Canadian Politicians on Twitter

twitter 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 Quebecois 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 Stephane 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 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.

Conservative Canada

By now you’re almost certainly aware that the Conservatives won a minority in last night’s federal election (just as I predicted). During his concession speech, Paul Martin announced he will not lead the Liberal party in the next election. There are three main things about the election I found interesting:

  1. The magic number of 155 is hard to find, which means things will be especially intriguing. All the parties realize we don’t want to vote again right away, so it makes it even more important that they try to work together.
  2. The Conservatives gained a fair number of seats in Quebec. One wonders what this means for the separatists!
  3. I didn’t expect a completely blue Alberta, but that’s what we ended up with.

I followed the results online last night, and watched some of the post-election commentary on CBC. I don’t have much to say really, except that I hope the minority government doesn’t collapse right away. Lots of other people have far more interesting things to say than me:

There’s lots more interesting commentary if you do a quick search on Technorati or IceRocket or one of those. Seems to me that many Americans are not happy with our new government!