“Harper’s claim to be a champion of human rights is not just ludicrous; it is sacrilegious.”

Dear Editor,
All Members of Parliament have the right to send a limited number of tax-funded mail-outs to households in their constituencies, but the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has begun to use this tax-funded service as a cost-free method of deploying U.S.-style direct-mailing campaigns.

Dear Editor,

All Members of Parliament have the right to send a limited number of tax-funded mail-outs to households in their constituencies, but the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has begun to use this tax-funded service as a cost-free method of deploying U.S.-style direct-mailing campaigns.

For instance, the recent “CANADA’S BACK” mail-out conveys no information whatever about the Member of Parliament on whose behalf it was sent but serves only to promote the CPC and Stephen Harper. The return address is a House of Commons address. Thus, this pamphlet is a party device, used for partisan purposes at Parliament’s (i.e. tax-payers’) expense.

The best (and by that I mean the “worst”) propaganda always provides satisfying comedy, and we’re not disappointed by the CPC’s latest offering. “Canada’s Back”, it yells, as if the nation were a cheap sitcom going into summer re-runs.

It says, “We have an important role to play; representing to the world the Canadian values of security and human rights”. Naturally, I was astonished to discover that Canada apparently has a new “value”. I only wish I knew what precise banality the word “security” is meant to communicate. I’ve always thought of security as a collateral benefit of having the right values rather than as a value as such.

At least the pamphlet comes close to getting one thing right: it says respect for human rights is a Canadian value. Actually, it was–before our government decided to stand idly by and watch an “ally” abduct a Canadian child, torture him, and hold him indefinitely without trial and without regard for even the merest niceties of international law. In the context of that ongoing disgrace, Harper’s claim to be a champion of human rights is not just ludicrous; it is sacrilegious.

James Christian Parsons

Ottawa, Ont.