue with Canadians. 

It employs 100’s of experts in the area of freight cost management. 

It consulted with major postal services such the US Postal Service and the Royal Mail - both of which are facing similar crises.

It will be using attrition wherever possible to reduce the impact of job losses and it is growing another, more profitable part of its business. 

They are working on programs to assist the elderly and the disabled.                                                                                                           
More than 2/3 of Canadians no longer have home delivery.

Canada Post’s business is changing.

They are becoming a package freight carrier more so than a message carrier.

Other media have taken over the realm of message traffic. 

Canada Post needs to build and invest in the package freight business because that is what their customers are demanding.

As a country, we decided in 1981 that the postal service should not be a government department or part of the social programming. 

We decided it needed to be its own business entity. 

The business climate has changed. 

When that happens a business has to react. The change resulting from that reaction may be difficult but it’s necessary.

In the interests of full disclosure, my business includes a Canada Post Outlet. 

We anticipate that the increase in postal rates will negatively impact our sale of those products but we do believe that we can find ways to reduce those impacts.

Is it possible that this issue can become the impetus for major benefits for our city?

Just as a bankrupt power plant brought Clergue to the Sault and ignited the economy of the city, could this change in the Canada Post service model bring about benefits for our community?

To begin to be a city that is seen as the best place in Canada to do business, I would encourage an amendment to the motion that will be before council that includes the following:

  1. The  City of Sault Ste. Marie is aware of and concerned with the challenges facing Canada Post;

  2. The City of Sault Ste. Marie encourages Canada Post to create pilot programs in the city of Sault Ste. Marie to test various methods designed to reduce the impact of the loss of home delivery on the elderly and disabled; and the City of Sault Ste. Marie will work with Canada Post in that regard for the benefit of the whole country;

  3. The City of Sault Ste. Marie supports Canada Post in its efforts to grow its package freight business;

  4. That the City of Sault Ste. Marie encourages, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce to engage Canada Post in a dialogue to explore how Sault Ste. Marie can help Canada Post succeed in growing  the package freight business by:

  • Leveraging our position in the approximate geographic centre of the country;
  • Leveraging our access to the United States
  • Leveraging the relatively low traffic volumes on the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge
  • Leveraging our relatively low traffic volumes at the Sault Ste. Marie International Airport;
  • Leveraging the Canada Border Service (Customs) infrastructure in Sault Ste. Marie;
  • Leveraging the fact that Sault Ste. Marie is home to Eazy Express  which is one of the largest Canada Post package delivery businesses in the country with more than 300 employees; and
  • Accessing a ready, willing and under-utilized pool of talented workers.

We need to ask ourselves whether or not we want to spend our time fighting for the status quo in a world that is changing at an ever increasing rate. 

Or do we want to create the conditions that will allow entrepreneurs to benefit from the opportunities that exist in changes, challenges and crises so that we can provide opportunity and prosperity for our residents.


Mark Barsanti, President
Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce

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willoweep 1/13/2014 3:52:59 PM Report

Just a quick note the numbers have all been fudged to suit the sought after results.

Example" 2/3 of Canadians no longer receive home delivery"

That number is misleading as they did not count People in Apt buildings , retirement homes etc .So while it may be true it is very misleading .

Don't you suppose a huge corporation ,such as Canada Post would have thought to have a plan in place for disabled & Seniors before their big announcement?

It was an afterthought when the people started to let their thoughts and concerns known .

I also know some Letter carriers found out about this "New Plan" from People they deliver to .

Some Carriers were totally unaware till they got the little memo at the end of the day telling them to go to the website to learn about it.

So much for concern or even respect for their employees or the People of Canada.

It's all about the money ,I'm not surprised really ,just a little more disillusioned .

Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 4:02:37 PM Report

Mr. Barsanti---By your own admission---You have a Conflict of Interest in this Postal matter.

It is obvious to me that you want your business to be one of the Contractors for Canada Post in my opinion.

Did you pass this by all your Members of the Chamber of Commerce before planning to bring it to City Council ?

Are you speaking to this issue because your Chamber of Commerce Members authorized you to do so or are you only representing yourself.

If this is a personal issue then, as President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, you should resign your position as President.

By your own admission too, many elderly, disabled and isolated Seniors will suffer from Canada Posts decision.

Thousands of jobs will also be lost.

What is the Chamber of Commerce plan to help those adversely affected or does the Chamber even offer a Plan ?

As a Senior who has lived in this City for 80 years I take offense to your comments if there is no plan to alleviate the problems this will create.
vixen 1/13/2014 4:08:45 PM Report

Well done Mr Barsanti and Chamber of commerce, we certainly need to look at emerging opportunities and not simply complain about change.

Congratulations on putting forth this approach and I encourage our Council to support new business for Sault Ste Marie as outlined in this presentation
Just Curious 1/13/2014 4:15:01 PM Report

To willoweep and Oldie, Go ahead and want time to stand still and things to be what you have been used to for over half a century.. The world is changing and moving on whether you like it or not so get on the bandwagon and go for a ride. Nothing in life remains the same..
As for Mr Barsanti, I have never met you and probably never will but with your attitude, if you ever decide to run for mayor in my lifetime, you have my vote......Great ideas....
RStephens 1/13/2014 4:21:01 PM Report

Spot on, Mr. Barsanti.

As a late-20s professional in this city, it is refreshing to hear your vision on an issue such as this one.

I find it completely disenchanting that city officials continually fight for the status quo, even if there are clearly better alternatives set out right before their eyes.

One thing that this city completely and obviously lacks is forward-thinking vision. Thank you for tabling your modest proposal on this issue, and I look forward to more of the same in your newly-sworn role.

Let's not let this city die like it almost did 125 years ago. Let's climb aboard the cutting edge of change.
sportsman 1/13/2014 4:29:05 PM Report

We have to change with the times,if we are paying taxes to support Canada post mr .barsanti is right. Im a senior Iagree.
thera 1/13/2014 5:39:04 PM Report

@ sportsman:

That is a myth, in reality Canada Post gives money every year to the government. And guess what, all politicians in Canada don't have to pay for postage.
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 5:40:13 PM Report

Just Curious---I never once said that I wanted time to stand still--and I don't but, in my opinion, Mr. Barsanti has a conflict of interest because his Business, by his own admission, has a Postal Outlet and, naturally he wants to expand that business by becoming a Contractor for Canada Post when the Postmen are gone.

He wrote as President of the Chamber of Commerce but has he consulted with all his Chamber Members and did the Members give him permission to make his statements ?

He has not provided any evidence that the Chamber Members gave him permission to say what he is saying.

I have suggested many times in my postings---if you have read them---that Canada Post needs to change but not with the radical changes they are proposing.

Mr. Barsanti said that many Seniors will be adversely affected by these changes but he makes no statements of any kind that the people affected will receive help in their dilemmas although he says that help is on the way.

I need to ask what help will be offered.

Perhaps Mr. Barsanti will expand his business to deliver the Mail to those who need help---for a fee, of course, in my opinion.

3 day delivery to all customers including those who use Community Boxes now would be a good place to start saving money for Canada Post. It would not be difficult to schedule 3 day delivery and some Postal Workers jobs could be saved and some would be lost but not 8000 of them.

In my opinion very little thought was given by Canada Post to saving money except wipe out all Postal Workers and their Union---and, of course, people like you--just curious--would love to jump on the Bandwagon to eliminate the Postal Workers and their Union.
ssmchic 1/13/2014 5:44:30 PM Report

Mr. Barsanti, you are the thought leader this City needs as Mayor. We absolutely need to market Sault Ste. Marie's greatest attributes (mainly location at this time), and allow it to become an industrial incubator. As a late-20s individual, I too am eager to assist in the return of the type of passion and motivation for growth that once lived in this City. We have the space, we have the people, we just don't have the thought leaders like yourself in decision-making positions. Given their track record on supporting new and innovative ideas, our City Council will unfortunately take the road most travelled and say 'no' to change. I hope they read your words and decide to step out of their comfort zones in order to put Sault Ste. Marie back on the business map.
BrianTheDog 1/13/2014 9:45:04 PM Report

Right on Mr. Barsanti.

Tired of all the cry babies and liberal left wingers.

Oh the seniors or the handicaps can't get their mail. booh whoo! Get over it. Check them in to a home.

If Mr. Barsanti gains money from this letter and his lobby so what!
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 10:28:47 PM Report

Brian the Dog---You, Sir, are an arrogant and ignorant and selfish person.
You don't care about anyone but yourself.

Typical attitude of many people to-day--just put Seniors on an Ice float in the Artic and let them float away so that they can't bother anyone else ever again.

Perhaps someone should put you away in a home and leave you there all by yourself.
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 10:29:40 PM Report

Brian the Dog---You, Sir, are an arrogant and ignorant and selfish person.
You don't care about anyone but yourself.

Typical attitude of many people to-day--just put Seniors on an Ice float in the Artic and let them float away so that they can't bother anyone else ever again.

Perhaps someone should put you away in a home and leave you there all by yourself.
Oldie Goldie 1/13/2014 10:34:31 PM Report

I Quote Mr. Barsanti

" Canada Post hired hundreds of experts to help them reach a decision "

And you wonder why they are losing money.

How much were the experts paid and when and where were the consultations with Canadians held ?
theprotector 1/14/2014 7:28:12 AM Report

just heard this morning the canada post is now reconsidering canceling home delivery!
Now lets save the rest of the federal jobs leaving the soo!
frnlak 1/14/2014 2:49:50 PM Report

When they put the big green mailboxes on the corner they better put a bigger yellow box beside it for the fliers and junk mail because I for one will not be bringing it home.
willoweep 1/14/2014 3:53:21 PM Report

I've been told that they will not place these boxes on corners because of traffic concerns .they will place them on side streets etc.

Go drive by some of the mail boxes that already exist in some areas (subdivisions) etc.

Garbage, cigarette butts, Dog droppings,and a perfect setup for some Punk to relieve you of your Wallet.

Laugh if you want ,but check it out first ,I am not being over dramatic .

Why don't some of you forward thinking People volunteer to have one of these drop boxes in front of your house?
Oldie Goldie 1/14/2014 8:40:13 PM Report

Willoweep---Some very good points--Let's see some of these Community Boxes placed in front of some of these posters homes if they are so sure they are a good thing.
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