Monday, April 21, 2008

The beauty of being (able to) frank

As we learn more about the "in and out" scandal and what exactly was in the 600-page search warrant served against the Conservative Party last week, another issue has cropped up -- the abuse of "franking" privileges by members of all the major parties. (Source: CP)

Canada is the only developed country I'm aware of where such free mailing privileges are double-ended, that is constituents can send free mail to federal officials as well. But it's getting ridiculous, according to Canada Post. They're asking for an increase of the $22 million + subsidy they receive to process mail to and from Parliament. Garth Turner claims that the Cons have mailed 30 to 50 million pieces of propaganda just this quarter. I personally think that's overinflated; but I have noticed my MP, NDPer Chris Charlton as well as party leader Jack Layton mails something out to every home in this district about once every three or four weeks; and my extended family who lives in other districts around town have noticed the same thing too from their MPs.

Even the Liberals admit they've bent the rules quite a few times too. Who wouldn't, when someone else is paying?

This is another way to get around spending restrictions, and I think it's wrong. If you want to mail party propaganda, do it with party money and not the taxpayers'. Most donations get a 75% tax abatement to begin with so there should be plenty there. If there is legitimate correspondence (without party spin) though, then it should be free. Besides, haven't these guys heard of e-mail which most people have these days? Save on paper and postage at the same time, folks.

Sidebar: About In and Out, why did the Cons allow some media groups like CTV and The Star into a briefing yesterday, but excluded others like the CBC? Makes it look like there's something to hide.

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