Put me on the 'no-mail' list

Lana
Lana Payne
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Why is Garry Breitkreuz, an ultra-right Conservative MP from Saskatchewan, sending me mail?

If you live in the same federal riding as I do, St. John's South-Mount Pearl, then you may have recently received one of those negative political flyers from him - printing and postage courtesy of the taxpayers.

The purpose of this latest mailing was to warn voters against Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, saying he will raise taxes if elected. The flyer also directs citizens to a website full of negative, American-style, political advertising.

Why is Garry Breitkreuz, an ultra-right Conservative MP from Saskatchewan, sending me mail?

If you live in the same federal riding as I do, St. John's South-Mount Pearl, then you may have recently received one of those negative political flyers from him - printing and postage courtesy of the taxpayers.

The purpose of this latest mailing was to warn voters against Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, saying he will raise taxes if elected. The flyer also directs citizens to a website full of negative, American-style, political advertising.

Breitkreuz is the Conservative MP representing Yorkton-Melville, a federal riding in Saskatchewan. He was first elected to represent the riding for the Reform Party in 1993. And from all accounts, the people of Yorkton-Melville think he is doing a good job - having re-elected him by large margins in every election since 1993.

In the last Parliament, he was a big supporter of the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill, viewed by many as a back-door attempt to attack abortion rights. He voted against same-sex marriage. And despite support from police forces across the country, Breitkreuz says the gun registry should be scrapped.

In short, he is anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and anti-gay marriage.

And he's using the government purse to send mail to me and the rest of the households in St. John's South-Mount Pearl. He also wants us to write him back and to answer a skill-testing question: which federal leader "is on the right track to keep taxes low?"

"None of the above" was not an option.

No leader wins

It should have been. As fixated as politicians are on balanced budgets, no Canadian political leader, not even Stephen Harper, is going to be able to keep from raising taxes with a projected $100-billion federal deficit. Perhaps they wouldn't have to be increased as much had the Conservatives not kept cutting them. But, alas, the Tories emptied the cupboard.

Billions of dollars in surpluses evaporated under Harper - even before the recession hit. Despite this, the Conservatives claim to be good fiscal managers, and best qualified to manage the economy.

For those fixated with deficits, there are only a couple of ways to get rid of them: increase revenues through economic growth, reduced spending or raise taxes - or a combination of all three. It is unlikely economic growth will be enough to do the trick in the short term. That leaves at the federal level higher taxes and or cuts to spending, services and transfers to the provinces.

What is perhaps worth noting is all of that tax cutting did not do much for Harper and his popularity. In fact, he has seen his highest polling numbers, not because he sang a Beatles song or because he cut taxes, but because he is spending and spending and spending.

In addition to stimulus spending, he and his MPs are spending a lot of time telling people about that spending.

And to make sure Canadians know about their "economic action plan," the Harper Conservatives have spent millions of dollars - millions of tax dollars - on a massive advertising campaign, including TV commercials and billboards.

These ads, of course, do not change the reality that tens of thousands of Canadian workers are running out of employment insurance benefits, their workplaces closed down and their pensions gone up in smoke.

Ironically, for a prime minister who earlier this year stated that there was no such thing as a good tax, he and his MPs have no problem spending those taxes on infrastructure projects in their ridings and taking credit for the spending, including, in many cases, personally signing the photo-op cheques.

Spending to success

Harper might reflect on why he is doing better in the polls. It's not all because the Liberal leader has had numerous problems. It's also because the government is spending money to keep the economy from total freefall - something it was reluctant to do last fall. With the exception of their extreme partisanship, they are not acting much like Harper Conservatives.

All of this is driving the Liberals nuts - screaming mad at the Conservatives for using stimulus funds to promote the Conservative brand.

The Liberals have filed complaints with the ethics commissioner against 55 Conservative MPs for their opportunistic and partisanship antics, which included signing $594 million in "false cheques." Liberal MP David McGuinty says the MPs are treating the recession stimulus as a "Conservative war chest."

Now back to Breitkreuz. His householder to the people of St. John's South-Mount Pearl is an indication the Conservatives think they have a chance - in some alternative universe - to win back this seat. Perhaps they should have chosen an MP with a little more modern view of the world, rather than a former Reformer with a preference for hot-button, divisive issues.

Perhaps as Breitkreuz suggests, it is time politicians, including his boss, started coming clean with Canadians. But don't hold your breath.

As for now, it's high time the CRTC developed a "no-mail list," with political attack-ad flyers topping the list.

Lana Payne is president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour. She can be reached by e-mail at lanapayne@nl.rogers.com. Her column returns Nov. 7.

Organizations: Conservative MPs, Harper Conservatives, Reform Party CRTC Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour

Geographic location: St. John's South-Mount Pearl, Saskatchewan

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Be nice to not see any of these MP's sending out this. This is our money they are spending, and last I looked I did not authorize any of them to be wasting my money for advertisements. If they were to send pending legislation and laws before they decided to enact them I would be more than happy to receive that so I was granted the opportunity to voice my opinion on the matter rather than finding out what I did yesterday is now a crime today after the fact and given no notice of the change till charged or fined.

    Is that not why we have these people in office, to keep us informed of legislation? We pay them to do the work for us, not to catch the population off guard when they change the rules without notice.

  • John
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    I don't want any mail form any of the politicians especially Taliban Jack Layton.Lana,you and Layton are tared with the same brush.

  • Question
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    Lana is there any particular reason you so conveniently neglected to mention Jack Layton and his propaganda junk mail we all get? I bet you think the garbage he spews out is just as good as the garbage you spew out on a weekly bais.

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 02, 2010 - 13:20

    Well Lana hes probably sending it to you for the same reason that almost on a weekly basis I get a bunch of junk mail from Looser Layton in Ottawa. Is his mail better in your opinion? All I do is print on it return to sender and then his office has to deal with his garbage I dont. Then again I bet you keep all your mail from Jack Looser Layton you do have so much in common with him after all.

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:19

    I'm personally not a fan of either, but at least Layton is a federal party leader and you kinda come to expect junk mail from them. But why the hell is this guy from Sackatchewan wasting taxpayers dollars sending money to NL?

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Be nice to not see any of these MP's sending out this. This is our money they are spending, and last I looked I did not authorize any of them to be wasting my money for advertisements. If they were to send pending legislation and laws before they decided to enact them I would be more than happy to receive that so I was granted the opportunity to voice my opinion on the matter rather than finding out what I did yesterday is now a crime today after the fact and given no notice of the change till charged or fined.

    Is that not why we have these people in office, to keep us informed of legislation? We pay them to do the work for us, not to catch the population off guard when they change the rules without notice.

  • John
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    I don't want any mail form any of the politicians especially Taliban Jack Layton.Lana,you and Layton are tared with the same brush.

  • Question
    July 01, 2010 - 20:05

    Lana is there any particular reason you so conveniently neglected to mention Jack Layton and his propaganda junk mail we all get? I bet you think the garbage he spews out is just as good as the garbage you spew out on a weekly bais.

  • Phoebe Tilley
    July 01, 2010 - 20:03

    Well Lana hes probably sending it to you for the same reason that almost on a weekly basis I get a bunch of junk mail from Looser Layton in Ottawa. Is his mail better in your opinion? All I do is print on it return to sender and then his office has to deal with his garbage I dont. Then again I bet you keep all your mail from Jack Looser Layton you do have so much in common with him after all.

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:02

    I'm personally not a fan of either, but at least Layton is a federal party leader and you kinda come to expect junk mail from them. But why the hell is this guy from Sackatchewan wasting taxpayers dollars sending money to NL?