Christian effort intensifies against same-sex marriage
In the wake of Jim Prentice's announcement that he wil be supporting same-sex marriage the Christian Conservative right is into the last stages of desperation politics. To date this group has been effective in having MP's office inundated with emails and letters. Most often the emails are of the generic form in an effort to make it as easy as possible for devotees of a cause to send their views onto MPs.
Last week an MP from Quebec said he had received over 5000 emails, most of them opposed to same-sex marriage, he said however the emails were from outside Quebec. Only 5% of the emails received were from people in his riding and they were mostly in favour of the same-sex marriage.
Email campaigns can be effective, however one must be careful to think that the sheer numbers of emails reflect the sentiments of the population. One reason to consider this is that those people opposed to a particular action are more predisposed to react, taking some kind of action vs those that believe an action is the right course.
The most recent example of the "fraud" an email campaign can pull off was the Super Bowl "clothing malfunction" case last year. The broadcasting regulating authority received over a million emails complaining that the network showing the event allowed Janet Jackson's bare breast to be seen.
A media frenzy developed, hearings were held by congress and the networks were put on notice that this will not be tolerated. At the time lawmakers and the networks were of the impression that a ground swell of the American public was behind the influx of mails. Turns out the the ground swell was from the American Family Association, motivating its membership to email their objections, often to do it many times.
So as we hear about emails in the thousands reaching our MPs, MPs need to know most of them are from outside their riding, many from outside Canada as groups like Focus on the Family encourage members everywhere to send their views to Canadian MPs.
Focus on the Family Canada and other splinter groups will also be spending great gobs of money on advertising. Focus on the Family Canada with an annual budget in excess of $11 million dollars will be using upwards to $1 million in newspaper and TV ads, especially in ridings where the MP is undecided or they feel they can pressure an MP to change their position. This is on top of the $800,000 they spent prior to the last federal election.
No other group in Canada on either side of the same-sex marriage debate can match that kind of spending. Then again no group in Canada is affiliated with the deep pockets of James Dobson and the parent organization he founded 27 years ago, Focus on the Family.