Canadians will be heading to the polls on October 14th to elect the 40th Canadian Parliament. That means it is officially election season here in Canada! For those of us fascinated with the American election however, it has been election season for months already. It kind of feels like Canada is playing catch-up to the US.
Similarly, our political leaders are playing catch-up to their counterparts south of the border – at least on Twitter. Barack Obama has amassed 75,000 followers on Twitter, and Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden also have accounts. John McCain doesn’t use a computer of course, so he doesn’t have an official Twitter account, though his followers have set this one up. There are dozens of members of Congress on Twitter.
Here in Canada, we now have two well-known politicians using Twitter:
- Prime Minister Stephen Harper (English & French)
- NDP Leader Jack Layton (English & French)
- Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe (French) – official?
- Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (English) – official?
- National Director of the Liberal Party of Canada, Greg Fergus (English)
No sign of Stéphane Dion, Gilles Duceppe, or Elizabeth May just yet (I’ll update the post if I find they have created accounts).
The Globe and Mail on Friday wrote about the Prime Minister getting his microblog on:
Like rats scurrying up the ropes before an ocean liner departs, politicians have sharp noses for knowing when to hop aboard a trend. It’s not just Harper. Barack Obama Twitters. All told, the Twitter population has passed the two-million mark.
So far @pmharper has 333 followers, while @jacklayton has 286. Though both probably have staff members updating for them, the style of posts on Jack Layton’s account make it seem as though it could be him.
Have you come across any other Canadian politicians on Twitter?
UPDATE: Track Canadian political conversations on Twitter using govtweets.
UPDATE2: Also check out electopinion.ca which tracks Twitter.
UPDATE (12/2/2008) The Liberals have launched a new account, @LiberalHQ.
UPDATE (12/12/2008) I should mention @M_Ignatieff, the new Liberal Party Leader.