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Less than meets the eye? Perspectives on the deal on Ten Percenters

By W.T. Stanbury      

The Conservatives may use their far bigger war chest to pay for targeted mailers with hyper-partisan attacks on other parties.

A funny thing happened in the House of Commons less than two weeks ago. A Liberal MP’s motion to direct the Commons Board of Internal Economy—which makes rules concerning the matter—to reduce the use of the now-infamous Ten Percenters was passed on March 16 by a vote of 140 to 137. Minister of State for Democratic Reform Steven Fletcher claimed on March 15 that they “are essential to our democracy.” Yet on March 18, Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Calgary Southwest, Alta.) said in the Commons, “If all of the parties wish to abolish this particular subsidy for mailings outside of an MP’s own riding, of course this party would be delighted to do that.”

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