Stephen Harper and John Reynolds

Misuse of privilege "petty politics"?

Niagara Falls, Ontario - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - by: Joe Hueglin


Mailing at public expense is accorded Members of Parliament to facilitate communication between them and their constituents. Sending another person's letter across the country for partisan purposes is not its intent.



PC mailing

By sending a letter from Stephen Harper to those on a surreptitiously obtained Progressive Conservative mailing list John Reynolds, Member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast, misused this privilege.




Reynolds is quoted as saying ""The only things you cannot frank are to raise money or sell memberships." and that by raising this the PC's are engaging in "petty politics."




Two questions arise from his actions:


  1. the ethics of using public funds for purely partisan purposes, there being nothing in the franked envelope bearing the name of the Member of Parliament sending it

  2. the ethics of using a mailing list, [UCL52] in all probability drawn from the same 1998 PC Membership List used by TOM LONG in his Alliance Leadership bid.




A list those originally obtaining it pledged in writing would remain confidential.




Much will be made by the Official Opposition of Auditor General Sheila Fraser's statement that just about every rule in the book has been broken by the government.




Just as some believe telling untruths can be classified as lies and "little white lies", there appears to exist as well the belief that raising the breaking of some rules is legitimate and in the national interest, but doing the same with others is playing "petty politics!"

Joe Hueglin

  "Alliance misused free mail, Tories say" By CAMPBELL CLARK Friday, May 17, 2002 Page A4 Globe and Mail
  Correspondence and ethics issues are documented on this page