Michael Warren’s Call for Privatization

Michael Warren, a former CEO of Canada Post from 1981-1985, has been a protagonist of Canada Post’s modernization program since its inception.

The release of Canada Post’s 2011 Annual Report gives him more fuel for his fire.

In his Wednesday, May 9th, Toronto Star article titled, “Canada Post a growing burden” Mr. Warren builds a credible premise on the escalating financial problems that Canada Post has, though a number of his figures are not correct or substantiated. For example he stated that Canada Post lost $253 million last year. This is not correct. The Canada Post segment (which excludes Purolator profits) lost $327 million.

Then he went on to describe that Canada Post lost $220 million from the strike which is not substantiated. Canada Post has not yet officially disclosed any figures. Warren’s numbers are likely a simple math calculation made from Canada Post’s yearly revenue, broken down into revenue generated every week, which runs around $111 million. The lockout/strike was two weeks. He simply did $111 million x 2 and rounded off or something similar. This does not take into account permanently lost business due to the strike.

He cites company mismanagement has cost the company, using the Supreme Court award 0f “$150 million in a pay-equity dispute that management should have settled years ago,” as a  prime example. This dispute began in 1983 while he was still president of Canada Post. His article does not address this aspect at all or defend why he didn’t do anything.(1)

Mr. Warren’s solution is that Canada Post should be privatized.

However, he recognizes the current financial problems at Canada Post is the largest barrier: “Stephen Harper may be avoiding privatization because it means contributing billions to CPC’s underfunded pension fund to make any sale attractive. Doing nothing is also a way of keeping Canada Post’s growing liabilities at arm’s length. “

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(1) Thank you Postie Paul for this insightful comment at the bottom of this Toronto Star article.

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