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MP Charmaine Borg withdraws crowdfunding reward offers after backlash

posted Sep 24, 2014, 12:27 PM by J Shaw   [ updated Sep 24, 2014, 12:27 PM ]
New Democrat MP Charmaine Borg's attempt at online fundraising is getting a big thumbs-down after she offered to mention donors' names in the House of Commons.

The digital affairs critic tweeted a link to her crowdfunding page Monday in an attempt to raise money for her re-election campaign.

But two of the rewards involved Borg making statements in the House of Commons, which led to immediate criticism.

One was an offer to read in the House of Commons the names of anyone who contributed $50.

For $1,000, she was willing to tell the House "Resistance is futile," a reference to the Borg, the cyborg alien collective featured on Star Trek:The Next Generation that shares her last name.

"Want to help me continue to be your voice in the digital age?" she wrote on Twitter, linking to an online donation site.

Within minutes, Borg removed the rewards and apologized.

'A profoundly bad idea'

"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 wrote on Twitter.

Crowdfunding sites let a user set a donation goal and offer rewards for different contribution amounts.

The NDP said Borg wasn't available for an interview. She spent the day in her riding north of Montreal.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said Borg earned no donations off the rewards before pulling them down.

"I think that the important thing to understand is that Charmaine, when she realized the situation, immediately withdrew that and apologized for it," he said.

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Michelle Rempel, minister of state for western economic diversification, however, wasn't mollified.

"The incentive for a donor to give finances to a candidate or party should be to support the election of their choice of candidate, and in doing so the implementation of a policy platform," Rempel wrote on Facebook, calling Borg's attempted fundraiser "a profoundly bad idea."

A spokeswoman for the NDP said Borg had cleared the broad strokes of the fundraiser with the party and with Elections Canada, but not the specific rewards she planned to offer.

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