Talking the Last Few Days of #Elxn43 with Bill Carroll

This afternoon I had the chance to join Bill Carroll on “The Bill Carroll Show” with Jason Lietaer and Lindsay Maskell. Today e talked about the last week of the 43rd General Election, the Conservatives false claims of other parties wanting to raise the GST and more. You can listen to the audio below starting at the 21:00 minute mark. Enjoy!

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TikTok the Vote

For those who read here on a regular basis you’ll probably have noticed something about me: I’m a complete poli-geek, and proudly so. As someone whose spent a lot of time working on campaigns, I’m always in learning new things, new techniques, new tactics and seeing new technologies brought into them. And given the way our society seems to evolve ever faster these days, especially when it comes to the technology side of things, it seems that there is something new every campaign to learn from.

So needless to say, I’ve been watching this campaign for just this kind of thing and to see how it is playing out in the campaign itself. Yesterday we saw a new technology rush onto the scene in a big way, with a short 15 second video that’s gone viral while sending a big message:

I didn’t see this coming? Nope. Is it awesome? Yup Is it not for the older cohort? Is it speaking to the youth where they are at? Yup With that viral TikTok video from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, he was able to not only communicate the whole thrust of his campaign in a short clip, it played to all of his strengths. First of all, it played to the fact that he’s genuinely having fun on this campaign and that keeps showing. That happiness keeps shining through at his events and builds on his hopeful message.

Secondly, the body language and facial expressions are brilliant. When they “Nopes” come, you see an unimpressed frown that’s strong but not too strong, along with the use of his backhand to point to the “Nope” topics. And when the “Yups” come, it’s his big, bright smile with a joyous finger pointing up, as he bounces along to the beat. It’s fun, it makes a point, it’s genuine, it connects and in the world of electoral campaigns, it’s pure gold.

But for those who need hard figures to make their case about the effectiveness of that video on that medium, according to Vice News, it had over 1.3 million views in less than 24 hours. That’s an insane amount of interaction in this day and age, especially for a piece of earned media. As Vice also pointed out, Singh has a total of three posts on TikTok, which have garnered over 2 million views. He also has almost 60,000 followers and 170,000 likes so far. For three posts, that’s a lot.

It turns out that Singh is the only party leader on this social media site, which is increasingly popular with the youth. So to see the NDP take this leap and making such an impact is impressive stuff and smart campaigning from the Orange team. In this day and age when parties are doing everything they can to find an edge on their opponents, it’s interesting to see that the NDP has managed to carve out this advantage for this campaign for themselves. It’s also interesting to see that no other campaign didn’t think to go here, especially given that millennials are the largest voting block in this election.

We will see on Monday if this episode has a big impact on the end result but at the very least Singh and the NDP have broken some new ground in this campaign that others will likely follow in the future. But at the very least, the Orange team has found another way to engage with a key portion of their supporters, to build support, to build momentum and get closer to election more New Democrats on Monday. It’s a cool innovation for sure, one that grabbed the attention of everyone watching this campaign and those who weren’t.

What You Need to Know – Week 6 of #Elxn43

The newest episode of “What You Need to Know” is recorded and now up. Every Friday during the campaign we’ll be releasing a new episode where we’ll talk about the events of the week and give perspectives from across the partisan spectrum

In this episode Neil Brodie, Rafi Brass and I talk about the last weekend of the election campaign, what the parties need to do with the rest of their time and what to look for on Monday night. You can download and subscribe to “What You Need to Know” everywhere you can get your finest podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Spotify. You can also listen below. Enjoy!

Doing Politics Not-So-Differently

As we go into the last few days of this campaign there have been many interesting subplots running through out it that have been hard to ignore. A big one of those has been the Green Party and if they were ready for prime time. Here at this blog I’ve listed many examples of how the Greens have managed to miss their opportunity, and as a result they’ve seen their polling numbers continue to fall while the NDP has had a big resurgence.

Through out this campaign one part of the Green’s failure has come to the vetting of candidates, the things about them that has come up and the unwillingness of leader Elizabeth May to punish or remove any of them. It’s left many to wonder what it would take for the Greens to finally remove a candidate and what act a Green candidate would have to take for that to happen. What would be an act too far for Ms. May? Well over the last couple of days we’ve finally seen an answer to this question and folks, it’s striking as can be. But first, we saw another bad story for the Greens coming out of Quebec about another vetting fail:

Four Green candidates in Quebec nailed for Islamophobic comments by the Journal de Montreal, and amazingly one of them is a repeat offender. Jocelyn Rioux was already nailed for his extremely questionable and offensive claims of being Indigenous, something that the Greens seemed to not have a problem with, as they didn’t toss him then. But if you thought that these comments would be enough to get any of these four candidates removed from the Greens, sorry you would be mistaken. Nope, the Greens accepted all of their “apologies” and are keeping them in place, including Mr. Rioux.

So that means that the Greens have kept candidates who have been shown, through their own words and actions, to be anti-choice, 9/11 Truthers, Islamophobic and questionably claiming Indigenous ancestry. None of those candidates are being removed, therefore having Ms. May’s tacit approval to be on her team. But yesterday finally a Green candidate was tossed. Yes, it actually happened. So what was this person’s major offense that brought about this decision? Well it’s revealing:

Yep, Michael Kalmanovitch, the Green candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona, was “removed” not only as a candidate, but had his party membership revoked, because he dared to back out and endorse New Democrat Heather McPherson. So let the record show that the Greens won’t remove all candidates who have expressed anti-choice sentiments, for making Islamophobic comments, for spreading 9/11 Truther craziness and trying to appropriate Indigenous ancestry for their own benefit, yet they will remove a candidate for backing another party who actually has a chance to win in that riding. So much for doing politics differently, right?

Of course, adding to the absurdity of this situation in Edmonton is that the party tried to say they were tossing this guy from the candidacy after he stepped down anyway, which was as bad an attempt to salvage a bad news story as I’ve seen in a while. Add to the fact that they actually took his party membership too, which says a lot about how the Green Party operates. I’m not sure how the other parties operate but I know that in the NDP its very hard to remove a person’s membership, and it’s not something that the central party can do so easily all on their own, let alone within a matter of a few hours. Again, for a party that claims to be so grass roots, it’s striking to see such a swift move taken against Mr. Kalmanovitch while all those other sketchy candidates are not only still in place, they are all still members and I assume will be after this campaign is over.

From my perspective, I am bemused yet stunned by this turn of events because when you stack all of these situations side by side this really doesn’t look right. It doesn’t add up to most people out there and it really can’t help but reflect poorly on the Greens, their priorities and all of their claims about being different. When you see how they’ve dealt with candidate vetting issues, the stories that came from them and how they decided to act towards those candidates, it screams of anything but “doing politics differently”. It also shows an amazing inconsistency about who this party decides to keep, who they decide to throw aside, and how they prioritize these things. They don’t add up, and people can see that. As this campaign comes to an end, this whole episode will be one that will stick out as a bad footnote and will be a big part of the story about how the Greens blew a once in a generation chance to make a breakthrough.