Thursday, 31 May 2012

Love letters to Canadian politicians

There is a sidebar to the gruesome case of the dismembered unfortunate which has official Ottawa all a-twitter. Do political parties receive such ghastly gifts on a regular basis?

Newspapers today are reporting that a number of MPs have received -- let's call it what it is -- shit in the mail -- as well as interesting artifacts and lube cream apparently made from what's inside what people need lube for.

Back in the 1980s, I worked at Liberal Party headquarters when Pierre Trudeau was still king. I was a writer and opener of fundraising letters. We always got great, great mail. That's because Canadians take great care in responding to political fundraising letters, spending hours crafting them and getting them just right.

My favorite was a letter from a disgruntled fellow who sent us a picture of his lower torso and erect penis spraying his male seed all over himself.

"Thanks for the letter," he wrote. "Here's my contribution."

The second greatest hit was a carefully folded homemade card which arrived after Pierre Trudeau gave the Salmon Arm salute to protesters. Inside was a fist; when opened the middle finger popped up just like those pop up books I loved in the Third Grade. Inspirational!

When I moved over to PMO during the John Turner fiasco, er, election campaign, I was privileged to find my place in the correspondence unit. We got some great mail there, too.

A lot of it had to do with Bryce Mackasey, the former Postmaster General who received a plum patronage appointment along with other Trudeau favorites -- Colin Kenny, come on down!

I cannot repeat the language used. Well, I would but I forget.

The best piece of correspondence we received was a postcard from Firm Buns, Ohio, with bumpatting jokes. This came after Turner famously slapped Iona Campagnolo's butt during an election stop.

We also found a nice letter in the general mail -- where all the unsigned letters went to die.

Bored one day, I was flipping through the letters and I came across a congratulatory dittie for the Prime Minister. It was signed Elizabeth R, the Queen's moniker -- though to be fair to the clerks who discarded it, it wasn't on Buck Palace stationery.


I loved my job in correspondence because I alway felt I had my hand on the public pulse.

Now it seems, correspondence writers find themselves holding hands with no pulse whatsoever.

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