Monday, June 21, 2004

June 21, 2004: The Now on Grewal's propaganda

Tax money paid for MP's propaganda

Just who is Gurmant Grewal trying to kid? His fellow MPs? His federal election rivals? Or, most likely, his constituents?

The Conservative party MP's latest parliamentary newsletter landed on the doorsteps of residents in Grewal's old Surrey Central riding last week. Normally, this wouldn't cause any grief for Grewal, who likes to keep constituents informed of his work on their behalf. But this time, the newsletter, arriving a little over two weeks ahead of the federal election, warrants criticism.

We can forgive the MP the timing of the taxpayer-funded newsletter - he didn't know when the PM planned to drop the election writ, after all - but to dismiss its persuasive content as nothing out of the ordinary should be challenged.

Unfortunately, the newsletter doesn't breach any parliamentary rules or etiquette, and that says a lot about Ottawa's rules.

The newsletter lists a Web site where constituents can not only volunteer to help have Grewal re-elected (put up lawn signs, fundraise, canvas voters by phone), but donate to his re-election campaign.

The newsletter also urges constituents to vote Conservative, but not in so many words: "The new Conservative party under the leadership of Stephen Harper is offering Canadians a real choice. The choice is yours!"

In big, bold block letters at the top, Grewal's newsletter describes the MP as accessible, experienced, respected, trusted, sincere and a leader. We can think of at least one of these things that he isn't.