Ministerial Question Period: Canada Post—Seizure of Items

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: Welcome to the Senate, minister.

In your mandate letter, you were invited to support the Minister of Public Services in ensuring that Canada Post better reach Canadians in rural and remote areas. As you may know, it is reported that, for fentanyl sellers, Canada Post is the shipping method of choice, and often the only one available to ship these illegal products into rural and remote communities.

Minister, are you ready to consider proposals such as Bill S-256 to remove from the Canada Post Corporation Act restrictions that impede the police from seizing illegal drugs and other illegal items shipped through mailed envelopes?

Hon. Gudie Hutchings, P.C., M.P., Minister of Rural Economic Development: Thank you, senator. That is an incredible question because it alludes to what I mentioned earlier about the terrible drug problem that we have in rural Canada. As you know, Canada Post is a Crown corporation, but I will be following that bill’s progress to the detail. I know that is exactly how some of the drugs are getting into these rural communities.

The other thing that I am delighted to see is that Canada Post is now looking at a different way to do business. They’ve started Canada Post hubs. They are piloting these new projects. There are four — one in Membertou, Nova Scotia, one in Alberta, one in Saskatchewan and one in Ontario — where they are looking at being more service-centred. There could be electric vehicle charging stations, money services, maybe rentable meeting rooms, having access to local businesses and community information and secure access to postal and parcel boxes. I think that as we see these hubs grow, you will see more people in these areas, and hopefully, we can get that under control.

As you know, it would be a policing issue. Again, I’m sure that we’re going to have a talk about policing in rural areas as well because that is totally different. But I will be watching the progress of that bill, and I’ll be watching you watch it with me, sir.

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