22 September 2007

Campaign blog

It's hard to find out all that candidates are doing on line without googling each one individually.  Facebook is popular with candidates from all parties, but you have to search them within Facebook individually.

We've already highlighted progressive Conservative candidate Steve Kent's website.

Now let's take a look at the Liberal in St. John's centre. 

bio_picLori Ann Campbell-Martino, left,  is a social and environmental activist and a former Green Party organizer. Her website is simple, clean and easy to navigate.  There are pictures and a link to a video of a conversation she had with Ron Fitzpatrick of Turnings. She's got a Facebook group and a blog of her own.

The blog is the epitome of social media applied to politics, the ultimate social activity.  It's personal  - obviously written by the candidate - and hence very engaging.

While watching my children play I decided to ask other parents and caregivers for their opinions on the $1000 baby bonus proposed by Danny Williams. Of course everyone laughs. "It would take more help than that for me to have another one!" was one woman's response. One older gentleman pushing his grandson on a baby swing explained that his daughter cannot afford to pay for daycare for her son she got now, even with a subsidy from government, because of her high student loan payments and that's why he is helping care for the child.

The whole conversation called to mind another story I heard at one door in the district about an elderly lady who receives a pension cheque of $14.00, because 'the only work she ever done was raise nine children'. It seems that historically and today there has been an overall lack of investment in services for families precisely because it is difficult to economically quantify the 'benefits' of providing support of 'future' generations-unlike oil, gas and hydroelectricity projects. But good governance should require the ability to think and act beyond the short term 'today'!

The key word here is engaging.  Campbell-Martino engages people in the district in conversation about what matters to them and that is clearly reflected in her online presence. Other candidates undoubtedly do that too, but here the evidence is seen. Using social media also allows Campbell-Martino to engage others outside the district and make them aware of the views and lives of individuals she hopes to represent in the House of Assembly.

The tools are there.  They aren't hard to use and as Lori Ann demonstrates, it is possible to do it simply, inexpensively and effectively.

it doesn't matter whether she wins or loses;  Lori Ann has already used the Internet more effectively than any other member of any political party currently represented in the House of Assembly. How many of the former members - retired or incumbents seeking re-election  - used the Internet for communicating with constituents, preferring instead to follow the Speaker's lead and lower legitimate costs in favour of maximizing the money available for donations?