Wednesday, January 30, 2008

More Conservatives Talking = More Mistakes

Over the last week, in an effort to find out why John Manley either had a predetermined conclusion in approaching the 5 person panel on Afghanistan or was just possibly biased and lazy (as written here), I've emailed over thirty Members of Parliament.

What I noticed among the various responses from MPs of all the Parties, Conservative, Liberal, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois, was that the Conservatives have a unique policy in responding to Canadians who question the government they are apart of. That policy basically consisting of Conservatives passing the buck and keeping their mouths shut.

Before I begin however I should note and applaud Peter Stoffer, an NDP MP from Nova Scotia who has one of, if not the most responsible method of responding to Canadians who contact him. I emailed him and within the hour, I received a phone call from him, informing he got my email and he would read it.

The following is a small sample of emails I got back from various Conservative MP assistants.

Mr. Ross,

Thank you for your correspondence, could you please forward to our office your address and telephone number.

(From an assistant of Dave Van Kesteren, MP
Chatham-Kent Essex)


Thank you very much for your email addressed to David Emerson, Member of Parliament for Vancouver-Kingsway.

Please be assured that your comments will be reviewed. I would appreciate if you could provide our office with your mailing address, so that we will be able to determine how best to serve you.

Thank you.

On behalf of Mr. Colin Mayes, Member of Parliament for Okanagan-Shuswap, I wish to acknowledge your email. Mr. Mayes prioritizes correspondence from his constituents. To that end, we would welcome receiving your mailing address.

Please be assured that your correspondence will be brought to Mr. Mayes’ attention at the first opportunity.

Now in the email I sent, I basically asked for each Member of Parliament's opinion on certain pieces of evidence I presented on the Manley Report being predetermined. It was an email from a Canadian citizen asking representatives of the people about a possible problem.

While most Liberal, NDP, and Bloc MPs assistants sent me emails informing me that my email would be reviewed, Conservative MPs assistants asked for my address and phone number. They did this not so they could send me a detailed response through the mail or over the phone, they did this to see to what riding I belonged to. And after I wrote back giving them such information I was told my questions would be instead forwarded to my MP. Now besides the fact that originally I was told by these assistants that my address or phone number was to be used for other purposes, like priority ranking or a better means to serve me, all instead diverted my emails to my MP, avoiding any response to my email.

This leads me to conclude that the Conservative Party in imposing such a policy doesn't trust its MPs to stick on message. This is further strengthed by the fact that my MP, the honourable Ron Cannan, instead of answering me, just informed me he was directing my email to the Prime Minister's office. That was a week ago, even from the office that is mandated to make Stephen Harper look good, I've received no response as of yet.

Now some may say that an MP is only responsible to his or her constituents and doesn't have to respond to other Canadians, besides this being a very limited view of an elected official, I would respond then, "How is it my own MP has not responded to my questions?"

Thus with the inability of Conservatives to stick to Party approved statements, I as a Canadian citizen am left without getting any response whatsoever, even from my own MP. In trying to get one answer from any Conservative member of government, I've received only a run-around.

***Update*** It is even more interesting in looking at what the Information Commissioner of Canada had to say about Conservative "Openness" here.


Jake said...

So you posted what the Conservatives sent you but offer no copy and paste of what the Liberal MP staffers sent you?

Does it have anything to do with the fact that there is no point contacting MPs of a party that clearly gave you the lead on this bizzare theory in the first place?

Go back to looking pretty on your web cam.

Anonymous said...

If I didn't include the Conservative replies you would have demanded some proof. But now you're complaining I didn't include the Liberal replies even though not one of the numerous Liberal MPs said they would ignore it and simply direct my email to my MP. I could have included the Liberal replies but that would have made my post less coherent.

Jennifer Smith said...

You need an MP like mine. I emailed him with a summary of the situation and a link to your post, and within an hour I had his reply:

Got it. Thanks!

- Garth

Ok, so not the kind of detailed, pro-active response I've had from him in the past - but he's been kinda busy.

Still, I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have an MP who actually personally responds to letters and email with something other than "Thank you for your query" bullshit.

I disagree with the guy on a whole host of issues (he is an old PCer after all), but he's still the best MP I've ever had.