April 7, 2015

Communications Matter: When Politicians Respond

I recently had an interesting email exchange with the NDP party, after being bombarded with funding requests. After a lifelong aversion to politics in all its forms, I've decided that it's time I understood Canada's ruling body better. So I reached out with an email, and was pleasantly surprised to receive a thoughtful response. The end result? I have donated $50 and will vote with a clear knowledge of how the NDP treats people like myself.

The first email I sent:

"My inbox has been crowded with requests from the NDP and the Liberal Party for fundraising. Can someone please explain WHY our government officials need money?

I barely make enough to cover my own expenses. Even though I'm 57 years old, I haven't been able to save for my retirement years. As a writer, I expect to be working most of my life. Why should I give money to the NDP, and what will you be doing with this money? I know $5 is not a lot, but that's not the point. I really do want to understand where the money goes.

Living in Quebec, I have paid taxes all my life - hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of my working life - and now I have to pay more money to ensure that the party of my choice is successful? I have every intention to vote for the NDP in our federal election. I voted for Jack Layton, and will trust Mulcair to fill his shoes. Now tell me truthfully - why do you need more money from me?

Is it for advertising? Staffing a campaign? Paying for posters? I landed a career on my own merits, with my own money, and had to do it with no one's help. Why should we subsidize our political hopefuls? I guess I just don't get it. If you can explain to my satisfaction, I'll happily donate $50 and tell all my friends to do the same.

Perplexed and feeling exploited by the world of capitalism... "

Their thoughtful response:

Hello Lorrie,

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us.  I have forwarded your feedback to the campaigns department. I understand your concern and would like to explain why sending emails like the one you received is an important part of what we do as a movement.

In 2011, 4.5 million Canadians voted for the NDP. In order to form Canada’s first federal NDP government, we need to mobilize all of those supporters and many more in the next 15 months or less. Email is an essential tool to accomplish that. That’s why we send emails about the campaign, the NDP’s work in Parliament, and events in your area. We also send fundraising emails—and it is an important part of our work, too. Here’s why:

Less than one year into his majority government, Stephen Harper got rid of a law meant to level the playing field and keep big money out of politics: The per vote subsidy.With the per vote subsidy, parties received public funding based on how many votes they received in the previous election.

Now New Democrats face a new reality: One that will set us back financially—unless we increase our fundraising efforts immediately. We understand that individual donors can only make financial contributions within their means. We appreciate the support we get from thousands of Canadians, financial or otherwise.

I want you to know that each time you see an email from us, people like you all across Canada are chipping in to build our truly grassroots campaign. That’s something we can all be proud of.

You can unsubscribe from NDP emails at any time by clicking on the link below, but I hope you will be able to stay in touch.

Thanks again for your feedback.

Isaac Campbell
Accounts Clerk (Fundraising) | Commis comptable (Levée de fonds)
Canada’s New Democrats | Le NPD du Canada

PS: I did the research, and it turns out that Harper DID eliminate that funding. I donated $50, and would encourage others to do the same, with the party of your choice. 

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, thanks to Harper, Canada starts to look more and more like the States to me. Let's hope that pubic funding for political is reinstated so that all candidates, rich or poor, have a fighting chance. Thanks for sharing what you learned, Lorrie!


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