A flood of postcards supporting MP Stephen Woodworth's Motion 312 to study the definition of life has slowed Parliament's mailroom to a crawl, according to the group responsible for the postcards.
The organization, which calls itself MP Postcards, began selling the messages in June. Tens of thousands of the cards have since been mailed to MPs, the group says.
The torrent of correspondence is causing a backlog in the House of Commons mailroom, according to Woodworth. "I understand the volume of messages received through this postcard campaign has tested the limits of the House of Commons postal service. I’m grateful to the organizers for energizing so many tens of thousands of Canadians to stand up in defence of universal human rights," the MP for Kitchener Centre, Ontario, said in a press release.
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The postcards are being handled in the "usual manner," and while there is a "large volume of mail" it is not causing a backlog, according to Heather Bradley, director of communications for House Speaker Andrew Scheer. " It is being scanned, sorted and then forwarded to the owner of the mail," Bradley said.
Woodworth's motion calls for the formation of a committee to examine when human life begins. The Criminal Code currently states that life starts at the moment of complete birth.
The MP has received widespread media attention for the motion, but has admitted he doesn't expect it to pass. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he will not vote for it and has even received praise from the NDP for doing so, according to Canoe.
The group behind the mail claims to have printed 69,000 postcards, most of them paid for through orders.
Miles Driedger, the founder of MP Postcards, said he first realized something was happening at Parliament's mailroom when he asked his own MP Blake Richards if he had received any of the cards. When the MP for Wild Rose, Alberta, told him they had not arrived, Driedger "knew something was wrong."
"The reports we got back were that there were tens of thousands of postcards backlogging the mail room there, and that the staff was working as quickly as possible to get them sorted through,” Driedger said in the press release.
Dreidger is concerned the mail won't reach MPs before they vote on Motion 312 next week. It will be up for final debate this Friday and the vote will take place on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The website for MP Postcards carries a decidedly anti-abortion message. "MP Postcards exists to be the voice of our unborn children to the men and women in our country responsible for their protection, our government officials," the homepage states. "[Motion 312] might even be a step towards ending the legal, tax funded killing of innocent children."
Another page provides a link to the Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma where an article on "why biblical Christianity is the only reason we have to do what we do" can apparently be found.
Woodworth has been careful to frame his motion as one calling for further debate on what he sees as an antiquated, 400-year-old definition of life.
But while the word "abortion" does not appear on the postcards, the group's website suggests that changing the legal status of the practice in Canada is the goal of the campaign.
"While we were quite aware that abortion is common in our country through all nine months of pregnancy, what we didn't realize is that our criminal code does not consider unborn children as human beings and therefore does not extend human rights to them in any way, shape or form," the site states. "We believe that this is the greatest opportunity to fight the devaluing of unborn children in our country that we have seen in a long time."