Stephen Harper meets the Facebook election

Is it just me and my Facebook friends or is Stephen Harper in deeper doo doo than we know?


I will acknowledge—before someone else does—that I am of the artsy, progressive-left-when-it-suits-my-personal-interests persuasion, so it’s no surprise many of my friends are fellow travelers. I live in a federal NDP riding in a province governed, for the moment, by the NDP. But I have plenty of Facebook friends—Facebook being Facebook—who are Tories, including a few current federal candidates, and many more of no, or no-known affiliation.

Which is why I find our first full-on Facebook federal election so intriguing.

Many Canadians are using social media to get, share and comment on campaign news. Mainstream news stories, YouTube videos, online petitions, Twitter posts, fan pages all rocket around the social media echo-chamber with dazzling speed.

Much of it is do-good, get-out-the-vote stuff—the clever Rick Mercer rant, the dog’s breakfast of I-pledge-to-vote pages—or partisan postings re-posted by more partisans.

But Facebook—my Facebook, at least—seems dominated by one overweening theme: get rid of Stephen Harper.

Every time I open Facebook, a few more friends have changed their profile pictures to an anti-Harper image.

Stephen Harper is both polarizing and galvanizing, which makes him a perfect Facebook organizing foil.

There are dozens of anti-Harper pages: “Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper,” “Vote No Confidence in Stephen Harper,” “Get Stephen Harper Out of Office,” etc.. There’s even one entitled “Can This Onion Ring Get More Fans Than Stephen Harper?” The answer is yes: it has 158,170 fans compared with 49,952 for the official Stephen Harper page.

There are links to videos like “The Harper Song: ‘Steve, It’s Time to Leave’” and “ShitHarperDid” (which boasts a million views). And strategic voting sites like Project Democracy and Catch-22, whose purpose is to make sure Stephen Harper doesn’t get his majority, or—better—loses power.

Which means…? I don’t know. Nothing so far seems to have budged Harper’s numbers. But what do poll numbers tell us about real support for a party leader when so few of us willingly talk to pollsters anymore? And even fewer of us bother to vote.

  1. Interesting to watch this election play out on my Facebook page, too.
    I am part of the Vancouver Sun’s undecided voter panel, and view politics as a necessary evil in my world, and not something I naturally flock to.
    One of my friend’s is a vociferous Liberal – always has been, always will be – and I wonder at this position. She posts daily anti-Harper sentiments; but had it been the Liberals who approved the $30 billion for fighter jets, I think she would still be posting anti-Harper propaganda.
    It leaves me to think better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.


  2. Could many be tuned into the true facts wrt the overall sad picture of Canada’s future as continues to post daily being 100% correct about the USA.

    On the same day that stock markets raged dangerously higher, commodity prices soared and the cost of living erupted with $1.40 gasoline and $2.29 cauliflowers, came news of a systemic financial failure in Canada. According to two major bank surveys 30% of people can no longer pay their monthly bills. Almost 40% have no savings. None. And four in ten retired people say they’ve run out of money and must return to work.

    All MSM in prime time talk “C” word, Come back to life Joe Friday … “Just the Fasts” “Just tell me the facts”


  3. It sure is fascinating to watch! There could also be a big shock to the pollsters related to the abandonment of land line phones. I could be wrong but believe the polls rely on calling traditional wires lines, while most young people (what is young these days? Under 30?), anyway most younger people have only a mobile phone. The polls might be totally out to lunch.

    I hope what we hear on the net isn’t just the same choir preaching to itself as Dave wondered. It might be though. Maybe the previous con support is all still there, quietly determined to make the same X.


  4. Thank you for bringing the social media (S/M) and elections to the front page. Word in the S/M is that polling is not accurate any longer due to: a) few people hold and use land lines where polling data is derived and b) governments have found ways to influence data.

    This I remember less than 50% turned out to vote for the new Conservative Party after the David Orchard Incident and when the dust settled they claim over 85% were in favour … do our youth know that Harper & Co with a solid base of 30% could easily win a majority with a poor turn of 54% that we are en route to have?

    The youth of Canada can prove to the world that the Pen is mightier than the sword with simple marking of an “X” perhaps times are about to change eh?


  5. We will wait to see just how organized our youth are this week-end as the advance polls open (U of G was) and will May 2nd be a record turn out? We know when Harper & Co shut down at great expense to taxpayers this site captured over 250,000!/group.php?gid=260348091419

    Many have read this article also and yes agree!

    I hope that our youth turn out to point they have line ups around the block (s) … Young people are willing to lay down their life in the Middle East for a chance to vote and here in Canada we have government that has do everything to discourage voting (U of G) while maintaining a 30% base to win a majority of a 54% turn out bought and paid for by selective spending.

    Reform/Alliance/PC/Conservative .. perhaps our youth see a different coalition and do not like it!


  6. I have been doing an informal poll for a few months now. The question at the table is “In the past two years do you know or have witnessed personally anyone who has a kind word for Stephen Harper ?”
    The answers are always NO – except for one person who was visiting relatives in Alberta.
    I am not sure what this says except that his support is baffling to me (and my friends).


  7. I am not connected to any left leaning organization other than the old garage where I park my car – although my friends tend to be other musical people. I am fearing that all of the anti-Harper stuff I am seeing is just a choir singing to itself. I hope you are right and that there is more to this.


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