View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – Taking a Flyer at the NDP Mailings

Dr. EvilCFN – Peace and quiet reigns on the Hill now that our MPs and Senators have departed. I doubt that too many Canadians will miss any of them. They certainly won’t miss the ugly debates and nasty partisan attacks that dominate our air waves when they are in town.

The sad thing is that sometimes they do good work but you wouldn’t know it from the daily news. MPs from all parties are so scripted now that you can almost predict what they will say on any issue. Mind you there is the odd bozo eruption that provides some real news coverage. But in this age of 24/7 news central control of “the message” becomes an all-consuming passion for the PMO or party leader’s offices.

The latest dust up over NDP MPs using flyers inappropriately is but one more example of partisanship getting in the way of positive recommendations. I am sure it was great fun for both the Conservatives and the Liberals to catch the holier than thou NDP doing something wrong. Unfortunately it became all about the attacks on the NDP and their pushback rather than taking a serious look at a program that has become out dated by modern technology.

Assuming the figure is accurate and the cost of the NDP mailings was $1.7 million, what is the total cost to the taxpayer for all of the 10 percenter mailings and householder mailings etc. per year for all of the parties including the Green and Bloc?

If the Conservatives are hell bent on reducing costs and attacking government programs or departmental staffing levels to save taxpayer dollars, why not gut these mailings too?

In this day of 24 hour TV news, talk radio, Twitter, Facebook plus others, do we need to receive a flyer or householder mail out from our MP? It’s an archaic way of bringing information to the public and it has deteriorated to the point where these items go into the blue box of most Canadians.

If an MP feels their riding is different from most others in Canada and these mail outs are essential then charge them the postage and take it out of their general office budget. Watch how fast the MPs switch to other media sources to get information to their constituents if they were forced to pay the going postage rate.

Small business owners who use flyers to advertise to consumers know that you can negotiate a special mailing rate with Canada Post. Their flyers certainly aren’t free; there is a cost involved which forces the business to evaluate the importance of each and every flyer they send out. If charged to each MPs office budget their constituents also have an opportunity to evaluate whether their MP is sending out valuable information or just partisan trash.

Do us all a favour, end the mail outs and save us some tax dollars and cut down on the waste paper we send to landfill sites.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for Cenco Public Affairs  in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails. 

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