Wednesday, March 17, 2010

0% Sense in 10% Fliers

Time for "ten percenter" mailings to end

One of the news stories that has generated a quiet buzz in Canadian politics was a recent vote to ban the controversial "ten percent" fliers MPs are elligible to send out.

In recent years this practice has been abused by MPs mailing fliers into ridings held by other parties. The Conservative Party is not the only party to abuse this practice, but they've been the most prolific.

MPs are allowed to send fliers to a number of households equal to 10% of the number of votes they received in that riding during the last election.

The purpose of those fliers is supposed to be to provide information to the constituents of those ridings, but far too often the mailings have been used for crass partisan politics.

The time has long come for the 10% fliers to be stopped. MPs have no business mailing fliers into another MPs riding for any reason. Whichever party is doing the mailing, or whichever party holds the riding makes no difference whatsoever in this regard.

If a party wants to send fliers to residents of a riding they don't hold, there are simple ways for them to do this: nominate a candidate, and start campaigning. The fliers can be sent by that candidate, at the candidate's or party's expense -- not by a rival MP at public expense.

The Conservative Party caucus has, sadly, expressed its attention to ignore the vote to ban the mailings as a "non-binding motion".

Fortunately, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office has since issued a statement insisting that the Conservative Party supports ending the practice, contingent on the agreement of Board of Internal Economy.

Given the way the Conservative Party has used these 10% mailings -- the mailings targetting Liberal MP and long time anti-semitism battler Irwin Cotler (who, among his efforts, can be credited with bringing the number of Nazi war criminals hiding in Canada to public attention) were particularly unfounded and disturbing -- one will believe that the Tories have stopped using these mailings when one sees it.

But it's simply beyond question that it's time for the practice to end -- and it must end now.


  1. I think it is a tactical mistake for the opposition to push this for many reasons.

    The CPC can afford to send flyers into other ridings without the tax savings.

    The largest number of ridings is held by the CPC. Flyers can continue in ridings they hold.

    The smaller parties will have a more difficult time to win back or gain new seats without an increased financial cost.

    That being said over 90% probably don't even read them.

  2. I can't help but disagree with you.

    We've seen that some Liberals (Dr Hedy Fry, I'm looking in your direction) can embarrass themselves with idiotic 10%ers just as well as any Conservative.

    But no MP has any business sending mail into someone else's riding. The opposition has taken the right position.

    Sadly, it seems that the NDP is having a little problem with their followthrough.


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