POLITICS

'Loaded' terrorism mailout from Conservative MP raises eyebrows

03/11/2015 08:53 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT
A mailout with a "loaded" question on terrorism from Conservative MP Lawrence Toet is getting a lot of attention on social media.

​Toet, who represents the Elmwood-Transcona riding in Winnipeg, sent the mailer this week about Bill C-51, or the anti -terrorist act being proposed by his party.

After pitching the Conservative argument for the bill, Toet's mailout asks "What do you think?" and requests people check off one of the following options:

- I agree with my MP Lawrence Toet. We must take additional action to protect Canada from terrorism.

- I disagree. Terrorists are victims too.

"It's a loaded question," said Curtis Brown, one of those who received the mailout on Monday.

"What it's really about is identifying potential supporters and also people who are hostile towards you."

Brown, who happens to be the vice president of Probe Research, a public opinion research firm, posted a photo of the question on Twitter, where it quickly spread and jumped to social networking and news website Reddit.

"I was just kind of making a joke about it because, you know, I mean for us or for another polling company to ask a question like that, sort of phrased in that way, would be preposterous," he said.

"It's not a legitimate way of asking people what they think about Bill C-51 or about terrorism."

Many people have expressed outrage at the "you're with us or you're against us" nature of the question and the money spent to send it out, Brown said.

On Friday, the federal privacy watchdog Daniel Therrien said the scope of the Conservative government's anti-terrorism bill is excessive and that it puts the personal information of Canadians at risk.

More than 100 academics have also urged the government to drastically alter C-51, the Conservatives' proposed anti-terrorism legislation, arguing it is far too broad and doesn't come with safeguards to protect Canadians' privacy rights.