Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cons Constant Campaign, An Abused Privilege

I'm sure the bewildered Cons on the job would not be able to wrap their heads around the concept that Canadians don't like to be taken for fools. For all of their protestations of innocence and squirming against the bonds of truth, the perception is that they were cheating to win. It is galling to watch their familiar fingers of whining and blame raised yet again to try and lay their perfidy at the feet of the Liberals. We are more than aware of the failings and faults of the Liberal party but nobody believes that they somehow managed to engineer the raid and investigation of the Conservative's corrupt attempts to game the electoral system.

Against the backdrop of an unprecedented raid of the governing party's HQ, their subsequent attempts to engineer media spin (resulting in the slapstick farce of running away from the reporters they couldn't buy or otherwise control), we learn that another of their sneaky little tricks is beginning to catch light.
Canada Post is tired of hauling the extra tons of Conservative bullshit, puffery and permanent campaign literature. To be sure, I get the occasional mail out from my MP with the pictures of local events and claims of service rendered. But what is starting to piss me off is the unwarranted amount of junk I receive from the MP of a neighbouring riding.

Harold Albrecht is a notorious crank, a god bothering twit and a
terminal prude.

The embarrassment caused by these immature sports fans cannot compare to the embarrassment I feel to be a citizen of a country whose moral behaviour has slid to an all-time low. Child pornography is considered to be an art form and now The Record uses half a page of its art section to publicize Puppetry of The Penis to be held at Centre in the Square on June 7.

Albrecht is also happy to spread the debunked myth that preaching abstinence is an effective means of birth control and disease reduction. Abstaining, while certainly a safer option than engaging in sexual activities, is also distinctly naive. Regardless of the realities of youth and hormones, Albrecht is more than happy to peddle such utterly ridiculous garbage as the false claim that using a condom presents a 31% risk of contracting HIV from an infected partner.

An analysis by researchers at the University of Texas estimates that when condoms are used, the risk of acquiring HIV from an infected partner is 31-per-cent over a year’s time. This study was reported in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine in June 1993.

Ah the magical power of teh evil germ, who knew? Well evidently not Albrecht. Let's see what someone that isn't a deranged crank has to say. Jeffrey Shallit debunks Albrecht's lunacy, over at

Albrecht was evidently referring to this paper: Susan C. Weller, A meta-analysis of condom effectiveness in reducing sexually transmitted HIV, Social Science and Medicine 36 (12) (1993), 1635-1644. It's clear Albrecht never read the article, because he gets the title of the journal wrong: it's not the Journal of Social Science and Medicine, but simply Social Science and Medicine.

More importantly, Albrecht seriously misrepresented the conclusions of the Weller study. In the abstract, Weller concludes that "condoms may reduce risk of HIV infection by approximately 69%." A casual reader might think Albrecht is right, since 100% - 69% = 31%. 

He's not. Albrecht is mixing up apples and oranges. The 69% figure of Weller represents the reduction in risk associated with using a condom. Let's say that the risk of getting HIV from an infected partner over one year's time without a condom is 10% (Weller's 1993 meta-analysis found figures varying from 4% to 19%). Then a 69% risk reduction means that with a condom, the risk of contracting HIV from an infected partner in one year decreases to about 3%. And 3% ain't 31%. Albrecht is either misinforming us, repeating misinformation, or innumerate -- not the best resumé for somebody headed to Ottawa to run things.

Oh but that's just a bunch of numbers and facts. And facts aren't that important to a gay spiting bigot with a head full of self righteous church bullshit. Go and scan through Shallit's article, it is a very thorough dissection of Albrecht's notorious fibs, bullshit and bigotry.

Back to the point, Canada Post provides free delivery of mail to and from Parlaiment. In the last few months, Harold Albrecht, notorious anti-gay bigot and fundamentalist nutcase Conservative MP for a neighbouring riding, has been peppering the region with flyers. These aren't informative statements of policy, they are campaign literature. Graphics of Stephane Dion looking silly and decrying his leadership, graphics of a scruffy character in a wife beater shirt claiming Liberals are soft on crime. Political junk mail. The upshot is thatafter breaking their backs carrying all of this partisan, annoying Conservative shit, they want and rightly deserve more money.

Newly released documents show the project, dubbed Six Sigma, was designed to demonstrate that the post office is losing millions of dollars as MPs and political parties crank up the controversial mailouts.

Canada Post "is now in a position to more accurately quantify the volumes and foregone revenue associated with government free mail,'' says an internal discussion paper, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Opposition MPs have recently accused the Conservatives of abusing the privileges _ and bending the rules _ to carpet-bomb ridings with party messages, all on the taxpayer's dime. But the Liberals also acknowledge their own members are not entirely blameless.

I live in a fairly large complex, the recycle bin fills up pretty quickly when Albrecht decides to paper the town with his endless tripe. My own MP, Karen Redman sends out very occasional literature and has a few words to say on the matter. And of course her words are countered by the jibbering of one Peter Van Loan.

"I absolutely would defend to the death a member of Parliament's right to talk to, communicate with and get feedback from their own constituents,'' said Liberal MP Karen Redman, a member of the Board of Internal Economy which is reviewing the practice.

"But you don't blanket a postal walk. It's a shotgun approach that I think is being abused.''

Tory House Leader Peter Van Loan notes that his party normally uses bulk mail _ "unaddressed admail,'' in post office parlance -- that costs less than a penny an item to send. The other parties have confirmed they tend to use addressed "franked'' mail, using mailing lists, which costs 54 cents for each piece.

"You do the math on which party is the most cost effective in its external mailings,'' Van Loan said.

Van Loan defends the carpet bombing approach at a penny a sheet for the Con's ineffective, partisan trash as opposed to focused, riding specific mailers. Well Peter Van Loan, Conservative shit spinner, Ms. Redman doesn't mail her riding reports to people in every constituency in the region. Neither does she send them out at a rate of up to several a week. She doesn't send out inflammatory partisan hype and scare sheets. In fact, you smug prick, I'd be more than willing to wager that even at a penny vs. 54 cents, your trained chimpanzee Albrecht is wasting more of the Canada Post's money and energy to flood the entire bloody region than Ms. Redman's more expensive but far less frequent and far less widely distributed mailings.

The simple fact is that this is an abuse of the Parliamentary privilege of free mail to campaign with ugly slurs and cheap scare tactics. Given the optics of recent events it occurs to me that this abuse of the system has become a staple of the Conservative approach to politics. It is ugly and wasteful and coloured by spite. While Canada's Conservatives waste your time and money running cheap games on the system, they do their Republican rolemodels proud. Dirty politics are here to stay, Conservative style.


Frank Frink said...

I have yet to receive a single piece of Contarded trash mail, although we do get a lot of junk mail. I wonder if my letter carrier just simply refuses to carry this shit or the depot just throws it out. It's assumed most Vancouver letter carriers are Dippers, I guess. ;-)

So, I do get Hedy Fry's quarterly update on all things Hedy Fry, and I am on Jack Layton's mailing list. But that's it.

Does Albrecht look like Herb Tarlek? No reason, just asking.

Lindsay Stewart said...

ask and you shall receive!

Boris said...

If i lived in your riding, I find myself a nice thick black chisel point sharpie and address all that unaddressed Conmail to your MP, HoC, etc. With a polite comment or two. It's free.

Lindsay Stewart said...

good point boris, perhpas i'll empty the recycling bin in the mail room when the next batch of cruft pours in.

Red Tory said...

JoJo is in your riding. I'm sure she just delights in receiving Albrecht's gay-bashing tripe.

Dana Hunter said...

Ye gods, this makes me glad candidates have to pay for their own damned mail here.

Corey said...

Where was Harold Albrecht when Puppetry of The Penis came to the area about ten years ago?

There were lots of people upset and protested back then, but I have not a word about now.

Sean S. said...

The Tories are the worse, but all parties partake in this scam. That doesn't even begin to take into account how far it puts candidates who are not currently MPs behind the eight ball when the incumbent doesn't have to pay for his advertising.

It should be banned period. Maybe with the exception of quarterly newsletters from an MP to his/her riding only. I won't hold my breathe though, probably something all parties are loathed to bury once and for all.

Lindsay Stewart said...

within reason i think it is a good idea. the problem being that unreasonable people have got their mitts on it. i wonder if there are limits on the number of mailings one can do to other member's ridings. albrecht has papered this entire region half a dozen times in the last few months.

Anonymous said...

I remember reading just yesterday that the Tories have ordered a review of Canada Post. Probably not related, right?