Today, I launched a new political mini-site at

The site is meant to be a humourous take on the definition campaign of the Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff.

The site is meant to be integrated with, but does not require, Twitter.  Random facts about Michael Ignatieff are presented and with a single click of a button, they can be “re-tweeted” (repeated) via a person’s twitter account.  You can even submit your own facts.

Twitter + Politics + Crowdsourcing =

For those that aren’t familiar with Twitter, the service is like building your own mailing list.  People sign up to receive information from you at your discretion.  For example, at the time of this writing, I have 3,846 people “following” me on Twitter.  This means that several times a day, almost 4,000 people read my updates on a variety of topics from politics, what I’m thinking or even doing (or whatever else I’d like to write).  The political implications of this are large because each one of these people have their own “following” (or list) and this presents the opportunity to spread a message.  Some people that follow me are web designers, some are Democrats, some Republican, some Conservative, some Liberal, some Calgarian, some Australian, among others.  A police officer that follows me on Twitter may find a message that I write interesting enough to re-tweet (or repeat) it along to his list of his police officer friends, his Vancouver motocycle club twitterers and even his fellow jetskiers on Twitter.  In turn they may pass the message along too.  This bridges groups and it can find a message going out beyond one particular community.  Blogs are often read by die-hard partisans and not often by swing voters.  Since Twitter allows you to read beyond the highly integrated political blog community, it is a powerful tool for politics.



  • James

    Keep fiddling while Rome burns Einstein.

  • Jon

    What a bore.

    Any medium that relies solely on 1 40 characters to convey a message isn’t a powerful tool at all…well, unless it’s a tool to destroy whatever remains of civility and reasonable debate in this country.

    Your bone-head site just proves this.

  • Liz J

    We have so many great facts, isn't there a worry some could inadvertently be construed as fiction? Just for fun is a broad spectrum. Or, am I just not getting the concept?

  • Gayle

    So is not drinking coffee in the afternoon and/or enjoying a classic novel bad things in your world?

  • wilson

    ''The site is meant to be a humourous take on the definition campaign'

  • markalanwhittle

    First lesson in communications, don't “parrot” your opponents negative comments because then you own them yourself.

    So what does the Liberal leader do in response to the conservatives “definition” ads?

    He repeats them on a YouTube video and mass e-mails it to everyone.


  • Jon

    This has got to be the lamest site I have ever seen.

    Glad to see you’re really trying to raise the level of debate in this country…yep…raise it to 140 character attacks on a person’s reading habits…

    For shame.

  • Gabby in QC

    O/T but interesting … listen to a one-on-one interview of the PM by Brian Lilley on the GM deal & related issues. (Lilley’s blog)
    and listen to the interview here

  • Gabby in QC

    Oh, I see commenter JDot over at Joanne's BLY had already linked to Mr. Lilley's interview (June 1st, 2009 at 8:06 pm) a few hours ago.

  • Gayle

    Is that an answer, because I think you are avoiding an answer.

    Or maybe you can tell me what is so funny about reading a great novel ?

  • Wayne

    Careful, wilson. Liberals have no sense of humour, especially when someone dares to poke fun at their annointed one.

  • terry1

    We libs have a sense of humour…we laugh at Harper turning into a socialist all day long. We laugh with Iggy as he becomes the defacto next PM.

  • terry1

    mark, I think you misprepresent some facts here. harper's ads are the “parrot” because they quote iggy. He tuerns around and answers them by being more positive. Iggy's response has already been identified by pollsters as having a positive effect on people.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    It's so true – there is no room for fun in Trudeau's Canada.

    Just raw social engineering, all the time.

  • Gayle

    Oh, I see. That was an example of conservative humour. Making fun of someone for not drinking coffee in the afternoon.

    I get it now – that is absolutely HILARIOUS!

    Or, you know, just pathetic…

  • east of eden

    But not so pathetic that you avoid this blog or commenting.

  • batb

    'Any chance, Stephen, of launching, so that at a glance, we can see what Prime Minister Stephen Harper is accomplishing — given that our MSM never seems to report to Canadians what our government is doing, has done, will do, and is succeeding at? As we all know, our media are all-Liberal, all the time.

    'Sorry, I don't do Twitter or Tweet, or whatever. I find all of this follow me, follow you, follow him, follow her a bit much. Like, who needs over 3000 people knowing that you're having a latte at Starbucks at the corner of Albany and Bloor? I can see Twitter being used as a political tool, but my feeling is that we're all on information overload as it is. Do we need more?

    This may just be inter-generational sour grapes . I'm old enough to be your mother … ;-)

  • Tim Lemieux

    Um, I vote Conservative and I also read War and Peace. Should I change parties? Do I have too much book-learnin?
    I do however drink coffee in the afternoon. Tim Hortons no less.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    Gayle and Terry1 are always such a breath of fresh air.

    So fun loving.

  • Liz J

    Tim Hortons coffee in the afternoon? You have the common touch, Tim, you're in the right party.

  • hosertohoosier

    A lot of these are not funny and too random. Chuck Norris facts are (were, briefly) funny because they portray an exaggerated version of Chuck Norris in an over-the-top way. This is ironic because he is kind of old by now, and obviously not capable of most of the things claimed.

    For iggyfacts to reach that level, I think they need to do one thing: sarcastically praise Michael Ignatieff in an exaggerated way. This parodies the media love-in. So the emphasis shouldn’t be “Michael Ignatieff loves America so much he should marry it.” I actually think it is more effective to sarcastically argue the opposite:

    -Michael Ignatieff is so Canadian he spent 40 years randomly jersey-ing foreigners just to teach them about Canadian values.

    Instead of making snarky comments about how elitist Ignatieff is, make ironic ones about how normal he is.

    -Michael Ignatieff is so average that when polled, even Stephen Harper said he’d rather have a beer with Michael Ignatieff.

    Ignatieff’s position on war crimes in the Israel-Lebanon war?

    Ignatieff didn’t lose any sleep over war crimes because…
    A. Ignatieff is so smart he doesn’t need to sleep. You would understand this yourself, but, you are too stupid
    B. Ignatieff is so hard he shrugs off the minor stuff.

    Maybe some random claims about Ignatieff’s intelligence…

    -Michael Ignatieff’s brain is so powerful that he was used as a consultant for the movie Scanners.
    -Michael Ignatieff is so smart that he invented calculus at age 12. Then he invented history and gave Newton all the credit, because he’s just such a nice guy.
    -Michael Ignatieff writes in a cluttered, tortuous way. That is because if he wrote clearly, our minds would explode.
    -Michael Ignatieff had to leave Britain because the mere proximity of the Queen to his brain was giving her constant orgasms.
    -Michael Ignatieff is so smart, that even if he makes a gaffe, you just know he is going to invent a time machine soon, go back in time, and not commit the gaffe.

    I don’t think any of these are great, but I think that is the gist of the best way to mock Ignatieff.

    I also wonder if there might not be a way to apply the stuffwhitepeoplelike formula to Iggy.

  • terry1

    stephen, speaking of facts, are the reformatory regressive Tories liars or incompetents. I choose both but maybe some input from your readers might shed some light.

    The federal government will run a cumulative deficit of roughly $167-billion over five years — nearly double what Ottawa projected in its most recent budget, economists at Toronto-Dominion Bank said Tuesday.

    As a result, the government will be nowhere near a return to surplus in 2013-14, as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said in his January budget. According to the TD forecast, Ottawa will record a $19.4-billion deficit that fiscal year, as opposed to an anticipated $700-million surplus.


    its amazing the economists can ge tit right but the minister in charge cannot……….they were predicting higher deficits before he came clean last week.

  • kingston

    What amazes me Terry1, is your extremely happy about these articles while at the same time supporting a party that wants to spend more and offers no solutions on how to lower it. So lets get to the chase Terry1, the old put your money where your mouth is. Which of the many policies that your man Iggy has espoused and or supported over the last two years do you agree with. Raising GST, Raising Personal Income Tax, Raising Business Tax. Lower EI to 9 weeks, Universal Child Care, Kelowna Accord, or lets go back in history a bit, supporting torture, supporting the invasion of Iraq, should I go on. Are you one of the political hypocrite Terry1 that asks for something like a massive stimulus package and attacks on the fact that you received what you asked for. Come on Terry1, Your quick to point out the faults of others with overwhelming glee,, what do you stand for.

  • terry1

    Kingston,I'm not happy at all with that article and in fact I am very disgusted that our own finance cannot or will tell us the real facts except in dribs and drabs. That would apply to either party in power.

    The subject is not about Iggy or what he stands for. Its about governments lies and/or incompetence..that's the subkect I posted about.

    I am more than willing to discuss Iggy's potential policies, along with Harper's NCC policy recommendations before he got into public office which is when most of iggy's comments were made. It can't all be one way.

  • terry1

    Much as I have been predicting about Harper:
    Heard this?
    Ray Heard, a former communications director for John Turner, has posted this intriguing little prediction on Facebook today. Given that Ray travels more in Liberal circles than Conservative ones, I think it can be cast more as speculation than insider info. But for what it's worth…

    You Heard it here first. Harper, late in the fall, will announce he is not seeking re-election because he knows the best he could do would be to win yet another miserable minority govt. That will force Michael Ignatieff to give the Tories at least six months to pick a new leader. He will be Jim Prentice, whose able Bay St. team has already done the heavy lifting for him without attracting media scrutiny.

  • Liberal

    Anything to keep Canadians distracted from the news of a deficit of 180 billion over the next five years, eh?

    Stephen Taylor: Enemy of informed political discourse.

  • kingston

    Actually the policies concerning raising taxes, support for National Child Care Program, Kelowna Accord and just for giggles his flip flop on Israel,and asbestos all happened since his return to this country and evaluation to public office so lets talk about them. We can do the same with Harpers statements since he was elected into public office as well. That way were on the same level playing ground and this will not evolve into a conversation about a gentleman who refers to the country of his birth flag as a passing resemblance to a beer label. opps did I just do that, me bad. Ok, you get a free shot at Harper. Fair is Fair. Which of the above do you stand beside Iggy on.

  • kingston

    OMG, You posted this and you expect me to take you serious. It Susan for freak sakes. She hasn't gotten anything right in the last two years and if i remember correctly is married to a official of the LPC. Come on Terry1, your only given so much creditability on a blog, don't waste it on this crap.

  • Soccermom

    All that speculation re Harper is wishful thinking on the part of Liberals and the media, trying to wag the dog.

  • terry1

    Maybe… just maybe she got it right. I have been predicting this since Iggy was chosen to lead the Libs.

    Harper will never ever win a majority and he basically knows he won't win the next election later this year either. He won't allow himself to lose so he will abort.

    As for Susan if she's married to a Liberal insider she would be likely to hear rumours…n'est pas?

  • kingston

    She already gave her source, and I am feeling pretty confident that Harper is not whispering his career plans to a liberal insider Terry1. I personally would be really surprised to see Harper not lead the CPC into the next election. He is to much of a scrapper not to look forward to that fight. In all honestly, there is a reason that the attack/truth ads about Iggy are as gentle as they are, we all know they have much better quotes to inflame the voting public and that those are cards better played in an election campaign. i.e. the beer label, the comments about la belle province. There is a old military saying about keeping your powder dry, and I am confident the CPC is.

  • terry1

    As for keeping powder dry the Libs also have a booty full of ammo to lay on Harpercrite should he choose to run again.

  • kingston

    Well it should be interesting, I acourse expect you to disagree but they have been using everything they have already, and they are only staying even. What do you expect them to bring back the “hidden agenda”. Public opinion has already said except for die hard partisians that the voters are not punishing the govt for a world wide recession. I actually think some of the die hard conservative are more upset with the CPC right now then the public is but then again I also think we will be waiting till after the Olympics to find out.

  • terry1

    Here's another fact and another sure Ontario Liberal seat:

    Insider report from CTV's Robert Fife indicates the federal Liberals are searching for a Ontario riding for the possible return of 'Rock Star' Belinda Stronach… developing

  • Gayle

    Are you serious?

    Your leader brought the party together, but he is the number one reason why your party failed to win a majority.

    The worst thing that could happen to the LPC right now is for Harper to step down and Prentice take his place. I honestly hope it does not happen.

  • Gayle

    I suggest it is kind of dangerous to paint Ignatieff as being anti-Canadian considering some of the things Harper has said in the past. Did Prentice sign that firewall letter???

  • terry1

    No Gayle, you should wish it to happen. Prentice will have to call an election,or be defeated in the house, soon after he wins the nomination and with the economy in tatters from Harper's screwups it will be a Liberal cakewalk.

  • batb

    Gayle: “I suggest it is kind of dangerous to paint Ignatieff as being anti-Canadian …”

    No one's painting Count Iggula as anti-Canadian, rather un-Canadian. There's a difference.

    It's just that he spent 34 of his formative years outside the country, when he in no way contributed to political processes that have brought Canada to where it is today — whether that's a good place or not. He has not paid his dues, he has not slogged in the trenches, he's a Canadian of convenience, a Mikey-come-lately, and there are a lot of us who simply think that he doesn't deserve either the laurel of being the leader of the Opposition by “virtue” of party dictat or of being the potential Prime Minister of a country he obviously thought so little of for most of his adult life.

    Please understand the difference between anti-Canadian and un-Canadian. 'Nice try at spin, though, Gayle.

  • Gabby in QC

    Again with “that firewall letter”!

    I asked your newfound bosom buddy to tell us what was contained in that letter. He refused.
    Can YOU tell us what was in the letter that is SO objectionable?

  • terry1

    BatB…the spin is you and yur obvious lack of understanding about peoples careers. I see no reason why someone can't do what he did and not be able to run for office even the highest office. People get new jobs as CEO in multi billion dollar multinational Companies that have been around for many years and they manage to learn their job.

    Your ignorance in this matter is astoundingly narrow minded and stemsd from your hatred of all things Liberal. Don't be a sheep and think it through on your own. The attack ads are not sinking in with Canadians. get the message. What does sink in is this government's complete chaos in managing the economy.

  • terry1

    Stephen, here's another fact for you:

    As PC Leadership Hopefuls Continue Campaigning,
    McGuinty Liberals (45%) Still Lead Progressive
    Conservatives (32%) By Wide Margin
    But Among Identified Provincial PC Voters,
    Elliott (35%) Leads Hudak (24%), Hillier (22%) and Klees (20%) in
    Preference for Leadership

    Toronto, ON – A new Ipsos Reid poll, conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television, reveals that while the current leadership race for the Ontario Provincial Conservatives may have swelled its own membership ranks as well as the profiles of the four candidates in the media, it has so far failed to translate into support for the PC Party itself among the provincial electorate.

    The new sounding indicates that Premier Dalton McGuinty's Liberals (45%, down 1 point) continue a wide margin (13 points) over the Progressive Conservatives (32%, up one point), with the NDP under its new leader Andrea Horwath also struggling to get traction with only 13% (unchanged) support among decided voters. Also, if an election were held tomorrow the Green Party would receive 10% of the vote (unchanged)—but they too will soon engage in a leadership race as long-time leader Frank de Jong has decided to “call it quits”.

    Is the conservative movement retreating to be a western rump party once again.

  • Beer and Popcorn


    “The attack ads are not sinking in with Canadians. get the message.”

    Terry – what evidence do you have to back up this assertion?

    Methinks you doth protest too much.

  • Gayle

    My first objection is personal, as i am sick and tired of the whining from my fellow Albertans – they think that because the majority of the country do not agree with their political views that there is something wrong with everyone else. They read this freedom of choice as a rejection of Alberta – never once considering that if it is a rejection of anything, perhaps it is Alberta who rejects the rest of the country. Apparently only Albertans are permitted to be rigid in their political views.

    And then the letter goes on to reject the rest of the country. It suggests not only that Alberta should have its own police force (which is perfectly reasonable), but the reason we need our own police force is apparently because the RCMP is a “laboratory for social engineering”. I presume that is a reference to affirmative action programs, and the suggestion in the letter is that such programs reduce the effectiveness and efficiency of the police force.

    Alberta, being wealthy, apparently does not need the rest of Canada, and the rest of Canada needs Alberta's wealth, and if those stupid “Easteners” are not going to vote the way Alberta wants them to, then Alberta is going to withdraw its financial support.

    But perhaps my favourite part of that letter is this:

    “Mr. Premier, we acknowledge the constructive reforms that your government made in the 1990s – balancing the budget, paying down the provincial debt, privatizing government services, getting Albertans off welfare and into jobs, introducing a single-rate tax, pulling government out of the business of subsidizing business, and many other beneficial changes.”

    You see, the way that was accomplished was by eliminating jobs (which really hurt Edmonton's economy since the government is the largest employer here), cutting programs and cutting transfers to the municipalities – the very same measures employed by Chretien that Harper and his boys (and many of their supporters) are constantly complaining about.

    Not only that, but the “welfare rolls” were not reduced by getting more of these people into jobs. What Klein did was give people on welfare a one way ticket to Vancouver and made them BC's problem.

    But this last part is a digression. I understand you would agree with the firewall letter because you may support the decentralization of our federation, but I highly doubt most Canadians would support an agenda that meant the wealthy provinces gets to withdraw their financial contributions to the country on the basis that the rest of the country may vote liberal.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    “on the basis that the rest of the country may vote liberal.”

    Gayle – after the last election, I don't think this is really keeping anyone up at night on the blue team.

  • Gayle

    How nice for you. Sadly, your comment totally misses the point, as the firewall letter was written after Chretien won one of his many majority governments.


  • Gayle

    I get the difference BATB. You think Iggy is un-Canadian because he spent many years teaching at the worlds' most prestigious universities.

    On the other hand, I think Harper is anti-Canadian because of the many anti-Canadian comments he has made over the years.

  • Beer and Popcorn

    Gayle – things have changed pretty dramatically since then. Time for you to stop living in the past glory of former Trudeau and Cretin governments. MILLIONS of former Liberal voters have seen the light in the last few elections and the only side talking about firewalls are the Liberal$ who were desperately trying to hang onto ridings in downtown Toronto last election, their last major stronghold.

    PS – if you don't like Alberta – Canada is still a free country and you are free to move. I think you'd really love Liberal utopia – downtown Toronto. Good opportunity to shore up support!

  • Gabby in QC

    Sorry for the delay in replying to Gayle re: “the firewall letter.” Unfortunately, life does get in the way sometimes …
    Well, here is my reply to Gayle re: the «firewall letter».

    I will not comment on Gayle's “personal” objection, since I have no ties to Alberta other than those of a grateful Canadian who has benefited from Alberta’s very generous contribution to federal equalization coffers. But thank you to Gayle for at least admitting that there are «rigid views» on all sides of the political spectrum.

    Gayle said:
    «And then the letter goes on to reject the rest of the country.»
    Far from «reject the country» what Mr. Harper did was to affirm the provincial jurisdictions established under the BNA of 1867, i.e. the way the Fathers of Confederation envisaged the country should be governed, much like Quebec and some other provinces have traditionally done.
    Don’t merely believe my take on this; read L. Ian Macdonald on the two different approaches to the Canadian Confederation here:

    Gayle goes on to state:
    «It [the letter] suggests not only that Alberta should have its own police force (which is perfectly reasonable), but the reason we need our own police force is apparently because the RCMP is a “laboratory for social engineering”.»
    For someone who usually admonishes her interlocutors to reread some passage or other, or accuses them of not knowing how to read, Gayle has definitely erred in her reading of the letter by saying that it states «… the RCMP is a “laboratory for social engineering”.»
    What was actually said in the letter is the following:
    “… Like the other major provinces of Ontario and Quebec, we should have our own provincial police force. We have no doubt that Alberta can run a more efficient and effective police force than Ottawa can – one that will not be misused as a laboratory for experiments in social engineering.”
    In other words, Mr. Harper was arguing the federal government could not run a provincial police force as efficiently as the province itself could, nor should the federal government be able to misuse such a federally-run police force for some sort of “experiments in social engineering.”

    The letter in no way equated the RCMP with “experiments in social engineering” as Gayle claims.
    That is her take, but it’s the wrong one.
    Perhaps a subtle distinction, but nevertheless a relevant one.

    On another point, Gayle interprets the letter as saying this:
    «Alberta, being wealthy, apparently does not need the rest of Canada, and the rest of Canada needs Alberta's wealth, and if those stupid “Easteners” are not going to vote the way Alberta wants them to, then Alberta is going to withdraw its financial support.»
    But what was actually said in the letter was:
    “In addition, we believe it is imperative for you to take all possible political and legal measures to reduce the financial drain on Alberta caused by Canada’s tax-and-transfer system. The most recent Alberta Treasury estimates are that Albertans transfer $2,600 per capita annually to other Canadians, for a total outflow from our province approaching $8 billion a year. The same federal politicians who accuse us of not sharing their “Canadian values” have no compunction about appropriating our Canadian dollars to buy votes elsewhere in the country.”

    Where did it say anything about «stupid Easterners» or Alberta threatening other provinces to comply with its demands, otherwise it would «withdraw its financial support»?
    That is Gayle’s very imaginative interpretation, but again the wrong one.
    What WAS said is that Alberta, like other provinces, should be able to keep more of its revenues in order to meet the needs of its own population, i.e. reduce the outflow, NOT stop it altogether.
    Once again, let us remember rhetoric does not necessarily equal reality.

    Gayle then states:
    «I understand you would agree with the firewall letter because you may support the decentralization of our federation, but I highly doubt most Canadians would support an agenda that meant the wealthy provinces gets [sic] to withdraw their financial contributions to the country on the basis that the rest of the country may vote liberal.»
    Yes, I do agree with the ideas advanced in the letter, simply because it adheres to the principles of the BNA of 1867, which allows the provinces and the federal government each to exercise their own rights within their own jurisdictions.
    Finally, in order to dispel all the inaccurate allusions made to this now notorious «firewall letter» let me quote what Mr. Harper and the other signatories (no, Jim Prentice was not one of them) were asking Premier Klein to consider doing:
    1. “Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan to create an Alberta Pension Plan offering the same benefits at lower cost while giving Alberta control over the investment fund. …”
    Like Quebec has been doing since the inception of the CPP in the 60s – which BTW was a plan initiated by the Diefenbaker Conservatives although finalized by the Pearson Liberals.
    2. “Collect our own revenue from personal income tax, as we already do for corporate income tax. … Any incremental cost of collecting our own personal income tax would be far outweighed by the policy flexibility that Alberta would gain, as Quebec’s experience has shown.”
    3. “Start preparing now to let the contract with the RCMP run out in 2012 and create an Alberta Provincial Police Force. …” Like Ontario and Quebec have.
    4. “Resume provincial responsibility for health-care policy. If Ottawa objects to provincial policy, fight in the courts. … Alberta should also argue that each province should raise its own revenue for health care – i.e., replace Canada Health and Social Transfer cash with tax points as Quebec has argued for many years. Poorer provinces would continue to rely on Equalization to ensure they have adequate revenues.”
    Notice no mention whatsoever of withdrawing Alberta’s financial support from the rest of the provinces.
    5. “Use section 88 of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Quebec Secession Reference to force Senate reform back onto the national agenda. …”
    Unfortunately, the link for the full text of the letter is no longer working, so I am not including it here.

    So – there we have the major points advanced in the “firewall letter.” Opponents of Mr. Harper regularly use it as a cudgel to imply all sorts of dire suspicious meanings, as suggested by Gayle’s post.
    Isn’t it time Mr. Harper’s opponents stopped waving around that silly cudgel in hopes that it becomes a magic wand, imparting whatever meaning they themselves give to the actual letter?

  • kingston

    Extremely well written and clearly explained Gabby. It will make no difference to Gayle though as I can personally attest to over the last four years that I have read and commented on Blogs, Gayle has yet to acknowledge on even one occasion that she was wrong or for that matter the other parties with the exception of the CPC have ever been wrong. I personally just skip over her posts for the most part now and engage others who are open to debate and an exchange of ideas which is a concept that Gayle does not seem to want to grasp.

  • Liz J

    Gabby, your efforts here will not be appreciated, that word “firewall” is embedded in their brains, never mind the context in which was used, no matter. It's a word that serves their purpose well because of it's connotations.

    At least our PM has had some good ideas and has come through the ranks to become leader of a party and PM.
    If we had a bit of fairness in the media and respect for the person who hold the Office of PM it would be nice.
    In spite of the lack of such considerations he has managed to do a great deal while in a minority situation.

    It's quite comical to watch the maneuvering of the Liberals, voting for the budget then whining about it. Calling for more spending then whining about the deficit. threatening to bring down the government while saying the people don't want an election. They MAY be right on that one, an election every year is a bit much just to appease the Liberals. They are the worst Opposition in Canadian history. They still have the Coalition Iggy signed on to if Jack isn't too bruised.