Alberta mailbox letters causing a stir

Receiving a letter in your mailbox isn’t common today, and ones delivered with a political message trying to strike a certain tone during the Alberta election campaign can make people uncomfortable. Danina Falkenberg learns more from a political sociologist.

By Danina Falkenberg

During the Alberta provincial election, campaign letters have been showing up in mailboxes. Some are from a party, from an unknown neighbour, or are simply anonymous.

But if the tone is negative towards a political party, it can make recipients feel threatened or uncomfortable with the message.

“We are definitely in a period where there is less trust in institutions, less trust in the political system, heightened concern in terms of the tone and level of politics,” Howard Ramos, professor of sociology at Western University, told CityNews in an interview.

“It could also be a matter of generational difference and a different type of tone of politics. So with younger people who are millennials or generation Z, receiving a letter of any kind is rare. Receiving a letter that’s about political issues is going to be even rarer, and so it might be received as something very foreign and different,” Ramos said.

One letter posted on social media was friendly, promoting neighbours getting along even though their political party of choice is different. Ramos thinks it’s a hopeful sign and great to see local people taking things into their own hands.

“And hopefully can build some momentum, as that’s a more genuine and granular approach to expressing sentiment and trying to build ties and trying to break down walls. The tone of politics in the last five to 10 years has become quite polarized, has become increasingly aggressive on all sides,” Ramos added.

“It’s a little bit of an import from American politics, but it is increasingly shaping Canadian politics.”

With all these letters landing in people’s mailboxes and causing a stir, Ramos sees a silver lining.

“People are engaged as a result of it, people are reaching out to one another, as a result of it, people are having public discussions as a result of it,” Ramos said.

“And if that means that people go out and vote, then that means that’s a good thing.”


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