This box of chocolates is no pot of gold

Even if you don’t use a computer much or have access to the Internet, it’s apparent the federal election is right around the corner. If not from your inbox or newsfeed, then likely from your mailbox.

One thing a professor said to my journalism class was the media is just a reflection of what society finds acceptable.

I’m not sure about that one, but the contents of my mailbox on the other hand seem to be a fairly accurate representation of life in general: bills, flyers and advertisements, and perhaps the occasional personal letter or card, if you’re lucky.

And, since it is an election year, included in that list are vote-pandering political pamphlets or letters meant to secure your support.

This week when I opened my mailbox I found no less than three pieces of mail that were promoting a political agenda in some way, and none of them left me feeling particularly “supportive.”

I kind of felt like Forest Gump with his line, “Life is like a box of chocolates … you never know just what you’re going to get,” except that all the chocolates on offer tasted cheap and unsavoury.

The first was a letter from the Hon. Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservatives.

It was a “riveting” speech, with emotional words which I learned in a psychology class is a marketing ploy meant to evoke positive feelings that will then be transferred to the proffered product or service.

“Passion,” “confederation,” “the best country in the world,” — all words and phrases meant to make the patriotic heart swell.

It’s effective too, though I resented the blatant manipulation.

It was followed up by a vague attack on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party.

Just when I thought it was about to get good, getting to some real issues as some specifics began to be mentioned — the carbon tax, anti-pipeline laws, etcetera — his grand finale was … asking for money.

Instead of asking for support in the form of a vote, the letter asked for a donation. I was appalled and insulted.

For 1) If the Conservatives can afford to mail a letter to residents in Ponoka and presumably elsewhere, I think they can afford a decent campaign.

And 2) What a wasted opportunity. Instead of a sincere appeal to a voter’s intelligence and a bid for support at the polls, he used the letter to ask for a donation as he states more money is needed in order to mount a campaign sufficient to crush the Liberals.

It’s sad when a party thinks that whichever party shouts the loudest (can reach the most people because they have the most money) will win the election. What is sadder is that he may be right.

Whatever happened to running on an actual platform, including plans, promises (hopefully with the intent to follow through) and policies?

MP Blaine Calkins’ Summer 2019 publication was better reading, in that it contained actual information on federal bills and issues, but was heavily overlain with criticism of the Liberals.

I get it, it is a political pamphlet and you can’t expect it to be unbiased or neutral, but it would be nice to read something geared to voters that lets them make up their own minds.

Though not directly a political ad, the little insert into the Canada Revenue Agency’s statement about the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) was a oh-so-subtle reminder of how the Liberals believe they have benefited families in Canada.

The insert reads, “Supporting middle-class families and ensuring that every child gets the best possible start in life is a top priority of the Government of Canada.”

Though few would argue that extra money each month is nice, there are other implications of the CCB that are not so positive.

The Government of Canada asserts there were $278,000 fewer children living in poverty in 2017 than there were in 2015, and give the credit for that to the increases in the CCB, which has now been raised twice since July 2016 (www.canada.ca).

However, the latest increase means spending a whopping $26.1 billion by early 2024 (up from $24.3 billion this year).

One may very well question the wisdom of potentially causing further debt for the country, as well as the long term affect on families when they become too dependent on the benefit.

READ MORE: Feds redo child-benefit forms amid concerns ‘at-risk’ families missing payments

Well you can’t really blame the Liberals for using the CCB to sway voters. After all, they have little else to point to.

Yes, in this election, I’m still searching for a chocolate that I don’t want to spit out.

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