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EDITORIAL – Save taxpayers millions, put MPs’ ’10 percenters’ online

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

THE LATEST EDITION of the 10 percenter newsletter arrived in my mailbox the other day.

It includes a message from Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod, information about COVID-19 support programs and a form that can be mailed back postage free for a Canadian flag draw.

It was all information that could easily have been obtained online, just like the last one and the one before that.

MPs are allowed to distribute these things to 10 percent of homes in their ridings several times a year as part of their office budgets. They’re supposed to provide a means to communicate with their constituents on important matters.

Many, however, are nothing more than partisan promotional pieces for MPs and their parties, or stuff we already knew. The Conservatives have been particularly fond of them — years ago it was discovered that some Tory MPs were mailing out 10 percenters to ridings other than their own, slamming the Liberals. That practice was stopped.

In fairness, McLeod’s householders are less objectional than what some other MPs have done when it comes to partisan publications, and she also sends out an informational householder in a different format from time to time that explains her job.

But it comes down to this — why should taxpayers pay for such stuff, especially in this day and age of electronic communication? MPs annually spend anywhere from a thousand bucks to $25,000 or more on 10 per centers, and the total bill across the country is in the millions.

It’s nice to know words on paper are still used to spread information, but the fact is almost nobody reads these things.

In her latest, the MP notes that she has been sending out a weekly e-newsletter on COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. That sounds like a good idea. There are all kinds of ways for MPs to communicate on social media, so why not save some taxpayers’ money and stick to Facebook?

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

About Mel Rothenburger (7710 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

4 Comments on EDITORIAL – Save taxpayers millions, put MPs’ ’10 percenters’ online

  1. R A George // June 12, 2020 at 1:18 PM // Reply

    Well Melvyn old son you pissed off a few folks yesterday .Unlike Susan I obviously have a computer,but no knowledge on facebook,twitter and the rest of it,nor do I have the time for all that nonsense.There is one thing I really miss though and that is having my toast and coffee in the AM and looking at all the stuff I didn,t really need in the good old Buy and Sell. Usually lunch time too. I find it depressing how world corporations can change people,s habits so rapidly. Even old Mels eh?

  2. Susan Lynn // June 11, 2020 at 11:54 PM // Reply

    Not everyone has an i-phone, i-pad or a computer. I’m sure isolated seniors welcome information from their MP.

  3. Don Drysdale // June 11, 2020 at 8:46 PM // Reply

    WOW Mel your diatribe was the most idiotic I have heard in ages. First if you are putting honest communication in the hands of facebook well you lost me right from the start. Secondly the mailout has her signature on it and she owns it, no excuses like it or not it is real. I do not listen or subscribe to any of the fake news on social media which you seem to buy into nor do I have a smartphone or for the matter even a stupid phone so I guess me getting these mail outs mean I am not worthy of your time because I might enjoy actually reading something I can hold, you know like a newspaper or a book.

  4. Lesley Lloyd // June 11, 2020 at 1:06 PM // Reply

    Believe it or not, Mel, not everyone has a smartphone in their back pocket. Or an IPad or home computer that dings at them every time someone wants to communicate with them. I personally love getting paper copies that I can choose to read or not. Ten percent seems like a reasonable number for MPs to send these out to. BUT it is incumbent upon the MP to send such missives to those who want/need that form of communication.

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