Posts Tagged ‘Jack Layton’

Apathy is Pathetic

I have been hearing and reading a lot of people bemoaning politicians in general and making grand declarations that “Jack Layton was the only politician who truly cared about what was best for Canadians”. Mr. Layton did care passionately about making Canada a more equitable place for all and he did work hard to help bring his vision of Canada to reality but he is not the ONLY politician who cares/cared. Statements such as that are actually counter to the effort that Mr. Layton put into making politics more accessible to all Canadians and counter to Mr. Layton’s final words to us all. Apathetic statements like that just don’t fly. They give citizens of Canada a further excuse to avoid political engagement. If you really want to honour Mr. Layton’s memory, now is the time to become engaged and get involved in politics at all levels (municiple, provincial and federal). It is time to start working to understand the issues and educate yourself on them. It is time to write, phone or email your representatives and ask them for a few minutes of their time to discuss your findings and thoughts. It is the time to seek out the party that best reflects your vision of Canada and become involved.

We receive the political representation that we deserve. If you do not believe your current MP, MPP or councilor is working in your city, province or country’s best interest, it is your job to open a dialogue with them and question what they are doing. Make a stink. Get loud (in an educated manner). Get others involved. Make your voice heard.

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, it is then your job to work to ensure you receive better representation in the next election by either putting your own name forward or throwing your support (and time) behind a candidate you believe in. We, the people, decide who represents us and decide which vision of our city, province or country is likely to materialize based on our votes. That is the beauty (and sometimes the curse) of democracy.

Mr. Layton wanted to change things. He wanted to change people’s perception of politicians and he wanted to change how things get done in this country. If you want to help change things, and not just pay lip-service, then you need to get engaged and involved. Stop just talking and start doing. The only way change will happen is if you start making it happen.

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing, there will be no result”.

-Mahatma Ghandi

Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.

Yesterday was a sad day for Canada. As a nation, we lost a man who was extremely dedicated to public service and who fought for his vision of a better Canada. Whether you agreed with his politics or not, Jack Layton was a breath of fresh air on the National political scene and brought a tremendous amount of energy and optimism to the House of Commons. I had the pleasure and honour of meeting Mr. Layton on a number of occasions and always found him to be engaging and kind and he always had time to speak with young people about the challenges we face as a generation.

In his final letter to Canadians, Mr. Layton displayed his continued optimism and uncompromising vision for our country. His last paragraph is very touching and we would all do well to keep these final thoughts in mind as we consider the kind of Canada, and world, we want to live in.

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

Rest in peace Mr. Layton knowing that you made a positive impact on Canadian politics and society. You are gone far too soon. 


Political Party Leaders and Twitter

Looking for additional ways to follow the election? Want to know what the party leaders and your candidates are up to and where they are on a daily basis? Follow them on Twitter!

With only 140 characters to get their message out, this is a new form of communication for politicians who are used to waxing lyrically when they have the public’s attention.

Granted, some of the party leaders are using Twitter much more effectively than others, but at least they are all using it. That said, there is so much more they could be doing with this tool including an unbelievable amount of information they could be mining for use in policy and campaign strategy and an opportunity to engage with voters.

So how are they all doing?

1. Michael Ignatieff is doing the best job. He incorporates other social sites into his tweets and delivers valuable, if limited, information. He is also starting to interact with the public more via this forum.

Does he write his own tweets? yes

Follow him @M_Ignatieff

2. Jack Layton tweets often but rarely engages with his followers – he mostly uses Twitter to broadcast but doesn’t appear to be listening and engaging.

Does he write his own tweets? Sometimes. Tweets come from both Mr. Layton himself as well as from team members.

Follow him @jacklayton

3. Elizabeth May interacts with her followers and the public more than others but has a significantly smaller number of followers.

Does she write her own tweets? yes. But sometimes it is her assistant who actually posts them.

Follow her @ElizabethMay

4. Gilles Duceppe does a great job interacting with people but with all his tweets being written in french, he has a much more limited audience.

Does he write his own tweets? yes. But sometimes they are posted by others.

Follow him @GillesDuceppe

5. Stephen Harper falls to the very bottom of the list. He doesn’t engage with his followers, writes in a very formulated and prepared manner and mostly uses the site to broadcast.

Does he write his own tweets? Sometimes, but not often. Most tweets are prepared by staffers.

Follow him @pmharper

If you’re looking for a place to keep track of what all the Canadian politicians are saying on social media, check out According to the site, “Politwitter does the searching for you by indexing Canadian federal and provincial political twitter, facebook, blogs, youtube, flickr and more into one location. The site maintains a list of politicians and political tweeters as well as popular hash tags. You can view tweets narrowed down by MPs, partisan affiliation, province and more.”

Local Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Candidates on Twitter:

Liberal – Kimberley Love: @girlfromgrey

Greens – Emma Hogbin: @emmajanedotnet

Conservative – Larry Miller: not currently using Twitter

NDP – no candidate

I’ll write a post after the election with a final review of how the different candidates fared in their use of Twitter.