Candidate claims to know the ropes
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Categories: History,PCAA,Politics

Cunningham, Jim. Calgary Herald [Calgary, Alta] 30 Apr 1992: B1.

In the race for the Calgary Buffalo Conservative nomination it may not matter so much who the candidate is or who he knows, but where he lives.

Rod Love doesn`t live in the inner- city riding, facing a byelection this spring as a result of the death in January of its MLA, Sheldon Chumir.

But that isn`t the issue, Love told a news conference held Wednesday to announce his candidacy for the Buffalo Tory nomination.

The issue, Love told nine media people and 25 Calgary Conservatives, is picking someone who knows the political ropes.

“I think the people of Calgary Buffalo will be well served by having someone who understands the process” whether it is at city hall, the legislature, or across the province, said Love, who works in Edmonton as aide to Ralph Klein, the minister of environment and former mayor of Calgary.

Love`s announcement marked his second plunge into elective politics. He lost the Tory nomination for the 1988 federal election in his home riding, Calgary South East, to Lee Richardson.

Del Iannucci thinks home address and a community connection are important.

Iannucci, a 37-year-old planning consultant and member of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, lives in Scarboro, an upper crust neighborhood in the heart of the riding.

He`s also a long-time member of the Buffalo constituency association board, an a volunteer for various community groups.

Being an active resident of the riding “is the only way,” Iannucci said. “I think it makes a significant difference.”

Iannucci said he has lived in Buffalo since the early `80s and knows community problems and feelings first-hand.

In an earlier interview, Tory riding president Troy Wason said the nomination meeting for Buffalo is likely in the week after the Victoria Day holiday next month.

The byelection is expected sometime in late June.

Also seeking election in Buffalo are Liberal Gary Dickson and New Democrat Elaine Husband. Both won their nominations by acclamation earlier this spring.

There is so much good…
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Categories: Digital Media

There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us.

Edward Wallis Hoch, Marion (Kansas) Record (1849 – 1925)

We have witnessed much in recent days about how making assumptions about people and their perceived state of mental health or lack of character can be fraught with hidden minefields. And, many times, we find ourselves guilty of having judged and cast the first stone as though we were superior or above the fray. Words such as selfish, corrupt, suicidal, entitled, etc. have been bandied about with foolish abandon to wound those with whom we do not agree or do not understand.

The anonymity of the digital age has punctuated the degree to which we can strike our ‘enemies’, real or otherwise, and fly away to our moral high ground from whence we are perched. And, thus, our self-made pedestals give us a birds-eye view of those we deem lesser and allow us the elevation to shit on those we perceive as mere mortals.

Meanness is not new. It is part of the human condition. What is new is the speed in which hatred, misunderstanding, distrust, and innuendo can travel and the distance from which we can strike. With drone-like precision we can hit our foe and retreat into obscurity. And, all too often, the recipient finds little or no opportunity for recourse or an arena to defend themselves.

What of the attacker? Unfortunately, they slither back to the dark hole from whence they came; congratulating themselves on a job well-done. Damage complete.

What is the toll? This week we saw how serial trolls, running sockpuppet Twitter accounts, harassed the grieving Zelda Williams to the point of her turning off her account. Closer to home, I have seen friends delete their own personal accounts, some of whom I encouraged to open in the first place, for many of the same reasons. The conversation was over. The trolls had won.

Not surprisingly, I have had little interaction on Twitter (joined 2007) since the spring of 2012 when it became apparent to me it had become an echo chamber for hyper-partisans, and the previously mentioned trolls.

The irony in the promise of social networking is not lost on me. Yesterday, I shouted to my digital world how I was given exceptional service by the fine folks who toil at my local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. Not only could I thank the employees in person, but I could tell my social network how pleased I was when given said amazing service. Win-Win.

I live for debate, discussion, and conversation. It is my passion. Often, I agree to disagree. Move on. Find a new hill in which to battle. Learning from those I do not find myself in agreement with is one of my joys in life. Some who read this post know who they are and know how much I appreciate them. And, hopefully, I have shown them the respect they deserve by engaging with me.

The promise of social media in 2007 made me an instant convert. I still believe in the potential, but I am more cautious today. To paraphrase: social media doesn’t hurt people, people hurt people.

My friends and family have differing political, social, and religious viewpoints and for this I am thankful. They stimulate my brain and reinvigorate my soul. They agree/disagree with my world view and allow for my ignorance. They are real.

Those who anonymously attack, run, hide, and destroy are also real, but irrelevant in my world. The line must be drawn. The pendulum swings. Currently, the trolls are winning, but I am optimistic a day will come when we say enough is enough. Today is my day.

Peter Lougheed’s Address to the 1967 PCAA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Categories: Annual General Meeting,History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

A short two and one-half years ago, we met here in this very room — Our past was unspectacular — our future uncertain — but we decided then and there to build — for the first time — a strong Progressive Conservative party in Alberta. To our critics we were an unpromising party with an impossible task. Today, even the critics concede that while the task remains difficult, we have firmly established ourselves — Established ourselves as the alternative — the alternative to the present complacent administration in Alberta. We have the potential — we have the opportunity — we must realize our potential — grasp our opportunity. We have begun to prove our promise. But we have only begun.

Peter Lougheed

Peter Lougheed addresses PCAA supporters, 1967. Photo Credit: Lougheed Family archives

I would first like to make a few brief comments upon our organizational progress. There is really no need to emphasize to you in this room that the best of ideas — the best of people — will flounder and dissipate without effective organization — Organization to cause the communication of our views — of our candidates — to the public of this province.

We now have an effective central political organization — It has gaps — but on balance and in comparison it is well established. The two offices need your continued tangible support. But they are working — creating a close liaison between provincial and federal constituencies — between M.P.’s and MLA’s — we have, as you know, working committees at the central nerve centre — in finance – in policy research – in communications – in organization — forming the second line behind your provincial executive and your caucus. We now have reasonable communication with the Party-at-large through the Alberta Conservative Newsletter, which is being received by a mailing list in excess of 8 thousand interested Albertans.

The Alberta Conservative

We conducted an election campaign last spring which, though limited by finances, was positive, responsible – and featured the finest slate of provincial candidates this province has ever seen. I was proud to be associated with each and every one of them. They did a great job — and the slate will be even stronger next time.

Our weakness was obvious — We were too late getting many of our candidates into the field — and we failed to field candidates in all constituencies. (I had many voters tell me since the election how disappointed they were that we did not run a Conservative candidate in their area.) (Our Platform was the only one which bore the independent views of most of our candidates. It was not issued as a directive from Party Headquarters).

We have, therefore, created an initial public awareness of our Party. There are many in this room in attendance for the first time — There are many more watching these proceedings – observing progress with considerable interest. They want to join — they want to be part – but they are watching — looking for something first. What is it? They want to be assured that this is truly a “people’s party”. They want to feel they are welcome — That their views will be listened to — that there is a place for people of all ages — A place for people from every part of Alberta — from every walk of life — A place for people with a common philosophy. But prepared to accept different views as to how to apply such a philosophy — A party where there is leadership – executive responsibility – organizational procedure — But a party which is democratic — and welcomes new members – new ideas – has open meetings – open nominations – an absence of mystery or intrigue. That’s the kind of party my colleagues and I want — It’s the kind of a party the people of Alberta want us to be — I hope — better than that — I’m confident — it’s the kind of party you want.

The next stage in our move forward is to accept and to concentrate our energies on curing our major defect as a provincial party. Our weakness, frankly, is provincial constituency organization. There are many good ones — But not nearly enough. Our target — eighteen months from now – actually a short time – viable and effective provincial constituency organization — already by then searching for — lining up — top flight nominees for Progressive Conservative nominations — Preparing to elect future Conservative MLA’s. That’s our target — My responsibility – but also yours – Let’s meet the target. Tomorrow mornings session is critical — One of the most important at this Annual Meeting. It’s on Constituency Organization. It’s your opportunity to express your ideas on organization — we look forward to hearing them.

But over and above the responsibility for the Party as such, we have the public responsibility of the Official Opposition in the Alberta Legislature. We must not forget – that with candidates in only 2/3 of the ridings — we secured 27% of the vote — and the present party has the support of only 44% — Less than a majority of the people of Alberta. Yet they have 55 members compared to our six. This is our public responsibility — it requires that the Party interest be constantly weighed in relation to the public interest.

Our duty as the Official Opposition is to first inquire – to thoroughly scrutinize – to bring into public focus – what’s really going on in Alberta — What’s happened in those public buildings over there — what it all means in terms of each individual Albertan – perhaps, for the first time in 32 years. Then to oppose, when we feel that a program or an estimate is not in the larger public interest — Not to oppose merely for the sake of opposing — and to approve when we think that a measure or an estimate is sound. Then, in time, for ourselves to propose how we believe we can be doing better in Alberta — and at the same time, as MLA’s to always remember that we represent a particular constituency – a specific part of the province.

This is our task — a challenging one — we know we have a lot to learn — that we are opposing an entrenched bureaucracy of 32 years — But we have a fine team — I’d like you to meet your Conservative Team.

(Introduction of the 5 Conservative MLA’s)

The Original Six

The Original Six: Len Werry, Lou Hyndman, Hugh Horner, Peter Lougheed, David Russell, and Don Getty. Photo Credit: Edmonton Journal

This is the nucleus of a new approach – A new team.

Alberta – at this time and at this stage of its history – is at the crossroads — A most important time for the people and for the Legislature. We face a financial situation which can fairly be termed a crisis. We are in debt in Alberta — Our unencumbered reserves have been wiped out in a very short period of time — yet our existing public spending programs exceed our anticipated revenue sources — aside, altogether, from expected new demands for the tax dollar — A financial crisis that must be resolved — and resolved in a provincial economy that now rates only fourth in Canada.

So we are at the Crossroads.

We have three choices. We can continue the complacent drift of the past 5 to 8 years — coasting on our petroleum industry. Or, we can move to an even more big government – big business orientated province – a highly controlled and centralized province – managed by an alleged “all wise” Board of Directors — The sort of managed environment implied by a recent White Paper. Or, we can move to a de-centralized individualistic – admittedly, not always efficient – open society, where the emphasis is on growth — individual opportunity — and quality of life. We choose the latter – but it will be a hard battle to assure such a direction for Alberta. WHY? Because the present administration will either continue to drift as they are, or follow their computer toward deciding what’s good for us every day of the week and perhaps even twice on certain days!

Make no mistake about it – The financial position of Alberta has altered dramatically and adversely in the last two years — It might not be admitted – But what are some of the facts? We had a deficit of 82 million dollars last year – we have an estimated deficit of 80 million dollars this year — Almost 160 million dollars in two years. Our debt – the direct and guaranteed liabilities of the province – substantially exceed our liquid reserves — On a per capita basis, the province’s liabilities have doubled in six years. At the same time, our rate of provincial government expenditure has also doubled — doubled in six years!

We spend double per capita compared to Ontario – far larger than any other province. We have done this, yet we face – as a province at the provincial and municipal level combined — a future education bill which could almost triple in the next 8 years – to one billion dollars per year on educational costs alone by 1975. We also face an immediate and completely unknown bill to pay for the Alberta Health Plan — All at a time when many of our municipalities are in a difficult financial position and when property tax levels have reached new highs. This has happened in a province which has been fortunate enough to receive into its provincial government coffers in excess of 2 billion dollars from the petroleum industry — something other provinces would dearly love to have – something other provinces with the same demands for services have not had. And yet Alberta remains as only the fourth province on a per capita income basis — There is certainly a myth of performance in Alberta – a myth that must be exposed.

It seems that we have three routes to go in Alberta. Three alternative roads to travel in the future.

We can continue our complacent drift – relying on our capital revenues from the petroleum industry to provide for our day to day public service needs. In short, we can sell the house and use the proceeds to buy groceries. We can continue to create a false sense of security that everything is great in good old Alberta – that anybody who says it isn’t so is playing politics. We can continue to drift without targets – without priorities – without a long term plan – and giving rosy reports to the so-called shareholders from time to time — reacting to only the most strident voices of the moment.

OR, we can go down a new and different route. Its signs are the signs of the computer. It looks modern on the surface – up to date – even exciting. It uses fancy terms like Human Resources. It’s intriguing – but what does it mean? What is the destination? Upon careful study, it seems to us that the destination is clear — It means Big Government – a big business orientated province – limited chance to control our own individual economic destinies. The be all and end all down this route is administrative efficiency. And democracy? Well, only if it is efficient. The key to the route is that somebody else knows better than you what’s good for you. It creates a super bureaucracy conducted by big brother. In short, it’s Paternalism at its worst. I’m not interested in the colour of the paper — I’m interested in how the program affects the citizen of Alberta – Does it help him? Serve him? Or merely cost him more? We do agree that every effort must be made to give full opportunity for the people of this province to develop their capacities. But people are not a resource – something to be used. We in public life are the servants of the people – elected to serve you – your representatives — We are not always right — We certainly are not infallible.

OR, finally, we can return to a tried and tested route – one that we know – one that works — one that has new turns – new conditions – arising out of todays circumstances. Hence, it requires contemporary ideas – a modern point of view. It’s a route where complacency is dangerous – energy essential – a fresh new approach always required — It is an open society. It is the route where the emphasis is on opportunity – on enterprise – on accelerated growth – on research – on investment in tomorrow – Where efficiency is important, but democracy more important – where government believes that, if given the facts, the people will support logic – that there is no need to mislead – that there are matters more important than government – that the quality of life must be balanced with affluence.

So we are at the crossroads. We have three distinct routes to go. We would like to see the people of Alberta go down this latter route toward an open society. It’s the Conservative way — We think it’s the right way — It’s where the individual is paramount. But it’s not an easy road. It has a road map that is sometimes hard to read – At times hard to explain. It’s not always easy to know when you are still on the road.

For this reason, it is essential that a Party who wants to proceed down such a road has Guideposts to point the way.

At the last Annual Meeting of the Party, we put before you Twelve Guideposts for the Alberta Conservative Party. It should be emphasized that we are the only Party in Alberta to have done this to date. We are, in short, the only Party with a declared set of meaningful principles and values established for our position in provincial politics. We used these Guideposts in the last election. We used them to test the consistency of our Platform to assure if reflected the Conservative principles. We used them to explain to our candidates what we stand for.

What Do We Stand For?

This afternoon you will be asked to confirm them – or amend them. For we must always know what we stand for – what our purpose is. It is not merely victory at the polls.

With such a set of Guideposts, the Conservative position can be evaluated on the major issues facing Alberta today — On priorities in public spending — on the distinction between an essential service and a desirable one — on the expansion of our economic pie, rather than the mere redistribution of it — on our reliance on the voluntary efforts of our citizens, compared with those of our bureaucracy — on the individual’s right to exercise his judgement without being regimented in the guise of public benefit — on whether or not we are prepared to accept the concept in our society that rights are the rewards of responsibility.

And perhaps in confirming these guideposts, we will see that the issues facing Alberta are complex and difficult — That the honeymoon is over in Alberta — that there are no easy answers. But nevertheless, that the issues must be faced — The public must be informed. The public good sense and judgement must be relied upon.

And with such guideposts, Alberta can have a fresh new approach to its public affairs. An approach which challenges the public-at-large – moves our society forward toward common objectives.

Objectives of:-

  • The highest quality educational system.
  • The elimination of shortages in Health and other public services.
  • The reduction in the numbers of dependents on Welfare.
  • The improvement in our income levels to that comparable with any other province.
  • Accomplished with the framework of a provincial and municipal financial structure of stability.

Such objectives to be realized within a Canadian Confederation – whose unity develops with the active participation and with the political leadership of the people of this great province of Alberta.

[ADDRESS OF PETER LOUGHEED – TO THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE PARTY OF ALBERTA – MACDONALD HOTEL – EDMONTON, ALBERTA, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 1967. GLENBOW ARCHIVES]

A holiday weekend’s for shaking hands
Sunday, January 12, 2014

Categories: History,Lougheed,PCAA,Politics

THE CALGARY HERALD, August 3, 1971

Peter Lougheed took a rest from fighting issues and wooing voters Saturday, but he didn’t get much of a holiday.

While most citizens relaxed in vacation lands during the holiday weekend, the provincial Conservative leader hop-scotched across Calgary in an open convertible for personal glimpses of the party’s campaign headquarters in 11 city ridings.

Despite the holiday and hot, muggy weather, scores of local party workers clustered at each point to shake hands with their beaming leader and report on campaign efforts within the riding.

VISITS BRIEF

The visits were brief, as the three-man Lougheed party was careful not to fall too far behind the tight schedule and keep workers elsewhere waiting.

A five-minute talk on the overall campaign to date (“It’s been absolutely buoyant”), some anecdotes, a glance at the coloured-in street maps of the riding, a quick huddle with the candidate and Mr. Lougheed was off for the next headquarters.

“You can’t be a remote leader,” he said later. “The thing I’m looking for at each place is the sparkle — I’ve been through enough campaigns to know when it’s there.”

Along the route Lougheed’s message to the party faithful seldom varied — keep up the fight and don’t forget you’re working for a “tremendous candidate.”

OUTDOORS SETTINGS

Campaign organizers were told to schedule events for the outdoors in settings which would involve the whole family.

At Roy Farran’s Calgary-North Hill base Mr. Lougheed drank two glasses of ginger ale and chatted with ladies, admired a small poodle wearing a coat with Lougheed markings at Fred Peacock’s Calgary-Currie centre and jumped on a table to speak in Bill Dickie’s trailer in Calgary-Glenmore.

One minor snag was that at times he had problems putting names to the familiar faces encountered throughout the city, something to avoid in a trip designed to send morale sky high.

GOOD VISION

“I’ve been lucky,” the Conservative leader said at one point between stops “The people at the last two ridings wore name tags, and I’ve got excellent vision.”

The crowning moment of the Lougheed tour came at the last riding, Calgary McCall, while he and candidate Alderman John Kushner stood with a group of youths listening to an outdoor rock band outside the Kushner trailer.

There he was presented with a striped necktie bearing the familiar blue and gold colors of the Conservative party.

“Now isn’t that something,” he said, and immediately put it on.

The Evolution of the PC Association of Alberta
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Categories: PCAA,Politics

Political organizations evolve with the people who join them.

John Locke rightly said: Political & religious organizations are FREE associations. You can join freely and you can leave freely. If you want to change an organization, you do it from the inside. If you don’t want change, you can choose to stay, leave, join another or start your own association. Political institutions are highly fluid and dynamic. They take on the personality of those who wish to participate. So, either you change or the organization changes without you. Either way, associations don’t leave people, people leave associations.

More importantly, don’t confuse Government with Party. The party system elects leaders and nominates candidates. It also assists in electing candidates to office. After election day, the Party immediately begins to ready itself for the next election. The Party that elects the greatest majority or strongest minority forms the Government, but it does not set policy. If the Leader and Caucus stray too much from the principles of the Party membership they do so at their own peril. The next nomination meeting or leadership review allows the membership to evaluate their performance. Thus, democracy is served.

Between elections, the volunteer board and salaried staff work tirelessly to fulfill the mission and goals that the membership sets forth for the Association at the constituency, as well as, the provincial level. Input is sought and given at Annual General Meetings, policy conferences, board meetings, etc. There are numerous opportunities for the membership to be heard. This is how most mature political organizations grow and remain relevant. The PCAA is one of them.

So, if the PCAA has changed, the question you have to ask yourself: Did you change or did you stand still? I have been a proud PCAA member for almost 30 years, five leaders, hundreds of candidates, countless volunteers and thousands of hours of volunteering. The PCAA is a hybrid of Lougheed, Getty, Klein, Stelmach and Redford. It is an organic life form composed of the multitude of volunteers that have attended AGMs, policy conferences, nomination meetings, leadership debates & conventions, fundraising events & board meetings. In other words, it is about Alberta and Albertans. Thus, for over a century, the Provincial (Progressive) Conservative Association of Alberta has been an evolving political creature that has taken many forms. It will continue to adapt. Of this, I am certain.

God willing & good health, I will live to see five more exemplary and dedicated Leaders of this Party and be part of the decision making process of this province. I hope you come along for the ride, the evolution is here.

This post was written as a response to a video posting on YouTube suggesting that somehow the PCAA has deviated from it’s intended mission as a static political entity and has left behind it’s members. This is my opinion and not that of my Association.

Where Is The ‘Design’ in Canadian Political Web Design
Thursday, January 24, 2013

Categories: Digital Media,Politics

This is a guest post by Connor Turner, owner of Calgary web design company Armadillo Studios Inc. You can find him on Twitter at @ctoverdrive. The original post appeared on ctoverdrive.ca

I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but when talking about the advancements in campaign technology and design one cannot underestimate how much Barack Obama’s campaign team has brought to the industry. Whether it was the revolutionary techniques and concise planning employed by the campaign team in 2008 or the impressive data-driven objectives set out by the 2012 re-election team. Either way the ground work laid out by The Obama campaign machines in both elections has ushered in a new era within the political world and has essentially set the standard for the importance of a candidate’s online presence.

The Obama Campaign Machines

And since the end of November those of us who are engaged in this niche market have been lapping up the revealing blog posts from core members of Obama’s 2012 election team. Whether it’s discussing the lean start-up techniques implemented by the tech team or the advanced User data and A/B testing utilized to improve conversion rates or even reminiscing about the design philosophy behind the Obama brand through 2008’s quintessential Designing Obama there is a wealth of valuable information available at our finger tips. (Side note: Designing Obama is a must read for anyone looking to get in the game) So after digesting many of these posts and articles, I keep coming back to this question, why is Canadian political campaign web design and development so far behind our southern counterparts?

Now, I understand that there are some glaring differences between our two systems and one can’t start questioning this industry without acknowledging this. Yes, the American standardized election dates makes it easier for long term planning and budgeting in comparison to the fluid nature of our Parliamentary System – which sometimes needs to react to election calls on a moment’s notice. And one cannot discount the massive difference in population base and the unlimited fundraising advantages with American Campaigns in comparison to our system. But those elements alone do not explain why good design and good development is not front and center in a Canadian Political Team’s mind.

All the tools for Canadian campaigns to build a strong intuitive online presence for their candidates are there. Inexpensive content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress, BuddyPress and even for larger campaigns – Drupal – have been around for years and are widely utilized by many professionals. There are also dozens of very sharp campaign examples from our southern counterparts for us to pluck ideas from and they’re all quite well known – many of them have turned into purchasable templates that can be easily customized. In addition, Canada has a wealth of design, development and user experience talent in each major city. So really at this point there is no excuse for why Canadian political campaigns sites are still so horrible in 2013. If you want an example of what’s going on in this industry, one only has to look at some of the candidate sites for the Ontario Liberal Leadership race. A good majority of these sites are either unappealing or bland. Many of them almost seams like an after thought to the campaign and add little excitement to their candidate’s profile. Now compare them to the stunning and fluid design of Kathleen Wynne’s campaign site, which just shines in comparison to her competition.

Kathleen Wynne

Now, in defense of the some of these campaigns, they’re not the only ones out there. I could have easily used other campaign examples over the past two years (Alberta’s 2012 Provincial Election, The Recent Federal By-Elections or municipal elections in Saskatoon and Ottawa over the past year), but the stark difference between a strong majority of Ontario Liberal Leadership candidates and Kathleen’s team shows a massive disparity in the industry. On the one hand you have a collection of sites that look and feel as though they have been hammered together in haste, while Wynne’s site acts and feels like a well throughout focal point of campaign information and activity. And I’m not even considering the parallax microsite The Way Forward which is just miles ahead of anything the other candidates are bringing to the table. Wynne’s site engages users from the get go, gives off the aura of a modern and forward thinking candidate and draws users to get involved. While the other campaign sites rarely invoke an emotion or instill confidence in the candidate, most end up taking away from the candidate’s true attributes and qualifications with small but glaring errors.

Again, I don’t mean to harp on these hard working teams, as there are dozens of examples across many recent Canadian campaigns that could easily prove my point. But what is the issue in Canadian campaign design? If we understand that money and campaign finances are a hindrance, but at the same time understand that there are many free tools out there and a wealth of available talent, what is the problem? Why are the majority of these sites so bad?

I’ll throw this out there and I’m open to counter points, but in my opinion, the problem with the state of web design in Canadian politics actually ties back to the recent success of Obama’s team. Whenever Obama’s success is discussed on a higher level the conversation ultimately focuses on the social media myth of that team’s success. While there is no question that Obama broke major ground with his use of social media, what is easily forgotten, even with the wealth of information out there, is that Obama’s online presence included the entire package. The iconic Obama imagery and the campaign slogans created a symmetry across all the campaigns networks. The web site was designed with users in mind and interwoven with an aura of modernization. All these elements were designed together to form Obama’s online presence. Yes, social media was a factor, but social media was only a tool to reach out to voters and supporters, ultimately it drove them back toward the main Obama web site to donate, interact, organize and learn about Obama. In most Canadian campaigns, I’m not seeing that sort of full package concept or planning, which is what I believe is wrong with the industry. There needs to be less focus on the myth of social media and more on the overall online package – ideas that Obama’s team have written about since the 2012 campaign ended.

Top 4 ways digital media has changed politics
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Categories: Digital Media,Politics

This is a guest post by Kelly Ferrier, owner of Calgary copywriting company Kay Phair Advising. You can find her on Twitter at @kayphair. The original post appeared on communicatto.com

This week’s digital literacy post focuses on the ways that digital media has changed politics, how this impacts Canada’s economy and why businesses need to be paying attention.

To get an in-depth look at this topic, I turned to Troy Wason (@imparo), President of WMS Communications Inc. Wason has over 25 years experience in the political sphere, with a particular focus on digital media, including acting as the social media manager for an Alberta political party during the 2008 provincial election and as communications officer (social media) for a legislative caucus.

According to Wason, digital media has influenced and altered politics in a number of important ways. In particular, political entities, including non-governmental organizations, have profited from the ability to connect with the public instantly, instead of having to depend on traditional methods. Wason says that this widespread availability of digital media has forever changed the way politics is handled because it allows for:

Two-way discussions between politicians and constituents
Test messaging by governments with immediate feedback
Direct opportunities to lead debate rather than follow
Swift damage control of problematic issues

Wason notes that this shift in the political landscape has somewhat levelled the playing field between the voters and those vying for political power.

Much to the chagrin of those in leadership roles, the power of digital media and the ensuing engagement brought about by electronic connectivity has also empowered and emboldened the body politic.

So, how is this impacting the Canadian economy?

Wason points to current debates around copyright, bandwidth throttling and net neutrality as prime examples of digital media’s impact on the economy. These topics have become hot-button issues. While telecommunications companies like Shaw, TELUS and Bell, lobby Industry Canada to protect their financial interests, the Internet community is fighting back to defend the freedom of expression and unlimited access to information the Web provides.

And, what does this mean for businesses?

Bottom line: businesses should be paying attention to and learning from the way political thinkers are leveraging social media. People are increasingly getting their information and news from digital media. Political figures are reaching out to such people to spread their message and create meaningful conversations. Businesses could be creating similar relationships with these same people.

“The interconnectivity of politics, business and media has a seemingly unbreakable bond and rightly so. Furthermore, the politically active are much more likely to use the Internet for news, information and online purchases than their tuned-out brethren.”

Of course, in order to communicate effectively through digital media, it’s necessary to be literate in the tools that make such connections possible. And this should be a priority for everyone in business, including management.

“The ability to access digital media will become more important as our knowledge-based society rapidly moves toward hyper-connectivity. Management of all ages would be wise to thoroughly educate themselves with respect to the integration of digital media in the workplace – it’s not coming, it’s here.”

Be Sociable, Share!