Mark Holland on Twitter

October 5, 2009:

Liberal MP Mark Holland is among the majority of the MPs in the 308-seat House of Commons who have not signed on to Twitter.

He sees it as an “info-dumping” medium and says he cannot find a compelling reason to start tweeting.

“You can’t get very much in 140 characters,” he says. “It tends to lend itself to a lot of really useless information.”

5 hours ago:

“looking forward to connecting with my constituents in a new and exciting way – please follow me on twitter.”

Perhaps the threat of a star candidate in Ajax-Pickering made Holland think again about the need to connect in more ways with his constituents.

h/t

Call and answer

I like Warren Kinsella. One of the reasons I like him is because he went for my open question, brought in the other side to weigh in, and now this allows us to fill in the blanks too. Oh, and he introduced me to Bob Rae, the next leader of the Liberal party!

Tweet the first:

Tweet the second:

Other potential tweets:

“Senate reform: can’t wait to pass legislation that has popular support by folks that have a democratic mandate from Canadians! The scotch budget, however, will remain.”

“Respect for the Alberta: Liberal-free since 2006. WK may return but has to wear black hat in the parade”

“When the ‘decade of darkness’ for the military re: Liberal investment is so far in the past, kids file it along with ‘moon landing’ and ‘Michael Jackson’ as crazy #$@* that happened that only our history books can really tell us about”

“When the Liberal party stops offering us out-of-touch humanities professors to feast upon, and tosses us a street-brawler like Jean Chretien or (oh please) Ruby Dhalla”

“When ‘Unity Crisis’ is mistaken as the name for an 80s revival band that covers Starship, rather than our recurring Liberal ballot headache”

What other things are you hopeful for in the future?

Just where does Ignatieff stand on the HST? Or on anything?

A week ago, I wrote about BC Liberal party MP Ujjal Dosanjh’s characterization of the BC HST as the “Harper Sales Tax”. I pointed out that it was quite a stretch for the former NDP Premier of that province, given that the party he formerly led in that province put the blame squarely on the provincial policy writers — the BC Liberal government.

Dosanjh responded to my comments explaining that the BC Liberals and federal Liberals are two different parties and suggested I was trying to link the two, but yet he’s the one who went out of his way to shift his scorn from those Liberals to the Conservatives in Ottawa. Politics is local and Dosanjh — scraping by with a narrow victory in 2008 by 22 votes — is tapping into a hotly debated populist issue in that province. But is this wise for him?

Despite this, does he have a point? While Dosanjh acts as an apologist for Liberal premier Gordon Campbell, essentially decrying that “Harper made him do it”, tax harmonization was suggested and incentivized at the federal level. However, if harmonization is unpopular in BC, voters are likely to blame those that signed off of on the policy and implemented it into law — ie. the jurisdictional authority — the BC Liberal government. And while we awkwardly parse how related or non-related these Liberals are to those Liberals and which Liberals like taxes and which ones don’t, the overall story then evolved.

Dosanjh’s words rang a bit more hollow this week when Ontario finance minister Dwight Duncan — a Liberal himself — said that Michael Ignatieff had approved of the HST and would help Ontario along its path to harmonization should he become Prime Minister. These Liberals, as Mr. Dosanjh will undoubtedly note, are very much related to their federal Liberal cousins.

Yesterday, Ignatieff’s finance critic John McCallum cited a “miscommunication” when it came to his leader’s position on the HST, while today Ontario Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty said that Ignatieff gave him the “clearest of impressions” that he would support the tax.

These days it seems difficult to nail Michael Ignatieff down on any controversial issue. His position on a number of issues from Iraq, to George W Bush, to coercive interrogation, to a Liberal-NDP coalition, to harmonization have evolved drastically over time. By refusing to settle on any particularly substantive issue, Ignatieff is trying to give the impression that he supports your point of view on public policy (whatever it may be). A cynical observer might suggest that this strategy may work for the disengaged soft Liberal supporter.

However, as anyone that runs a focus group will tell you, on the issue of taxes Liberals have always had an wide credibility gap to bridge. Now that two Liberal provincial governments are implementing a harmonized sales tax while the federal Liberal leader seems to at best support it or at worse waffle on it, Liberals — of varied associations — are finding the gap becoming a gulf. For Ujjal Dosanjh, whose riding lists crime as the other top-of-mind issue — another focus group nightmare for the Liberals — perhaps its time to focus on new messaging.

We hear rumours…

some good, some bad…

This rumour came in via Twitter:

InfluenceComm (Jean-François Dumas): RUMOUR IN THE MEDIA: resignation of PM (Harper) next week.

Is the source credible? Who is Jean-François Dumas? What is InfluenceComm?

From Marketing Magazine, February 23rd, 1998:

The CBC has preliminary audience numbers for its Olympics coverage. On Monday, Feb. 9, an average 1.48 million Canadians watched prime time coverage. That peaked at 1.77 million between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. On Tuesday, Feb. 10, 1.66 million watched from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; that number jumped to 2.33 million from 9:30 p.m. to midnight, peaking at 3.05 million between 10:30 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. That night the International Olympic Committee stripped snowboarder Ross Rebagliati of his gold medal.

The Royal Bank and AT&T have formed the first Canadian alliance between a bank and a long-distance company. Connect@work combines Internet access with on-line banking. It debuted Feb. 9, and it’s only available to businesses banking with Royal. Jo-Anne Wade, manager for E-Commerce marketing at the Royal Bank, says that demand for this type of service is increasing: “There is a growing number of small businesses getting onto the Web,” she says. “This is designed to make it easier for them.”

Montreal’s Groupaction/JWT has created an agency-within-an-agency with GroupaXion New Media, headed by Jean-Francois Dumas. It offers planning and creative services for clients such as the Treasury Board of Canada, showing them how to use technologies including the Internet, intranets, Web sites, debit cards and CD-ROMs for promotional purposes.

Shell Canada Products Ltd., a subsidiary of Shell Canada, is the official sponsor of Ted and Tony’s Inside Track,”the most watched automotive information program” in Canada, Shell says. A survey of 1997

Groupaction… where have we heard that name before?

From the Gomery inquiry documentation:

Mr. J. Brault and his wife, Ms Joane Archambault, started Groupaction Marketing Inc. (“Groupaction”) in 1982.

The main operating companies were:

a) Groupaction Marketing – the primary advertising and marketing
company; and

b) Alléluia Design (“Alléluia”) – a company operating in the field of
artistic and graphic design.

In November 1997 Groupaxion Nouveaux Médias (“Groupaxion”) was
incorporated to operate in the fields of interactive media and web sites.

GroupaXion New Media was owned by Jean Brault and headed up by Jean-Francois Dumas. Now, a man named Jean-Francois Dumas runs a Montreal new media firm called Influence Communication and he’s starting the spread of a rumour on Twitter about the Prime Minister resigning.

C’est intéressant, non?

Announcing IggyFacts.ca

Today, I launched a new political mini-site at IggyFacts.ca.

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 = IggyFacts.ca

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.

BC Hookers get media training for Olympics, paid for by the taxpayer?

According to the Times & Transcript,

VANCOUVER – Vancouver sex trade workers need to know their rights when dealing with cameras and reporters and will be offered media training leading up to the 2010 Olympic Games, an advocacy group said.

The Prostitution Alternatives Counselling and Education Society (PACE) will hold the session in November.

“We just want our members to feel safe in the neighbourhood in which they live and safe to work in the neighbourhood in which they live,” said spokeswoman Kerry Porth.

“We find sometimes that media attention to the area can be a little less than compassionate and we don’t want them to feel like animals in a zoo during that time.”

Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation asks on Twitter, “Hookers get media training for Olympics. Are taxpayers paying for this?” and provides a link to the T&T article.

Kevin, the answer is probably yes.

And then there were three

Christine Elliott is the latest to announce her entry into the Ontario PC leadership race following Frank Klees and Randy Hillier.  Elliott announced on Twitter just after midnight earlier this morning and will be doing some press soon to give detail of her plans.

I met Elliott just last weekend as she stopped by Ottawa to measure support for a potential bid.  I asked if she could differentiate herself from the other candidates and she replied, in obvious reference to Tim Hudak, that she’s not a career politician and that she brings “real-world” experience to the race.  Asked for an example of a public policy initiative she would highlight should she lead the opposition in Queen’s Park she replied that the PC Party should emphasize its strength on its mental health strategy for Ontario.  As for education which became the biggest snag for the party led by John Tory during the last election, Elliott conceded that vouchers and charter school would likely be off the table as something the party should champion over the coming years.

Randy Hillier also announced this week and exploded out of the gate with a very professional Hopey-Changey-styled website that emphasized three distinct policies that the former head of the Lanark Landowners Association would strive for in Ontario’s public policy debate.  Abolishment of the Human Rights Commission, Senate elections for Ontario and a “Freedom of Association and Conscience Act” (allowing individuals to opt out of activities in their professions which they find morally objectionable) are the policy initiatives that Hillier will be selling at the doors over the next three (three?!) months.  It is rumoured (though with some suspicion) that Hillier has already sold 2500 memberships.

Frank Klees, perhaps sensing that Hillier was set to announce on Monday, did his best to preempt the announcement by letting his intentions be known on Sunday.  The former Harris cabinet minister and well-liked caucus member disappointed some as he launched without much fanfare or campaign.

Another former Harris cabinet minister is also set to announce though it is unknown as to when.  The perceived (self-styled) front-runner of the race is Tim Hudak, who also has the backing of the former premier.  I attended a breakfast meeting with Hudak a few weeks ago and it’s not much of a scoop to tell you that he is lining up for a serious bid.  Asked then if he’d be announcing soon, he replied that for now he’s only encouraging a dialogue on the future direction of the party.  Of course, he’ll be entering soon, but he’s holding off for strategic reasons.  Like Fred Thompson in the 2008 GOP bid for nomination, an unannounced perceived front-runner can keep his name in the gossip of partisans and media alike by keeping the will-he-or-won’t-he chatter going, though like Thompson, withholding does not necessarily protect a candidate from flopping.  Though his allies in the party executive have engineered a short race in his favour, Hudak will still have to contend among a field of strong candidates.

Conservative staffers in Ottawa are split between Elliott, who is also the wife of federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, and Hillier who carries the true-blue banner of provincial conservatism for many in this town.  Many of the old pros and much of the provincial party establishment are lining up behind Hudak while the new pros are putting their chips on Elliott.

Preston Manning townhall

Thanks to everyone that tuned in. We had a bit of a technical glitch going in that prevented the recording of the video but we’ve addressed the problem now.

We’ll be doing more of these in the future on a regularly scheduled basis with other voices from the conservative movement so I hope that you’ll tune in.

We also experimented lightly with Twitter for this townhall, allowing people to submit their questions live as they watched the video. We’ll be using it as a channel in from the community so that we can increase interactivity during these events. The political model is not broadcast out from politicians to democratic stakeholders, it’s narrowcast in from democratic stakeholders to politicians.