Monthly Archives: October 2009

The problems of partisan politics – John Tory

I came across an interesting interview with John Tory where he talks about the effect of partisan politics on our democracy. Check it out.

Speaking of pure partisanship – the Toronto Star reported that Conservative MPs are using taxpayers money to send political propaganda to residents of other ridings – grammatical errors and all!

Is partisan politics good? Have at look at the following:

Partisan Politics: What’s not to like?


See the following article and the comments.

MP mailings flood Canadian homes

Some are nasty, and the grammar ain’t, like, so hot

October 16, 2009

Bruce Campion-Smith

OTTAWA–For Myrna Levy, it was bad enough the political propaganda that arrived at her Toronto home was sent by a Conservative MP in Alberta.

But what really got her steamed were the grammatical errors that dotted the copy taking aim at Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

The pointed pamphlet from Conservative MP Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre) picks up on the theme of the Tory party’s television ads that Ignatieff is “just visiting.”

Canadians are being flooded with a new wave of political mailings. One estimate pegs it at 13 million in the last few weeks alone.

According to one Parliament Hill source, the Commons printing services office had a record backlog of more than 3,000 orders from all parties several weeks ago. With an average of 4,300 pieces per order, that represents almost 13 million pieces of political mail ready to swamp mailboxes across Canada.

The volume – and the tone – has prompted a renewed call to curb the practice, which costs taxpayers more than $9 million a year.

“It’s costing millions of dollars and I think it’s ticking a lot of people off – and rightfully so,” said Liberal MP Mark Holland.

Levy called the mailing a “misuse” of taxpayer money, adding it is “blatant electioneering.”

But what caught the attention of Levy and her husband, Ed, were the grammatical errors in the copy.

For example, the pamphlet reads, “Why would anyone feel the need to call themselves a samurai warrior,” mixing singular and plural.

The couple circled the tangled text in pen – and sent it back to Hawn.

Hawn did not respond to a request for comment.

Holland (Ajax-Pickering) complained to Commons Speaker Peter Milliken last year about the issue, to no avail. He plans to raise it again.

Parliamentary policies allow MPs to mail out materials to constituents four times a year. However, MPs are also allowed to send mailings into other ridings, as long as the number of recipients doesn’t exceed 10 per cent of the households in the MP’s own riding.

Liberals have landed in hot water, too. Vancouver MP Hedy Fry upset some last month with her mailing – to homes in New Brunswick – suggesting that Canadians were no longer proud to display the Canadian flag when travelling overseas.

Yaroslav Baran, chief of staff to Government House Leader Jay Hill, defended the practice – and noted all parties do it.

“Much of this communication is ultimately considered to be partisan – take, for example, the Hedy Fry piece trashing the Canadian flag,” Baran said.

“Parliament is partisan … that’s the way the system runs and there’s no apologies for that,” Baran said.