Pro-environment voting site gets almost 1.5 million views in 13 days
A strategic voting site that seeks to organize those concerned about the environment has received almost 1.5 million page views since it was set up less than two weeks ago, and the Conservatives appear to have the most to lose as a result.
Like the Facebook site "Anti-Harper Vote Swap Canada," voeforenvironment.ca takes direct aim at the Conservatives, who one of the site's founders, Vancouver environmental blogger Kevin Grandia, says have a poor environmental track record.
"We believe that the Harper government's collusion with the Bush White House to obstruct progress on climate change at recent international summits does not reflect how Canadians want their leaders to behave on the world stage," Grandia says on the website.
"This is about ensuring that the Conservative party does not get a majority and hopefully — while it's looking a lot less likely — is defeated," said Grandia, who started the website with Toronto-based NOW magazine editor Alice Klein.
Since its inception on Sept. 23, the site has registered just over 1.4 million page views, more than 250,000 unique visitors, with users spending an average of three minutes and 53 seconds on the site.
"It really doesn't matter what the politicians say anymore. It really doesn't matter what the mainstream media is saying about these issues because we have a massive online conversation about climate change, about environment and about strategic voting going on across the country," Grandia said.
The website highlights closely contested swing ridings — it terms the closest races "red hot ridings" — and recommends to would-be voters which of the opposition parties in those ridings would be best positioned to win the riding in the Oct. 14 election.
The Etobicoke-Lakeshore riding in Toronto, for instance, is listed as a red hot riding — the site shows Conservative Patrick Boyer nursing a slim lead in an Oct. 5 Ekos poll over deputy Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, the incumbent, with NDP candidate Liam McHugh-Russell a distant third.
The site urges voters to vote for Ignatieff, saying: "This is a Liberal/Conservative race. The NDP can't win. We recommend voting for Liberal candidate Michael Ignatieff."