Monday, September 17, 2007

Calgary Mayor Bronconnier campaigning with your tax dollars?

Only minutes ago, I received my copy of Mayor Bronconnier's e-newsletter.

THIS is the e-newsletter in question.

I signed up for this newsletter last year and normally, I get an e-newsletter from the Mayor's office every few months. Like this one, it usually includes the City of Calgary logo, and is prepared by City of Calgary staff paid for with Calgarians tax dollars.

Mayor Dave not only sent this to citizens on September 17th, the first official day of the election campaign, but he included a link to his re-election website.

Normally (as with the NDP in Saskatchewan) the candidate (or party) wanting to use tax dollars for campaigning does so with ads featuring themselves weeks before the election, not during the election. (Not that it's proper in Saskatchewan either).

Can you imagine Premier Ed Stelmach sending out an e-mail from the Premier's website suggesting people visit the PC Party website on the first day of his election campaign?

This is completely inappropriate and an unacceptable use of tax dollars.

Unless the City of Calgary intends on sending everybody on this mailing list campaign propaganda from every other candidate, there should be a retraction and an apology for this lack of judgement.

UPDATE:

Just heard from the Bronconnier campaign informing me that the campaign has been paying for the Mayor's e-newsletter, so no tax dollars are used in the production and distribution of this latest or any of the mayors e-newsletters.

I've struck out the appropriate sections above.

Now, that being said, I still think it is inappropriate to use the Office of the Mayor and the City of Calgary website for pro-active campaign purposes. And THIS City of Calgary website page advertises the e-news, which is again presumably paid for by taxpayers... but I obviously made that mistake once. Perhaps the Bronconnier re-election campaign is paying for the entire City of Calgary website too.

Further, the newsletter never mentions anywhere it is paid for by the campaign. It's one thing for the mayor's staff in Calgary to get a call at his mayoral office asking a campaign question, and then re-directing them to the campaign office. It's another thing completely to pro-actively send out campaign information.

Also, because the campaign is paying for the e-newsletter, it then means that any citizen who signs up for the mayor's e-newsletter is then giving their e-mail address to the campaign a database paid for by the campaign unknowingly.

Still a bit shady... but I should have double-checked to make sure services promoted and hosted on the City of Calgary website are actually being funded by the City of Calgary and not someone else...

UPDATE 2:

The mayor's campaign assures us they don't use the information collected on the city website (paid for by the campaign) for the campaign.

Ironically, until this last newsletter I doubt anyone would have considered this newsletter as campaigning...

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