First of all, who was the nasty person that dragged poor Frank’s name through the dirt, forever associating his name with the act of Canadian politicians sending mail to constituents at no cost through Canada Post?
I do take exception to that “no cost” label. A crown corporation that has to keep making cutbacks and jacking up rates, could indeed use actual paying customers. This article says that a politician gets 4 free acts of franking and pays a nominal fee for any extras. I believe that fee is nominal indeed, because my Member of Parliament sent me no less than 17 pieces of what can only be described as propaganda, in one year.
I said last year that I was going to keep track of how many pieces of mail I get from my Member of Parliament, Harold Albrecht. Long time readers will know that I have been annoyed with this policy of franking for years. They say that with franking the public is allowed to write back to their MP for the same free cost, but in reality if we made an ongoing campaign of it as our MPs do, the policy would stop almost immediately.
17 pieces of mostly crap arrived this year, that touted a government “Action Plan” that does nothing more than any government would do. Most of this propaganda contained a “Be heard” icon with a question and three arrows, one of which pointed to “The Conservatives” and none of which pointed to the other three parties listed. This is an obvious act of propaganda since my MP is Conservative.
17 acts of junk mail were performed against me by my own Canadian government.
I had the idea that I would figure out how many households in my community would receive this mail and figure out how much Harold Albrecht was costing me per year above and beyond his usual expenses and salary.
A Conservative/Liberal committee found that a third party, the NDP, were guilty of abusing their franking privilege by sending party propaganda (I don’t understand the difference between this and the 17 pieces of propaganda I received from the Conservatives). They are trying to make the NDP pay for their indiscretion at the rate of 1 charge of 1st class mail per item sent out. The first class charge is about 97 cents so this should make my calculations easier because I don’t have to consult with Canada Post.
There are about 100 000 people in a Canadian riding. There are actually many more in Harold Albrecht’s Kitchener-Conestoga because this is a very fast growing area. But I will use the 100 000 people estimate. The number of people per household is a difficult number to obtain quickly on the internet (shame, shame Statistics Canada and the government of Canada), but Burlington ( a nearby Ontario city) had 2.6 people per household in 2006 and a 2003 American census puts the average per household at 2.57 people. So I will use the 2.6 figure.
One hundred thousand people divided by 2.6, times 97 cents,and times 17 gives us a figure of $643 230.77
Let’s be frank. Each Conservative MP is likely costing us over $600 000 a year in franking alone. There are 162 Conservative ridings in Canada. Franking is likely costing us 97 million dollars per year for the propaganda of one political party. This just totally dwarves the 1.17 million dollars the NDP is being accused of for improperly franking. If the Conservatives and NDP are using franking for propaganda can the Liberals be far behind? Only $22 million is being given to Canada post for all this franking.
Canada Post has cried out that they are hurting by raising rates and discontinuing delivery to urban addresses that don’t have community mailboxes. What is the real cost of franking? The information speaks for itself. Down with franking.