NDP MP apologizes, withdraws unusual crowdsourcing perks
In this file image, NDP MP Charmaine Borg asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, December 9, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Karolyn Coorsh, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, September 22, 2014 3:02PM EDT
A Quebec NDP MP is apologizing on Monday after offering a bizarre perk to anyone who donated $50 to her online fundraising campaign.
Charmaine Borg, who represents the riding of Terrebonne-Blainville in Quebec, came under fire over social media when her crowdsourcing platform came to light over Twitter.
For a $50 donation, she promised to say the name of the campaign donor aloud in the House of Commons.
Borg posted the fundraising campaign on crowdsourcing website FundRazr.com. In it, the NDP critic for Digital Issues asks potential contributors to “Help Charmaine Borg be your voice in the tech era.”
Under the original listing of contribution “perks,” which has since been removed, Borg promised to say the donor’s name in Parliament for every contribution of $50.
For a contribution of $1,000, Borg promised to speak the phrase “Resistance is Futile” in Parliament, in an apparent reference to the catchphrase made popular by the fictional Borg villains on the “Star Trek” TV series.
Some suggested Borg’s offer was an inappropriate use of the powers that elected representatives hold while in public office.
@MarkCoffin sorry I didn't see it that way! I will change it right away— Charmaine Borg (@mpcharmaineborg) September 22, 2014
@MarkCoffin I apologize I made the changes and removed the perk— Charmaine Borg (@mpcharmaineborg) September 22, 2014
Borg quickly apologized over Twitter, and both “perks” have since been removed from the fundraising webpage. $25, $100 and $500 donation requests remain, with those perks ranging from a handwritten thank-you note to a dinner with Borg.
“So regarding my crowdfunding campaign I apologize for anyone who got offended with the perks. I didn’t see it that way and am changing it," Borg tweeted.
The crowdsourcing campaign, which had yet to raise any money on Monday afternoon, is scheduled to end on Oct. 22.
But the matter also raised questions about the legitimacy of using a crowdfunding site for apparent election fundraising purposes.
On the fundraiser page, Borg hyped her work on social media and privacy issues, and asks donors to keep her in Parliament.
“Any donation, no matter how big or small, will go a long way to keeping me in Parliament and to keep fighting for what matters most to you in the digital age.”
In an email to CTV News, an NDP caucus spokesperson said the use of crowdfunding websites was cleared for compliance with Elections Canada regulations.
“Ms. Borg, like many others, is exploring the possibilities offered by new social media techniques,” wrote Greta K. Levy. “She removed the potential problems from her fundraising appeal as soon as questions of appropriateness arose. No money has been raised using them and she acted and apologized immediately once she was aware of the problem.”
Borg was first elected to Parliament in 2011.
A federal election is expected to take place in 2015.