Friday, December 30, 2005

Voting by design

Ah, there's nothing more fun than sifting through the websites of my riding's federal candidates. I'll probably save my comments on who I'm supporting etc for the pub, but I would love to make a few comments on the websites of these candidates. Because none of these people have knocked on my door and I haven't had the chance to attend an all candidates meeting, chances are most of my decision will be based upon information gleaned from the internet. Which, as you'll see, is looking like it'll leave a lot of questions unanswered.

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*Robin Baird (Conservative)
Overall Impression: Too much Conservative Party, not enough Robin Baird. And there's little about this website which leads a Victorian to recognize the riding Robin is running in.

Page by page:
Welcome: Seems to be a little form-letter'ish.
10 Reasons to Vote Conservative: This page should be titled "8 Reasons to NOT vote Liberal + 1 reason not to vote NDP + 1 Point everyone agrees about. " Robin, I don't care so much what you're against as what you are for.
Why vote for Robin Baird?: This is much closer to a positive pitch, but lacks any mention of issues specific to Victoria.
Issues: Again, more of the party-line with little regard for specific local issues.
Biography: Not very personal. And why is this page so far to the right? (no pun intended).

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*Ariel Lade (Green)
Overall Impression:
The pages on this site which actually have content are not that bad. The problem is, there's onely three of them. The site is quite personable and it wouldn't take much to make this a more informative website.

Page by page:
Home: Rah Rah Rah for the underdog (the Green Party). And, to be fair: A thank you. Inspiring about the party, but I'd prefer to hear about my riding first please.
Biography: I like that this page is listed right below the home link. The word "inspired" is also used. Nice. I like to know what inspires people. Thank you Ariel.
Upcoming Events: Oops, I missed the one and only event you have listed here. Please update this page, or delete it.
Media: An "okay" mix of sources here. Though it is very hard to wade through this formating. I can't differentiate between quotes and links to articles...
Discuss the Issues + Get Connected: Please take the links for dead pages off.
10 Key Values: Of the Green Party. I suppose this wouldn't be so bad if the "Discuss the issues" page had local issues discussed...
Download the Platform: Again, dead link.

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*David Mulroney (Liberal)
Overall Impression: Again, not a lot of content on this website, but I am impressed with the attention given at least a few local issues.

Page by page:
Home: Evidence of local awareness (the sewage "issue") and a minor dig at the Conservatives ("...will uphold the Charter...).
What's New: I guess a short campaign doesn't leave much time to post much news. Three new events? Are they even worthy of listing? Come on now...
About David: Do I call him "David?" or "Mr. Mulroney?" Reads like a bad cut and paste job.
Issues that matter to you: The first two listed are specifically local issues. Nice work.

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*Dr. John Cooper (Christian Heritage Party)
Overall Impression: I feel I know more "about" Cooper than anyone so far. Problem is, I have no idea what he'll do for me locally.

Page by page:
Home: Inviting, but nothing really necessary. Lots of space left to "imagine" I guess.
Canada: Canada...the CHP platform. Just link to the CHP main page for this please.
About Dr. Cooper: This the best "about" I've read yet. It exlains why Cooper is in politics to begin with rather than just re-word the party platform to fit his life.
Platform: Nothing local.

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*Fred Mallach (Marijuana Party)
Overall Impression: Fred's site is conveniently all rolled into one page. Unfortunatley, the Times Colonist article quoted has more information packed in it than the rest of the site.

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*Denise Savoie (New Democratic Party)
Overall Impression: The blog format is a nice touch. The only thing that would make this website stronger is more from Denise herself on the main page. Let's make it a true blog shall we Denise?

Page by page:
Home: Using WordPress looks to be a great idea. But where's the "home" button? Otherwise, very clean and easy to use.
About Denise: Just the facts ma'am; this is a resume, not a welcome.
Denise on the Issues: Where 'About Denise' was cold 'Denise on the Issues' delivers a personal and passionate incorporation of party values into her local riding.

2 comments:

Jonathan said...

Interesting perspective, if only we were electing a website instead of a government! One specific place where we may disagree is on the importance of "local issues" in a federal election. Usually provincial and municipal issues are out of the juridiction of the feds, and while prospective MPs will be more than happy to give an opinion on any issue they perceive to be important to the electorate, it is important to recongize that there is usually little they can do about local concerns. So elect an MP who is competent on macro issues and beware of politicians promising to solve all your problems... ;-)

James Kingsley said...

Thanks for the comments brother - don't worry, I'm not voting on a website. Regarding the "local issues" stuff: what I was looking for was someone whose activity I can see evident in my surroundings. Ideas on the macro issues are important, but if I can cross the street to the soup kitchen that one of my candidates helped establish - that's the evidence of politics in practice for me.

I'm a bit of a dreamer in that I'd love to see more overlap between the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government and tend to lean in a little closer to people who've lived and contributed around the area where I live. Call it "street cred" or "neighbour recognition" or what have you, either way I want someone in Ottawa whose lives have been lived publically.

Merry Elexmas!!