Conservative voter pays NDP $50 to 'Send Harper a Message'

When a Manitoba man heard about an NDP campaign to pay $50 to 'Send Harper a Message', the Conservative voter took them up on it.

Manitoba man pays NDP candidate for a 'Send Harper a Message' sign that reads "Go Harper go!"

Send Harper a Message signs in the Calgary Heritage riding. (CBC News)

When a Manitoba man heard about an NDP campaign to pay $50 to 'Send Harper a Message', the Conservative voter took them up on it. 

"I thought it was a fantastic idea," James Montgomery of Brandon, Man. told CBC News.

"I'm an avid political observer ... I just thought this idea by the Calgary NDP candidate was fantastic, unique — really kind of a fun idea, " 

The initiative, called Send Harper a Message, was launched on Sept. 13.

For a $50 donation to the NDP's Matt Masters Burgener, who is running against Stephen Harper in the riding of Calgary Heritage, anyone can put a custom message on a campaign-style sign that will be placed near a Harper election sign.

There are no rules around what someone can say on a sign, which features a small NDP logo, as long as it's in good taste. 

Intrigued, Montgomery made a friendly bet.

"I told my friend that told me about this 'if they put up a pro-Harper message, I'll buy you a drink.'"

Montgomery logged on and donated $50 to Masters Burgener's campaign and submitted the message for his sign: 'Let's make it four in a row. Go Harper go!"

Montgomery got an automated email confirming his contribution was received. He was also told a picture of the sign would be provided so he could share it on social media.

Four days later, nothing. So Montgomery took to Twitter.

Finally, 10 days later on Sept. 27, Montgomery says he received an email from Masters Burgener's NDP team saying they were working to refund his donation. 

"I was surprised," said Montgomery, adding he didn't ask for a refund. "Since they said they were going to post positive messages they should follow through."

"When a candidate says they're going to do something and then doesn't follow through, it's reflective of maybe what the party will say during an election and actually do if elected."

Montgomery said he has yet to receive his refund or a response to why his sign won't be posted but he has no hard feelings.

"If they send me a tax receipt, it will actually only end up costing $12.50," he said. 

"We're dealing with a lot more serious issues in this election but I think this also shows it's OK to have a little bit of fun."

'Not something we support'

NDP Candidate Matt Masters Burgener told CBC News by phone Montgomery was refunded for his donation on Sunday because "his message is not something we support."

The candidate says under the rules of 'Send Harper a Message' campaign, the website states the team "reserves the right to refuse any message."

In an interview earlier this month, a spokesperson for Masters Burgener told CBC News they would permit messages supporting Harper. "In that instance he misspoke,"  Masters Burgener said.

"We're running an NDP campaign supporting an NDP candidate — me."

Masters Burgener's said the site also states refunds would not be permitted but he decided to refund Montgomery, adding he didn't expect anyone would donate to the campaign with a message supporting his opponent.

Out of the 200 requests for signs, Montgomery's was the only one with a message supporting Harper.


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