The Canadian Independent

The issue of ten percenters continues

Posted in Politics, Role of Government by dave on April 2, 2010

Parliamentarians can no longer send free partisan mail-outs into their opponents’ ridings or use as many free envelopes as they wish.

The moves were approved Monday by the Board of Internal Economy of the House of Commons, which was responding to complaints that MPs are wasting taxpayers’ funds for partisan purposes.

In a long-standing tradition, MPs can use public funds to send mail-outs to 10 per cent of the residences in their riding whenever they want. However, MPs recently started using the tool to send massive amounts of partisan mail into their opponents’ ridings.

Some people are talking about this as though its a major victory. It really is a non-victory, because they can still send massive amounts of partisan mail in their own district as public expense. And it does nothing else to deal with the rest of the problems and pitfalls of public funding to political parties.

Heres a thought. Lets make political parties responsible for mailing flyers with partisan material on them, on their own dime. Whatever they can raise through voluntary means and want to spend on printing and mailing, fine. No different than a store sending out catalogues. However, the subsidy of this kind of activity is really inappropriate when you consider that the money was taken away from Canadian people, against their will, who would otherwise spend it on their home, family, friends or in commerce. And now its used to say that Michael Ignatieff is a great big bore (which he is), or Stephen Harper sucks the blood of young children for sustenance.

I really think this is indicative of a larger problem about the way government views itself in 2010. The government is supposedly just the political arm of society, reflecting our wants and needs through the democratic process and responding to them admirably. The reality is that a small group of politicians play political games with their own set of arbitrary rules at our expense, and not to our benefit.