Liberals press for overhaul of MP pamphlet privileges

The Globe and Mail

Michael Ignatieff wants to rewrite the rules governing how elected officials communicate with their constituents.

Angered by a Tory attack ad sent to ridings with large Jewish communities questioning Liberal support for Israel, Mr. Ignatieff has sent a letter to Speaker Peter Milliken pressing for reform.

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"The Conservative Party has turned a tool for Members of Parliament to communicate with Canadians on parliamentary issues into one that focuses on increasingly outrageous partisan propaganda and negative attacks," the Liberal Leader said in a press release.

He wants "ten per centers" limited to MP's own ridings and to include the name and explicit endorsement of the party leader.

The issue spurred heated debate in the House of Commons last week, with former Liberal justice minister Irwin Cotler demanding the government apologize for its actions.

Read the full text of Mr. Ignatieff's letter below.

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Updates Conservative Party spokesman Fred DeLorey says the following in response:

"Ten percenters are a legitimate way to communicate with and inform Canadians.

Part of being an effective Member of Parliament is to communicate with constituents and Canadians from across the country on issues of current importance. An informed electorate is essential to a healthy, functioning democracy.

These mail-outs are available to all parties in the House of Commons, and it is worth noting that all political parties including the Liberals, the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democrats employ this practice.

By alerting and listening to Canadians on the important issues of the day, it is our party's belief that we can better understand and implement their concerns."

He also provides this Flickr gallery of Liberal mail-outs.