Terrorism mailout from Conservative MP Lawrence Toet called 'preposterous'

A mailout with a "preposterous" question on terrorism from Conservative MP Lawrence Toet is getting a lot of attention on social media.

People online angry at 'you're for us or you're against us' nature of terrorism question

Terrorism mailout from Conservative MP Lawrence Toet called 'preposterous'

8 years ago
Duration 1:39
A mailout with a "preposterous" question on terrorism from Conservative MP Lawrence Toet is getting a lot of attention on social media.

A mailout with a "loaded" question on terrorism from Conservative MP Lawrence Toet is getting a lot of attention on social media.

Toet, who represents the Elmwood-Transcona riding in Winnipeg, sent the mailer this week about Bill C-51, the Conservatives' proposed anti-terrorism legislation.

After pitching the Conservative argument for the bill, Toet's mailout asks "What do you think?" and requests people check off one of the following options:

  • I agree with my MP Lawrence Toet. We must take additional action to protect Canada from terrorism.​
  • I disagree. Terrorists are victims too.

"It's a loaded question," said Curtis Brown, one of those who received the mailout on Monday.

"What it's really about is identifying potential supporters and also people who are hostile towards you."

Brown, who is the vice-president of Probe Research, a public opinion research firm, posted a photo of the question on Twitter, where it quickly spread and jumped to social networking and news website Reddit.

A mailout from Winnipeg Conservative MP Lawrence Toet asks people to choose: do they think terrorists are victims, or do they agree with the federal government's anti-terrorism push. (Curtis Brown)
"I was just kind of making a joke about it because, you know, I mean for us or for another polling company to ask a question like that, sort of phrased in that way, would be preposterous," he said.

"It's not a legitimate way of asking people what they think about Bill C-51 or about terrorism."

Many people have expressed outrage at the "you're with us or you're against us" nature of the question and the money spent to send it out, Brown said.

Toet did not respond to CBC News' requests for an interview on Wednesday.

Elmwood-Transcona constituents react

Some people living in  the Elmwood-Transcona riding were shocked when they saw Toet's question.

Conservative MP Lawrence Toet sent out the mailer this week. ((CBC))
​"It's the stupidest thing I ever saw," Patrick Henderson said after viewing the mailout for the first time.

​Upon being told his member of Parliament had put out the flyer in question, Henderson remarked, "I think that's kind of pathetic."

Doug Smart said he has met Toet and calls him a nice man, but the mailout question is “stupid,” he said.

"Terrorists are victims too? Come on. I think it's a stupid question," Smart said, adding the flyer will be going straight into the recycling bin.

Doug Smart said the mailout will be going straight into the recycling bin. (Jill Coubrough/CBC)
​"I thought better of him," Smart said of Toet. "I've met him and he's a nice enough guy, but I'm surprised that he would OK a poll like that."

Federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair said on Wednesday the survey reflects a viewpoint pervasive in Conservative circles.

“It's the same approach as Stephen Harper. It's the same approach as Vic Toews, you know: ‘You're with us or against us; you can stand with us or stand with the pedophiles,’" he said.

“It's the same ludicrous divisive approach that the Conservatives have been taking for years. Canadians deserve better."

On Friday, federal privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien said the scope of the Conservative government's anti-terrorism bill is excessive and that it puts the personal information of Canadians at risk.

More than 100 academics have also urged the government to drastically alter C-51, arguing it is far too broad and doesn't come with safeguards to protect Canadians' privacy rights.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?