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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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Comments

"You can’t win a hockey game with a team full of right wingers"

Best line out of a Mike Davies article, ever.

But yeah, less than classy. I'm sure he'll argue that since the game was Conservative MPs playing hockey for the United Way it made sense to have those logos on the puck.

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