Political Advertisements

Winter 2003 CSANews Issue 49  |  Posted date : May 02, 2007.Back to list

Dear Bird Talk,

I was very surprised to see an ad for the Ontario PC Party on the back page of the Fall issue of CSANews. I don't believe it is in the best interests of the Association to accept advertisements from any political party anywhere in Canada. An ad like this appears to give the impression that the CSA is endorsing the PC's in Ontario which is not very prudent. It is very possible that by the next issue there will be a different party in power in Ontario. I think it is very important that the CSA should be seen as an association willing to work with any political party for the benefit of its members.

Sincerely,
Mark Waldman

Response:
This was one of the most difficult decisions our editorial staff has had to deal with over the years. We were approached by the Ontario PC party to put in an ad relating to the election and to explain how snowbirds could vote while away. As CSA has no political affiliation of any kind, this was stepping into uncharted waters, for us. We have had several government agencies, in various provinces and federally, with NDP, Liberal, Reform and Conservative governments, purchase booths at our shows and ads in CSANews over the years, and this was an extension of this "advertising" in many ways.

We had endless discussions as to what we should do. We can always use the money, of course. We are very aware of the political landscape in Ontario and have good contacts, and have had meetings with all of the political parties on CSA issues. We were also concerned that if we did not accept the ad, it would damage the work we had done with the reigning (at the time) Conservative government. In the end, we decided to accept the ad for many reasons.

This created another problem, of course. Do we call and ask the Liberal and NDP parties to also place an ad? Again, after much internal discussion we did not do this. The Conservative ad came to us on an unsolicited basis, probably as a direct result of CSA attempts to get some of the Ontario laws changed. If we called the Liberal and NDP parties, we felt it would be a breach of confidentiality in telling the other parties what they were doing. We compared it to Medipac placing an ad in a newspaper, and the newspaper calling the competitors and telling them what Medipac was doing. This would be totally unacceptable and we felt we should not become involved in this type of somewhat unethical dealing.

In closing, I would like to assure you that our next member survey will ask our members what they think and expect of us, in these areas. What they tell us is what will be done in the future.

A very thoughtful letter, thank you.