Canada Post opposes members’ distribution of the newspaper The Epoch Times, known for its pro-Trump content, fake news and conspiratorial tendencies.
The Epoch Times is a medium that was founded in the United States by a group of Chinese Americans in the 2000s. The head behind this newspaper is John Tang, a member of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice movement banned in China.
For some time now, citizens, particularly in Quebec City and Montreal, have reported receiving the publication in their mailboxes without having requested it and without being subscribed to it.
A media representative contacted by The newspaper indicated that this was a way of promoting in order to attract new subscribers. This distribution occurs a few times during the year.
“This is a free sample. If these people read the paper and like it, they can subscribe and we have different plans, ”said a customer service manager at The Epoch Times, before offering a subscription to the representative of Newspaper.
In a period of a pandemic, as various government authorities fight against disinformation and conspiracy theories, workers at Canada Post – a company run by the federal government – say they are uncomfortable with the distribution of this newspaper.
“The Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) is aware of the concerns regarding the distribution of the publication Epoch Times in some parts of the country. We brought this to the attention of Canada Post management, who asked their legal department to look into the matter. He determined that the publication does not encourage harm against any particular group and is therefore protected by the Charter’s provisions on free commercial expression. CUPW nevertheless considers the content of the publication inflammatory and opposes its members being placed in a position where they are required to distribute such a publication. We will continue to monitor the situation, ”said Jan Simpson, President of the Union of Postal Workers.
The silent federal government
For its part, Canada Post has indicated that it is required to deliver any shipment that the sender has paid for and properly prepared, unless it is considered an inadmissible item.
“The courts have said that Canada Post’s role is not to censor mail or set guidelines for free speech in the country. This is a notable difference between Canada Post and private sector delivery companies, ”said a media relations representative for the organization.
Canada Post is managed by the Department of Public Services and Procurement Canada. Although The newspaper asked him about the situation on numerous occasions since the beginning of December, it has still not been possible to obtain an answer.
Citizens across Quebec have expressed several questions following the unsolicited reception of the media.
“I threw it away for recycling right away,” says André Langlois, resident of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures. In his opinion, it does not make sense that this kind of publication is distributed by Canada Post.
A little further away, in Bromont, a citizen finds Canada Post’s decision to distribute the flyer very questionable.
“I went to see what it was and I found that it made no sense for it to be distributed by an institution under federal jurisdiction,” said Virginie Galarneau.
Dominique Bernier, a citizen of Montreal, also received a copy of the media he did not know. “They pay for their distribution, it’s hard to stop Canada Post from distributing it,” he says. It’s a little doubtful, they could have done business with another courier company. “