So you don’t have to

Reviewed in this inaugural segment of I read political bumpf so you don’t have to:

1. Strange Dianetics-like two-page brochure called Get to know Stephane Dion. Dion appears backlit, and immediately below him, Hubbard-like, is an inspiring quotation. (It’s something about Canada and human achievement — I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination.)

The font on the first page is big, maybe 14 points, because New Liberal Leader Stephane Dion — all signs point to a possible branding exercise as Canada’s New Liberal Government — is accessible to everyone.

Open to see the inside and there’s a photo of Dion, hands in pockets, squinting into the distance in an Iggy-like jacket-and-jeans combo. Next to that, a selection of positive reviews for Stephane, most originating the first couple of days after the leadership convention, and the most improbable of which comes from Andrew Coyne.

Back page: DID YOU KNOW? Some kicky facts about Stephane. Like hey, did you know he has a dog named Kyoto? And he is actually Dr. Stephane Dion.

Most interesting of all: no Liberal red whatsoever, and not a stylized maple leaf to be found.

2. NDP action piece on student debt

This is a little card that loyal Trinity-Spadina voters are supposed to check and send in postage-free to Olivia Chow. The headline is “Held hostage by high student debt?”, which leads me to think it’s targeted to students. There’s a shout-out to “world-class” University of Toronto, which narrows the audience even further. Somehow, it ended up in my building’s lobby nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Jack Layton’s plan to address growing debt would accomplish very little. Bullet one is a commitment to doubling federal student grants, which would certainly help — but since there’s little in federal grant money now, for many students would be doubling nothing but zeroes.

He also promises to provide a breathing space of six months after graduation before loans are payable — which is the status quo.

And then promises an interest-free year for graduates who volunteer to go into an internship program. Nice enough, but also already available through the interest relief program. Essentially the whole card seems to be a vehicle for distributing a photo of Olivia at a CFS-sponsored rally against tuition fees — a provincial issue.

What’s appearing in your mailboxes?