Friday, March 10, 2006

(Insert Name Here) for Canada

Dean for American showed us that Internet buzz can be extremely beneficial for leadership candidates. While the influence of blogs on the outcome of general elections is questionable, I suspect that members of political parties read blogs and visit political websites more than the general public. Because of this, it would be extremely wise for leadership candidates to have a strong internet presence.

Although the race hasn't started yet, so far, the only two candidates with "professional" websites encouraging them to run are Michael Ignatieff and Gerard Kennedy. I'll be very curious to see the look of the official websites, once the candidates start declaring.

UPDATE: Draft Brison has been up for a while too.


  • Anyone read the Toronto Star article today? After the Liberals begged Harper to cooperate with Shapiro, looks like the NDP are asking him to investigate Belinda too!

    We'll see how well the Liberals like Shapiro when he investigates one of their own.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 5:42 PM  

  • Prior to the Jan 23 election I posted a brief review of the major candidates in my riding (Kingston & the Islands), and how they compared in terms of "internet presence."

    My post can be viewed here:

    While my findings certainly didn't effect the outcome of the election, I still think it's pretty ironic how Peter Milliken is now competing with Garth Turner for the speaker position.

    Leading up to the election the link to Mr. Milliken's homepage went to a message indicating that the site would be down during the campaign. Alternatively Mr. Turner's was arguably the best and most comprehensive campaign blog of the 2006 election (The Turner Report).

    I wonder if and how Mr. Turner's superior "internet presence" will affect the decision of the house as to who the next speaker will be?

    By Blogger Charles J, at 6:19 PM  

  • Bart, I'm a fan, but the idea that Howard Dean is a model for internet campaigning is trite and wrong.

    The whole story for Dean was a complete inability to turn online "supporters" into the real thing. His website hyped him up to be the prohibitive favourite, then turned out to be completely off the mark.

    My experience in communications on a leadership campaign last time 'round (not PMs) was that websites are far more useful for reporters and politerati than ordinary Canadians.

    By Blogger JP, at 9:03 PM  

  • JoshP said:
    "My experience in communications on a leadership campaign last time 'round (not PMs) was that websites are far more useful for reporters and politerati than ordinary Canadians."

    Calgary Grid had said:
    "I suspect that members of political parties read blogs and visit political websites more than the general public. Because of this, it would be extremely wise for leadership candidates to have a strong internet presence."

    JoshP, I think you're accusing CG of making an incorrect claim that he's not making.

    By Blogger Gauntlet, at 9:09 PM  

  • I think the real power of blogs in this leadership will not be in organization, but as a tool of information. As the last Federal election showed Blogs can really fill in gaps that the mainstream media misses. Witness Blogers pushing the income trust story and Klander story for days until the rest of the media jumped on the stories.

    Already Johnathan Ross has made enough people in B.C take notice of their corrupt YL'ers and forced something to happen.

    This leadership will see numerous blogs used to expouse dirty dealings of the candidates and their suporters and also be used as a useful way to attack candidates as well.

    By Anonymous Manitoba Liberal, at 9:29 PM  

  • JoshP, I know scores of Americans who are now kicking themselves for going with Howdie Doodie over Dean. I don't think the next candidate who manages to mount such significant grassroots will be so easily sunk in the primaries. Dean may have been scooped, but what he accomplished was far from a flash in the pan.

    That being said, I'd hardly qualify these Ignatieff and Kennedy websites as being all that professional. Despite the fact that I'm a Kennedy backer.

    By Anonymous No MSG, at 10:47 PM  

  • Manitoba Liberal has got it spot on.

    Blogs will be used to elaborate on the leadership race in an information access manner. The second a story comes out now, immediately blogs go up with comments and in depth analysis in some cases. In others, blogs pick up on aspects of stories mainstream media might miss. A bi-line on page five of a newspaper becomes the headline the next day as the blogosphere picks up the story and digs deeper.

    Blogs allow stories to "cook". Particularly I find in the university community blogs are a huge source of information for students.

    I can't wait for the leadership race to heat up and the blogging that will go on.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 11:23 PM  

  • Quite frankly, I think Dean's real problem was his audience, not his message. His detractors in the Democratic Party don't have a lot to crow about, and their conservative muddle of a platform is a lot less appealing to me than Dean's. (Yes, I know what Dean's doing now.)

    I think campaign finance restrictions are going to result in a lot of grassroots and electronic campaigning by necessity; the open question is what will happen when quite a few "Deans" are running at the same time. Exciting synergy? Support fatigue? Fundraising shortfalls?

    At this point, I'm hoping for the best. It's a pretty protean situation given that all but one of the candidates are unofficial and some potential heavy-hitters are still very much question marks on a fundamental level. As well, we need to know what rules are going to be set on the 18th.

    By Anonymous Jason Townsend, at 11:26 PM  

  • Blogs will certainly be crucial in giving "life" to stories - we saw that a bit during the election. Stuff like the UBC election would never have come to the front without blogs. We'll also see bloggers digging up old quotes, and hammering away at people on certain issues which make make the mainstream media take note.

    I think the fact that 1/3 of the delegates are youth, and most delegates are politically aware is a recipe to make the net a powerful tool for any candidate.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:47 AM  

  • Kennedy stole his site idea from which was up about 10 days before his.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:56 AM  

  • To Anonymous, at 7:56 AM:

    Brison probably text-messaged the idea to Kennedy.

    "R U being drafted yet? Check this out:!!! I'll be very happy soon!!!"

    By Blogger Lorne, at 12:09 PM  

  • Anonymous at 7:56am,

    Thanks for the laugh today. I don't think anyone would copy Brison for anything these days.
    Several of the candidates have draft sites and I am pretty sure that they did not look to Brison for inspiration.
    Since you tried to single out Kennedy, I will give Kennedy a boost and say that I like the Kennedy site, everyone check it out.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:28 PM  

  • I think joshp underestimates what Howard Dean did. He was an unknown who came within a few thousand votes in Iowa of the Democratic nomination. Was his a story of an internet bubble that burst? Probably, but the fact that he put himself into the race in any fashion considering where he started from is astonishing.

    Did he fail to turn online supporters into the real thing? I'd argue that it just says that your internet campaign should augment traditional methods (eg Trippi himself has said that the ground work in Iowa was sloppy)for the time being, but that the internet can be a powerful tool that can't be ignored.

    By Blogger Justin, at 12:33 PM  

  • I had noticed the draftbrison site over a week ago.
    I hope he runs.
    I don't think Ontario and Quebec should think they have a lock on the leadership of our Party. The Atlantic wants in! Go Brison!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:26 PM  

  • Anonymous...

    I agree the "atlantic wants in" but HELL NO not with Brison. Don't associate him with the Atlantic. He's a pathetic turn-coat who is opportunistic, irrational, and I'll be damned if I know why people ever liked him either as a Tory or a Liberal. I thought he sucked as both.

    This latest scandal has made him even more useless to the Liberal Canada.... with blackberry's....I'm serious.

    By Blogger Riley Hennessey, at 2:48 PM  

  • I helped Brison during his bid for the PC leadership... does anyone else find his new pet project so &)*(&&%^&%&* nuts they can' t think???

    I mean really.....

    ..... what a a Conservative the best case senario is that we get to run against Scott or B.S....

    This whole scene still blows my mind,,,

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:11 AM  

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