Ed Holder gets real — and I like it.

PMO PIc: Harper and Holder

There are 308 MPs in the House of Commons. I like a lot of them. On all sides. Most are “good people”.  The common denominator among the ones I like a lot are those that are — and Andrew Potter forgive me for using the term — authentic. They are comfortable in their own skin. They’re interested in other human beings for the simple reason that they find other human beings interesting — not  simply because there’s a chance those other human beings might vote for them or say something nice about them.

Ed Holder, the London West MP, (pictured above in 2011 with PM Harper at the Tim Horton’s Brier — and yes, this pic, was taken by a PMO photographer)  is one of those I like a lot for those reasons and here’s the latest evidence — Continue reading Ed Holder gets real — and I like it.

Conservative radio attack ads target Justin Trudeau

In markets across the country this fall, the Conservative Party of Canada has been airing radio ads that attack Justin Trudeau. The one above attacks him on his experience. There is also this ad more attacking him for his plan to legalize and regulate marijuana.


In the meantime, Ottawa political journalists would be grateful if you would help us spot these political ads in the wild. You’ll need to use Twitter to do so under the hashtag #SawAnAd. Tweet out a few details about the ad but be sure to note time, station and program you heard or saw the ad.

[polldaddy poll=7583075]

English, French media differ in coverage of Trudeau's big day

Justin Trudeau announced his decision to run for the Liberal leadership in Montreal Tuesday evening. The media reaction to the news was, interestingly enough, quite different in English Canada than it was in French Canada. Remember: He’s running to be the leader of the third party in Parliament. With a little help from Storify, here’s the breakdown: Continue reading English, French media differ in coverage of Trudeau's big day

How To Win An Election: Advice from 2,000 years ago

How To Win An ElectionJust finished a delightful little book written in 64 BC by Quintus Tullius Cicero, younger brother of Marcus Tullius Cicero who history knows simply as Cicero, the Roman statesman, orator, philosopher, etc.

In 64 BC, Quintus felt obliged to jot down some advice for his older brother who was then in the midst of an election campaign for the job of consul of Rome. As translator Philip Freeman explains in the lively introduction to How To Win An Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians, Marcus came into that campaign as an outsider and as a bit of an underdog. Generally speaking, Romans only elected consuls who had the Roman equivalent of the “royal jelly”, which neither Marcus nor Quintus had. They had to work for the place in Roman society rather than be born into it.

So Marcus had a fight on his hands for votes and gave his brother some advice on how to beat the other two candidates, both of whom had “royal jelly” connections. The result? Well, if Machiavelli’s The Prince is gimlet-eyed advice on the exercise of political power, then Quintus Cicero’s slim volume is equally sharp advice on the acquisition of that power in a democracy.

Some of Quintus’ advice (lifted straight from Freeman’s translation):

  • Do not overlook your family and those closely connected with you. Make sure they are all behind you and want you to succeed … For almost every destructive rumour that makes its way to the public begins among family and friends.
  • There are three things that will guarantee votes in an election: Continue reading How To Win An Election: Advice from 2,000 years ago

Politics, Twitter, and the MSM: What to make of it all?

Highly recommend an essay by Jean Burgess and Axel Bruns in a recent issue of Journalism Practice. It’s called “(Not) The Twitter Election: The dynamics of the #ausvotes conversation in relation to the Australian media ecology”. [Like most scholarly publishers, the publishers of this paper insist on locking this up behind a paywall so you’ll have to seek out your favourite library, I’m afraid]  Here’s the abstract:

This paper draws on a larger study of the uses of Australian user-created content and online social networks to examine the relationships between professional journalists and highly engaged Australian users of political media within the wider media ecology, with a particular focus on Twitter. It uses an analysis of topic-based conversation networks using the #ausvotes hashtag on Twitter around the 2010 federal election to explore the key themes and issues addressed by this Twitter community during the campaign, and finds that Twitter users were largely commenting on the performance of mainstream media and politicians rather than engaging in direct political discussion. The often critical attitude of Twitter users towards the political establishment mirrors the approach of news and political bloggers to political actors, nearly a decade earlier, but the increasing adoption of Twitter as a communication tool by politicians, journalists, and everyday users alike makes a repetition of the polarisation experienced at that time appear unlikely.

Some quick notes after reading the paper: Continue reading Politics, Twitter, and the MSM: What to make of it all?