OTTAWA - From poop to hate mail and wacky crafts, members of Parliament have seen a lot of interesting — and sometimes alarming — items delivered to their offices.
Fortunately, there seems to be no precedent in Canada for an official receiving something as gruesome as a human body part. Police were looking for a suspect in the posting of a human foot to the Conservative party's headquarters this week.
Canadians can send mail to their MPs for free, meaning unsolicited packages and letters are par for the course on Parliament Hill and at constituency offices in the ridings.
"I think human waste ... a few years ago when I was in opposition," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Wednesday, when asked about his weirdest piece of mail.
"I remember we also got some weird, kooky craft, art thing with anti-Christ images and pentagrams. You get all sorts of things, it's really bizarre."
Liberal MP and former cabinet minister Denis Coderre also says he received feces in the mail at work, among other things.
"I received some flour, to try to make me think it was some other substance," Coderre added. "You always have some wackos."
Quebec comedian Louis T. recently posted a video in which he packages up an order of poutine and mails it at the post office to the House of Commons, in a statement about recent allegations of voter suppression by a mysterious "Pierre Poutine."
This year, some pro-choice MPs and Senators reported receiving miniature wooden churches in the mail, with religious passages written on them.
And earlier this month, New Democrat MP Pat Martin found something odd hand-delivered directly to his desk in the House of Commons: a tube of "lewd" cream.
"It was like a sanitizer. ... It had the word 'penis' on it, like 'penis hand gel', that was the oddest thing," said Martin.
"It was just on my desk when I came to sit down, in a brown envelope. It was obviously a joke, but I don't know who from, or why me."
People who work on Parliament Hill say vicious hate mail is not unusual — particularly during emotional debates such as the one on legislation to legalize same-sex marriage several years ago.
Long diatribes from individuals who are perhaps not entirely stable are also frequently received.
"When I was an MP assistant, I opened the mail," tweeted NDP staff member Sarah Douglas. "Lots of bizarre things. ... Mostly conspiracy-theory stuff."
Federal politicians say they generally don't receive negative materials.
"I've never received anything weird at all — it's always been quite charming: different cultural artifacts and knitted things, small objects and art from Africa or other parts of the world, which is all on display in my office," said Liberal MP David McGuinty.
Said NDP House leader Nathan Cullen: "There's one constituent who sends me one sachet of tea every week, so that I can have a cup of tea and reflect on my thoughts."
Cullen said the recent grisly delivery at the Conservative party headquarters has given all politicians pause.
"This is somebody sending a very disturbing and disgusting message, and we hope the law prosecutes to the full extent.
"Yeah, it's pretty unnerving."
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