Tuesday, May 19, 2009

PC Leadership Websites: The New Adventures of Old Christine

Membership cut-off has come and gone in the Ontario PC leadership race. After checking in with Randy Hiller's web precense last week, today I turn my attention to Christine Elliott.

Tagline: No real tag-line, save perhaps "the path to victory"

Unofficial Tagline: "Take my husband - Please."

Image: A very conservative grey suit

The Basics: The site is solid - they've got the splash page to get contact information, which is something I always like to see in a leadership campaign. The main page is very generic - candidate in the corner, fundraising and "get involved" boxes on the right, "news" photos in the main area, and tabs across the top. The pictures that pop up in the main box aren't overly attention-grabbing, so they might be better served adding a bit more pizzaz to that. Also, it's a bit tricky to navigate back to the main page, from a few of the sub-pages on the site.

Web 2.0: Once again, there's not much there. There are a few youtube messages from Christine which I like (I presume they were e-mailed out to supporters), but there's nothing that really stands out, and it's clear that with 400 facebook supporters, they haven't been pushing the "online" angle too heavily (which is a perfectly valid strategy decision in a race like this with such a short time frame to sign up members - you'd be stupid to put a big emphasis on the air game early on). The Elliott campaign has set up an "action centre" to get people engaged...not a bad idea, although it's a bit confusing as to what all that actually entails.

Visuals: Clearly, its been decided that all PC websites must be blue - what does the fact that this one is light blue mean? Well, I'll let Robert Langdon find the secret meaning...I suspect someone at the office just thought it looked nice.

Meet Christine: It shouldn't be too surprising, but Elliott's dog is given more prominence on her website than her husband, Jim Flaherty - this, despite many references to her being a mother throughout the site. Although she has only been an MPP for three years, Elliott has catapaulted herself to contender status in this race so, one imagines, she must be doing something right.

Policy: Although most of the policies she's proposing are drab (who among us hasn't wanted to blockade traffic in support of making Muskoka part of Northern Ontario?), Elliott has been bold enough to come out in favour of a flat tax. While I could see that helping her in this race, I can't for the life of me imagine that being a very popular policy to put forward in a general election...and, much like John Tory and Stephane Dion have recently learned, it's always dangerous for the opposition to make their policies the focus of the campaign. Especially given the 6.5 billion annual price tag that would come with a flat tax.

The one thing that I am impressed with is Elliott's "Path to Victory". The Ontario PCs have a long history of being in power and supporters of parties with long histories of being in power want nothing more than to get back into power. After a pair of crushing McGuinty majorities, I assume the PCs are anxious for a return to the promised land, and Elliott manages to tap into those feeling by offering a detailed and logical plan.

Alexa Rank: Elliott is holding her own with Hudak.

Rating: It's very generic, so Christine gets a generic 6 out of 10. The website seems to take on the personality of Christine's campaign - it comes across as very professional and the candidate seems likable, but it's not an attention grabber. Quiet and effective, but not really exciting.

Can she win? Sure. She's "not Hudak" and frontrunners have had one hell of a time winning leadership races of late. The format of this race certainly favours Hudak, but it sounds like this won't be decided on the first ballot, which means she has an outside shot of pulling it off.



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