Let’s end partisan ten-percenters that are taxpayer-funded

The Conservatives have been making news lately for their attack ads on Justin Trudeau claiming that the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada is “just in over his head”. So ends another week in politics; parties have run contrast ads on their candidates since before television was invented.

But where we should draw the line is on taxpayer-funded mailings known as ten-percenters. Parties are free to fundraise to fund their advertising, however, the abuse of taxpayer-supported MP-constituent communications repurposed as partisan attacks or plaudits should be stopped.

We at the National Citizens Coalition support Conservative backbenchers who have spoken out against the practice and are calling on other MPs to support their colleagues.

This tweet was retweeted by Liberals including Justin’s brain, Gerald Butts. However, they may only support pushback against the Conservatives instead of being truly against the issue itself.

In response to inquiries about whether or not the Conservative caucus would send out the highly partisan “just in over his head” ten-percenters, the Prime Minister shrugged suggesting all other parties do it.

So, it seems we’re not going anywhere on the issue. Here, the Prime Minister isn’t showing leadership against the practice and the Liberals are only trying to get an earned media bump from disparaging their opponent.

Here are some other examples of partisan ten-percenters sent out at the taxpayer’s expense,



  • Laurie Smith

    I appreciate you making this point and I agree 100%. I’m so tired of the pathetic excuses that they use! We wouldn’t accept these kinds of responses from our kids so we certainly shouldn’t expect them from our government. Partisan material has no place in the taxpayers’ purse!

  • DougM

    I got so much sh*t from Layton’s crowd way out here in BC that I started sending it back. The Liberals and NDP are past masters are playing the victim when they are the worst offenders.

  • GabbyInQC

    Like some Conservative MPs, I also dislike attack ads and 10%ers. But it depends on what the definition of “attack ad” is.
    Three notorious examples of true attack ads, IMO, are:
    1. The 1993 anti-Jean Chretien “face ad” by the Progressive Conservatives
    2. The 2006 anti-Harper “soldiers with guns in our streets” by the Liberals
    3. The 2008 anti-Harper “Conservatueur” ad, in which the NDP changed the French word “Conservateur” meaning Conservative to “ConservaTUEUR”, the TUEUR part meaning killer, portraying the Conservatives as killers of Quebec culture.

    The ads put out by the Conservatives about Dion and Ignatieff were very mild in comparison, using the politicians’ own words, so they can hardly be termed attack ads. The Trudeau ads also used his own words and listed his previous occupations, although one ad quotes him somewhat out of context, going back to something he said back in 1999 — much like the anti-Harper crowd trots out Harper’s 1997 speech before a conservative American think-tank and the 2001 Firewall Letter.

    Mind you, Trudeau expressed a very similar sentiment to the one he expressed in 1999 in a more recent interview (in 2010 ?).
    So, all in all, the Conservative ads are hardly the vicious attacks seen in the three mentioned above.

    What about 10%ers?
    Stephen Taylor is in favour of “… opt[ing] out of sending partisan 10%ers at the taxpayer’s expense …”
    As seen here, the 10%ers are used and abused by all parties. I favour abolishing them altogether because leaving them open to interpretation would not work. I mean, who would decide what is “partisan” or not? I’m sure the opposition would argue they’re merely informing the public (about body bags) and holding the government to account (on pay equity). So, no, get rid of them. If MPs want to convey special information to their own constituents, let them pay for those flyers out of their own salary.

  • Bec

    I have rarely received a 10%-er from my MP (conservative) that wasn’t progress info however I have received MANY from the Opps, some of them posted above. I simply sent them back, “Return to sender” and for me that was a statement.
    Do I think they should be paid for by me? NO and that goes for any of the parties but I do believe the original intention was pure; i.e a newsletter.
    In this day an age, a ‘newsletter’ is still important in many demographics so to be fair, that aspect should be considered.
    If the people trying to be reached are say…..only getting the CBC or CTV….they are likely not getting anything that resembles fair, balanced, truthful and especially researched information when it comes to news or political discussion.
    They are getting an editorial .
    If we can balance the media stream 10%-ers will become obsolete on their own.

  • GabbyInQC

    “… they are likely not getting anything that resembles fair, balanced, truthful and especially researched information when it comes to news or political discussion.
    They are getting an editorial. …”
    You’re right, I hadn’t considered the media angle.

  • Leroy_Mouchelette

    Um, no. Check the disclosures of MP expenses. The “fiscally conservative” CPC have been the worst offenders by far – as Stephen Taylor can tell you.

  • Leroy_Mouchelette

    When did you last get a ten-percenter from a Member who wasnt your own? And which member?

  • DougM

    So you’re saying they learned from the NDP? Please, go ahead and post the stats from 2006