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September 18, 2009

Political Etiquette 101: It's Not Cool to Hand Out Political Materials at a Charity Event

Sure, there's bad timing in politics -- the unfortunate result of political time moving at a much more rapid rate than postal time.

But then there are those acts of political strategy that would be ill-timed (or ill-advised) no matter when they occurred.

The buzz I'm hearing around town right now indicates that some folks are none too pleased about a rather tacky stunt that was pulled at the kickoff for the annual campaign for the largest charity in our hometown this past week.

Local MP Dean Del Mastro, has been a great supporter of that charity in the past, organizing successful charity hockey games to raise badly-need dollars. His efforts have been appreciated.

What wasn't appreciated by some was the fact that he handed out Conservative Party of Canada branded hockey pucks to everyone in attendance. (The pucks contained the non-profit organization's symbol and a Conservative Party of Canada symbol.) And those who weren't able to attend the charity campaign year launch were directed to Del Mastro's Constituency Office to pick up their Conservative-branded campaign kickoff souvenir.

Some might try to argue that there was every reason to include that logo: all the politicians on the team are members of the Conservative Party of Canada (with a few celebs to round out the roster). But that would be looking for an excuse to do the wrong thing as opposed to taking the high road and doing the right thing.

The charity in question -- which fund-raises on behalf of a huge number of groups in our community -- is a non-political organization (national policy guidelines .pdf) that requires support from all members of the community to reach its fund-raising targets. People from all political parties work side-by-side to achieve these goals. No one should be trying to score political points by handing out politically-branded materials at the launch of a charity campaign.

It's a charity campaign, not a political campaign, after all.


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The issue you raised and the answer should be very clear to everyone ! No argument!
I am surprised at some comments that have been posted here !
"Politicians have no business in self promotion at charity events in this city".

Thanks for your comment, Wayne. You put it very well: let's keep politics out of charitable events. There's really no reason for the two to mix, is there?

I believe the majority of Canadians would call into question the ethics of promoting ANY political party at a charity event !

This is not about who voted for what or when , it is truly a question of common ethics.

Let's keep politics out of charity events in Peterborough !

Thanks for your comment, Lori. Glad you understand I'm talking about the ethics involved, not the dollars raised. Two separate issues.

Ed: We're talking about the ethics involved in handing out politically-branded merchandise at a charity event. That's the conversation we're having here.

Wow, you and your Liberal cronies really need to get a life!
So what, a logo'd puck that sports the 2 organizations invovled in a sporting event that has proven to be the biggest one night fundraiser in the city's history is no big deal.
It's CPC members who take the time to make their way to help reaise over $140,000 in the past 2 years for the PUW....
I'd also like to point out that the CPC players are making their way to Ptbo for two reasons, number one because of the respect for Dean and his efforts to help his community and two, because indeed the members of the CPC team care about all Canadians, when it comes to taking part in things like Charity Hockey games, its about the community, not politics.
Btw, what's Betsy's opinion on the fact that the Liberals VOTED AGAINST the ways and means motion which could have jeopardized the home renovation tax credit for all of those hard working people who invested into their homes, along with all the trades people who are counting on that tax credit as well for the work they have been contracted to do?
Yup, but hey, as Iggy says, it's about principle....umm, okay, screwing over the average Canadaian for their tax credit, potentially blocking almost a Billion dollars in EI payments for the unemployed, OR looking to the CPC hockey players and Dean who are helping to raise $100,000 in one night for the local united way? Basically, those who choose to read way too much into everything can take their puck and skip the game.

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