The strangest thing occurred on Parliament Hill, March 16. Reporters went to the House of Commons to cover yet another partisan fight, but instead, a little common sense democracy broke out.
The day started with a vote to ban MP mail-outs, known as "10-percenters." The question, intentionally worded to embarrass the governing Conservatives, called for an end to the practice of "Members sending mass mailings, known as 10-percenters, into ridings other than their own, which could represent another saving to taxpayers of more than $10 million." Conservative MPs opposed the motion, but it passed by a narrow three vote margin.
Following the vote, both the NDP and Conservative parties put the word out that they considered the vote "non-binding" and hey would continue sending out the often viciously worded junk mail. But the following day the Prime Minister’s office issued a statement effectively backing the will of Parliament, as long as the ban applies to all parties.
Junk mail used for partisan purposes, is a part of our political system. However, it does not have to be funded by the Canadian taxpayers. Banning the 10-percenters is a common sense thing to do, and in this instance the public has all parties to thank.
Now, if only we could get the government to stop funding political parties all together ...