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ALAN HOLMAN: They want more than a penny

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland discusses modernizing NAFTA at public forum at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, in this Canadian Press file photo.
(Sean Kilpatrick/CP)
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland discusses modernizing NAFTA at public forum at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, in this Canadian Press file photo. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP) - Canadian Press

Liberals are crass and undignified at drumming up money, especially at this time of year.

For the most part, the heavy lifting of ‘The Season’ is behind us. With the exception of the New Year’s Eve blowout, the parties are over, and for the most part forgotten. The gifts have been given and received; only the thank you cards are yet to be written.

The media, when not giving us round-ups and reviews of the year, or lengthy year-end interviews with politicians, has been calling our attention to examples of how communities pitched in to ensure no one went without a turkey dinner. The media has, as it should be at this time of year, been keeping us informed of the many acts of neighbourliness and local examples of the Christmas spirit.

It is the season of giving, and beginning in the mid-fall until Christmas many charitable organizations held out a hand or a kettle to receive the munificence offered. Some gave a gentle reminder of the need, but most were relatively subtle in their beseeching.

But not the Liberal Party of Canada.

Having, once a number of years ago, made a small donation to a somewhat different Liberal Party, your humble correspondent (YHC) has ever since been pleaded with, on a regular basis, to yet again cough up; to keep the avenging hordes (Tories, Dippers, Greenies) at bay. Though YHC has no first hand knowledge of the entreatments of the other parties, they likely only differ in name.

If you were to read the emails YHC receives you might be surprised to learn what close friends he has in positions of power.

One-time reporter and now Global Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, writes (with professional camaraderie):

‘Alan, (all YHC letters from Liberals he’s never met open with his first name)

‘When I made the jump from journalism to politics . . .’

YHC’s new best friend Chrystia then goes on to explain all the wonderful things she and the Liberals have done for him and for Canada.

And YHC is reminded that, ‘. . . 6,831 Canadians have already generously chipped in $803,075 towards this cause.’ (Authenticity demands no rounding off)

Chrystia then points out the penalty for not ponying up, ‘. . .Andrew Scheer seems perfectly willing to bring us back to the same failed policies that left middle class Canadians behind . . .’

With that threat hanging over YHC’s head, she then suggests an appropriate amount to donate, before signing off,

‘Sincerely,

Chrystia’

Pretty good, eh. Personal letter from the minister of global affairs. But, wait YHC can go one better. The prime minister’s very own wife. Sophie wrote on Boxing Day. She has a little more time this Christmas than last year when the Aga Khan acceded to her request and invited the family to his private island in the Caribbean.

Sophie is also on a first name basis.

‘Alan . . . Justin and I would like to offer you and your loved ones our family’s warmest holiday wishes.’

Sophie’s letter is almost like a Christmas card with six photos of herself, Justin and the kids. Except the word Christmas is never used.

And this lovely lady, whom YHC has never met, goes on to thank him,

’ . . . for being a constant source of inspiration . . .’

Sophie then lists a series of things ‘we’ have accomplished together. There are a lot ‘we’s in Sophie’s letter, and YHC is uncertain if the ‘we’ is he and Sophie, or Justin and Sophie, though he suspects it’s the latter.

Though it was never in doubt, in paragraph five of her deeply personal letter Sophie comes clean.

‘I’m calling on you now to help our party achieve our 2017 fundraising goal . . .’

‘With deep gratitude and respect,

Sophie.’ (written out like a real signature)

a political party, and a leader who are trying to project a modern, classy image, the Liberals are crass and undignified at drumming up money, especially at this time of year.

Have a Happy New Year.

- Alan Holman is a freelance journalist living in Charlottetown. He can be reached at: acholman@pei.eastlink.ca

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