Editor's note: post issues

Okey Chigbo, Editor of CPA Magazine, introduces the features in the March 2015 issue.

Deepak Chopra, the Oprah discovery and guru to millions, is highly controversial, perhaps because, among other things, he preaches that death is an illusion and we ultimately do not die. His Canadian namesake, the CEO of Canada Post (no relation), while not as famous, seems equally controversial. The ways he is working to prevent the Crown corporation from dying get far too many people riled up.

Canada’s postal operations were born in 1753, when the first post office was opened in Halifax by US founding father Benjamin Franklin. Many key events mark its growth: in 1771, weekly courier service from Montreal to New York was available year-round; in 1833, the first steamer carried mail across the Atlantic; mail carried by railway became possible after 1836; and airmail service began in 1918. In 2006, Canada Post was delivering 11.6 billion items to 14.8 million addresses; in 2012, the figure had dropped to 9.7 billion items.

Our cover profile this month of the accountant who was appointed head of the corporation in 2011 is probably the most interesting we have done in recent times. Chopra has been battered and buffeted by dispute and strife since he assumed leadership — as if he did not have enough on his plate with the decline of the mail carrier, a recent occurrence he blames on the advent of the iPad, which he believes to be a real competitor to paper. In He’s Got Mail, writer Paul Brent reports that though beset by "bitter labour negotiations, a postal workers’ strike and lockout, a doomsday pension shortfall, ice storms, [and] angry reaction to his decision to end door-to door mail delivery…. Chopra, the accountant, has stuck to his numbers and core message: Canada Post has to evolve." Heroic accountant makes a stand before the mighty waves of historical change that threaten to sweep away a great institution: it sounds like an epic for the big screen that no one should miss, least of all readers of this magazine.

Are we in a postindustrial society in which manufacturing is part of a bygone and best forgotten era, something we no longer need in this age of service providers that can sustain and support an economy? In Manufacturing matters, writer Yan Barcelo reports that some figures have manufacturing’s share of US GDP declining from 24.3% in 1970 to 12.8% in 2010, and for some economic thinkers, this is not a bad thing at all given the "primitive" nature of manufacturing, which can be offshored to China.

For much of the past 40 years, this postindustrial thinking has held sway in many Western countries. But that seems to be changing now. In this feature, Barcelo examines the return of the idea that economies need manufacturing, and cannot do without it.