Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 6, 2006
WCR faces higher postal costs due to funding cut
By GLEN ARGAN
The Western Catholic Reporter faces an increase in postage costs of roughly $80,000 a year if Canada Post goes ahead with a plan to pull its funding from the federal government's Publications Assistance Program on April 1.
Canada Post currently puts $15 million into the $60 million program. PAP funding to the WCR and numerous other magazines and small newspapers across Canada was also reduced Nov. 1 last year.
That cut cost the WCR about $30,000 a year. However, due to increased advertising and increased donations from readers, the WCR remains in a break-even position.
In its 2004-05 fiscal year, before the cuts began, the WCR paid just over $204,000 to mail the newspaper to its readers. The PAP paid a subsidy for the WCR to Canada Post of almost $359,000 that year.
The WCR's mailing budget for the current fiscal year has climbed to $257,000 due to the decreased subsidy and higher postal rates. If Canada Post eliminates its contribution to PAP, the WCR postal budget will have to find another $80,000.
Over the last decade or more mailing costs have risen sharply while the WCR, through its mailing house, sorts the newspapers for each letter carrier before they are delivered to the post office.
Hundreds of other publications across Canada are also threatened by the reduction. Magazines Canada, an industry lobby group, says the proposed change will have a dramatic effect on magazine distribution and on the access that Canadians have to Canadian content magazines. It predicts that some publications will not survive.
While larger commercial publications may increase their subscription rates, most subscriptions to the WCR are paid for by parishes in the Edmonton Archdiocese through a parish assessment plan.
Under that plan, parishes are assessed five per cent of their Sunday collections to pay for the operation of the WCR.
A Canada Post spokesman, quoted in an article published in the Oct. 18 Edmonton Journal, said the post office does not believe it should subsidize the products it delivers.
He said major magazines such as Maclean's get "the lion's share" of PAP funding and Canada Post should not be subsidizing those publications.
The WCR has written to federal Heritage Minister Bev Oda and Lawrence Cannon, the minister responsible for Canada Post, asking that either the post office's subsidy remain in place or that Heritage Canada provide increased funding of the PAP.
We encourage readers who support our position to write to the ministers responsible and to their members of Parliament c/o House of Commons, Ottawa K1A 0A6. Letters to MPs may be sent postage free.
Letter to the Editor - 11/20/06