Value of Progressive Blogger Coalition Still Hotly Debated
With the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards now in the history books it seems fitting to look back on one of the biggest stories that came out of last year's awards in 2008. For those that don't remember, 3 attention deprived bloggers, Dave Cournoyer (Daveberta), Danielle Takacs (Galloping Around the Golden Horseshoe), and Dan Arnold (Dan Arnold) decided to form a coalition using their combined vote totals to try to overthrow the first place finisher 'we move to canada' in the Best Progressive Blogger category. It was officially a coalition between defending champion Dave Cournoyer and Danielle Takacs, but was supported from the outside by the separatist leaning Dan Arnold.
While these kinds of coalitions are very common in blogging awards in Europe, this was a first for our country. However, the reaction from across the country was fierce. Polls showed massive nation-wide opposition, everywhere except Western Canada, the home of two of the members of the coalition. In fact, the snubbing of the two Alberta based blogs, Daveberta and Calgary Grit, had a major impact on the separatist movement in their home province.
But what started out as a coalition merely trying to get some extra recognition for Calgary Grit who 'we move to canada' refused to acknowledge (at least that's their official story) spawned a whirlwind week in Canadian progressive blogging the likes of which was never seen. Rallies happened all over the country for and against the coalition, with each side seeing themselves as the true champions of democracy. Even Prime Ministers and Premiers got involved. Then came a late poor quality video aggress by the coalition leader Mr. Cournoyer that inflamed the media and many believe was responsible for his overthrow as leader of the coalition by his old nemesis Premier Ed Stelmach.
When Stelmach took over many coalition supporters were still optimistic of they would take power and Stelmach and Takacs would get to share the 1st place progrssive blog award button as outlined in their accord. However, the Canadian Blog Awards administration refused to cede them power immediately and, with time, the coalition began to fall apart. When it came time for a final showdown just before a deadline set by the Canadian Blog Awards Administration, Premier Stelmach had turned on his coalition partners and decided to prop up we move to canada. It's rumoured Premier Stelmach was given a jet ski and a wet suit in return for his support. Feeling betrayed and demoralized, the coalition fell apart and 'we move to canada' retained her title to defend in the next election.
Unfortunately for the coalition, 'we move to canada' went back to her old ways following their collapse, running smear campaigns against Mr. Cournoyer (who re-assumed his control of his blog after Stelmach lost interest in it). Daveberta's former coalition partners did likewise against Mr. Cournoyer, holding him responsible for the betrayal they experienced.
Premier Stelmach was also punished in his home province. At his first press conference after propping up 'we move to canada' he was pelted with a shoe which he apparently lacked the ability to dodge. It remains the defining moment of his Premiership. At the time of this writing the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party are at an all-time low in polling in Alberta and the Western separatist party is in lead and may in fact win a majority in the next provincial election. Albertans won't forget Mr. Stelmach's betrayal any time soon.
Could the coalition have done anything different to be successful? Some of their supporters believe if they had just held firm and continued their resolve to seize power than the Canadian Blog Awards administration would have been compelled to give them power based on precedent and we move to canada's own statements in favour of government by proportional representation. We'll never know how Canadians would have responded had that come to be, but supporters insist a coalition would have been popular with time. And many do credit the coalition with garnering more respect for Western Canada than we had seen before.
What we do know now though is how Canadians responded to the coalition bloggers in this year's 2009 Canadian Blog Awards. As many of you now know 'we move to canada' won a sizable majority of votes in the Best Progressive Blog category. Coalition leader Daveberta failed to make the finals, while Takacs fell back from second to fourth place. The only one that seemed to benefit was Calgary Grit who moved up to second.
Howevver, all 3 bloggers faced their own forms of punishment for their behavior. Daveberta's readership steadily declined to the point of where he was only getting 20 hits a day. Ms. Takacs saw a similar decline in her readership, while both her and Mr. Arnold were kicked off Liblogs for "failing to follow the party line" during this affair. However, Mr. Arnold became somewhat of a hero in his home province and was showered with praise upon his return at Christmas time in the immediate aftermath of the coalition's collapse. It's believed that it was a freeping effort from Alberta that helped him bring home the number two prize this year.
Perhaps Canadians just weren't ready for a coalition or perhaps this coalition just didn't have what it took to be successful in such a cut-throat place as the Canadian blogosphere.
Ed Stelmach takes over blogging coalition
Canadians Take to the Streets Over Blogging Coalition
Motivations of Blogger Power Grab Revealed; Public Widely Opposed
Coalition of Progressive Bloggers lose confidence in "2008 Best Progressive Blog"