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6 posts from June 2008

June 16, 2008

Pew Research Study: Political Engagement Online


This is certainly a statistic worth getting excited about.

According to the Pew Research Center, 46 percent of American adults are currently using the internet, email or phone text messaging for political purposes.

Their activities include getting news and information about the campaign, using email to discuss campaign-related matters, or using phone texting for the same purpose.

What's really exciting is that 19% of Americans report going online once a week or more to do something related to the campaign, while 6% report going online to engage politically on a daily basis.

I would love to see some statistics on the number of Canadians who are using the Internet as a tool for political engagement. My sense is that we've bounced back from the voter apathy that plagued us a few years back, with voters having been galvanized by a number of different issues. But it would be fascinating to see what the specific research indicates. Does anyone know of a Canadian study similar to the Pew Research Study?

June 13, 2008

Swaying Joe Public: From Widgets to Votes

After watching this excerpt from The Corporation, I couldn't help but wonder whether corporate-style buzz marketing techniques are used to influence voters. For example, are people hired to carry on casual conversations on buses and subways about how fabulous a particular candidate is, in the hope of influencing Joe Public to vote a particular way?  It's an interesting question -- and one that would make a fabulous documentary, don't you think?

By the way, if you haven't seen The Corporation, rent, borrow, or purchase a copy this weekend. It's an absolute must-see (unless, of course, you prefer to remain comfortably numb).

June 11, 2008

How'd They Vote? The coolest tool ever!


I'm sure many of you discovered this tool a long time ago, but I didn't stumble across it until today.

I think it's the best thing for democracy since the invention of the Parliamentary Channel. (Actually, it may be an better invention. This allows you to get the information you want without suffering through the Ottawa version of Wrestlemania.)

Not that there are too many surprises in so far as my own MP was concerned. It was the party line all the way.

June 05, 2008

For Every Kind Action There Is An Equal and Opposite Unkind Action

Cutlery You wouldn't think that shaving your head to raise money for a Cops for Cancer fundraiser could end up costing you your job, would you?

Neither did Owen Sound mom Stacy Fearnill.

But she now finds herself "laid off for a few months" -- presumably until her hair grows back.

Stacy's husband John has written this lovely post in support of Stacy, which also includes an update on the human rights advice the family has received to date.

It's unbelievable that such a good deed could end up going so terribly wrong. Let's hope that this wrong ends up being righted soon.

June 03, 2008

The Maternal is Political, indeed

Maternalispolitical_2 I just received my two contributors copies of The Maternal is Political, a fabulous new collection of essays edited by Shari MacDonald Strong. I was lucky enough to receive my copies hot off the press because I wrote one of the essays in the collection ("Campaign Confidential" -- a first-person account of what it was like to be a political newbie volunteering on a Federal candidate's nomination campaign last year; and why I felt compelled to go from being largely apolitical to politically obsessed, virtually overnight).

Here's a brief excerpt from my essay:

"I hadn't intended to become involved with anyone's political nomination campaign. I hadn't intended to become political at all. But early in the fall of 2006, the nine-month-old Conservative government in Canada (a government that can best be described as 'Bush lite') began slashing funding to, and redefining the mandate of, the federal department in charge of women's issues. The rationale? Women were already equal (or "equal enough," as some people were putting it). I followed the dialog online at grassroots websites that sprang up to challenge the cuts. I looked at my eighteen-year-old daughter and thought how very unequal her generation of women remained, and said to myself, I don't think so. Then I discovered that my local Member of Parliament had refused to carry forward a petition to the House of Commons, signed by local constituents, protesting these very changes. I took note, using an angry red pen."
- Ann Douglas, "Campaign Confidential," The Maternal is Political

The book was published this week by Seal Press. 338 pages. Contributors include Ann Douglas, Benazir Bhutto, Susie Bright, Gayle Brandeis, Alisa Gordaneer, Marrit Ingman, Barbara Kingsolver, Anne Lamott, Beth Osnes, Jennifer Margulis, Nancy Pelosi, Rebecca Walker, Cindy Sheehan, Judith Stadtman Tucker, Anna Quindlen, Marion Winik, and others.   

June 02, 2008

Dean Del Mastro Election Sign Mystery

Img_5803_3 I was quite surprised to see "Elect Dean Del Mastro" signs appear in every window of an empty retail unit on a high-traffic corner in downtown Peterborough last week (at Charlotte and Aylmer, to be specific).

I began to worry that some misguided soul had not yet figured out that Dean Del Mastro, had, in fact been elected two-and-a-half years ago.

The signs were gone this morning.

It reminds me of the case of the disappearing train (the train that actually ended up being a promise of a feasibility study for a train, jointly paid for by the province).

So many mysteries for one riding. And Sherlock Holmes isn't even from around here.