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Flyer Fight

Making accusations of excessive partisanship is a dangerous game.

First of all, you have to find issues that average Canadians will care about. 
 
Second, you have to make sure you can't be accused of doing the same thing.
 
Readers will recall the on-going debate that began last week over those over-sized novelty cheques. Some were signed by Conservative MPs, making it appear it was their money. Others had the Conservative Party logo plastered where the "Government of Canada" should be written.
 
Well, today I asked the Liberals about a new example of what they say is excessive partisanship by the Conservatives.
 
They're called 10-percenters. These are flyers on any topic that MPs can mail to any riding in Canada - with the postage paid by taxpayers - as long as they aren't sent to more than 10 per cent of the households in the riding.
 
recent series from Conservative MP Laurie Hawn questions Michael Ignatieff's leadership skills.  In addition highlighting his record of teaching in "elite universities" and being a "true cosmopolitan," the flyer provides an Internet link to a Montenegro-based, Conservative Party-approved web site that further attacks Ignatieff's character.

Today, Liberal MP David McGuinty joked that he's been "blessed with many 10-percenters" in his Ottawa riding.  He called them ''over-the-top'' in attacking Ignatieff. And blatantly partisan. 
 
When I pointed out that all parties tend towards the partisan in these mailouts, McGuinty responded that he only ever remembers seeing Conservative Party logos on 10-percenters. 
 
 "I stand to be corrected, the NDP may have done that in the past,'' he said. '' I don't recall ever seeing a Liberal logo on a 10-percenter.  That is a flagrant abuse of taxpayers' money.  If you're using public resources to further the cause of your own party in held or unheld ridings, it's against the rules.  And if it's not against the rules, it's against common sense." 

Well, it didn't take long for me to get a few helpful e-mails from the NDP.  They contained examples from Liberal MPs Bernard Patry and Martha Hall Findlay, as well as the one below from Siobhan Coady.  In addition to prominently featuring the logo of the Liberal Party of Canada, as well as links to Liberal party web sites, the flyers appear to do no more than accuse Prime Minister Stephen Harper of patronage and "Harpocrisy".

The Conservatives have put more examples up on this Flickr site.

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