Viral videos, sites rock campaign
Want to get an election issue on the front burner? Simple: Find a way to make it go viral.
Voters and groups are using web videos and images — which are easily distributed and linked to — to get their opinions to the widest possible audience.
'Don't be a stooge'
The National Citizens Coalition has taken aim at the Liberal Party, NDP and Bloc Québécois in a video likening the parties' leaders to the Three Stooges.
For instance, the video depicts the parties' plan for government spending as leaders Michael Ignatieff, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe robbing a bank.
"It delivers our very serious message in a humorous and memorable way," the NCC website says.
"Stop the Stooges" has been viewed more than 5,700 times since it was uploaded on April 7.
There aren't any plans for more "Stooges" videos, NCC director Stephen Taylor says, but the organization will be looking for new issues to produce web videos around as the campaign continues.
"The great thing about web video is the speed of reaction of issues as they are brought up in the campaign," he says.
Anti-Harper site pops up
Canadians opposed to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper have built a website called "S--- Harper did." The site contains information its creators feel is detrimental to Harper along with links to related news articles.
They've also set up a "S--- Harper did" Twitter account and a Facebook page. More than 2,600 people had "liked" the latter by 4 p.m. ET Wednesday — only four hours after the first post.
A viral video featuring Conservative Leader Stephen Harper singing John Lennon's Imagine made news earlier in the campaign when it was pulled from YouTube.
The site went down Wednesday afternoon after exceeding one million hits since that morning.
"There are better options in this election," the site says, next to links to the Liberal, NDP, Bloc Québécois and Green Party websites.
The site attracted some high-profile fans Wednesday.
"Didn't know about some of these things!" Margaret Atwood tweeted. "Yikes!"
The site's creators have also uploaded videos targeting Canadian celebrities and have reached out to Canadian acts, such as Arcade Fire, who have opposed the Conservatives in the past.
'Get a ballot in your hand'
Toronto-based group Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change has responded to repeated talk of the "ethnic vote" in the campaign with a music video.
"You have a choice, you better speak when you can," the song, a parody of Michael Jackon's Beat It, says.
"Don't wanna be an ethnic, be Canadian."
The video was uploaded on Tuesday and had been viewed more than 1,700 times by 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.
It's garnered some positive feedback on the web.
"This might actually be the best video of the election," one commenter posted on the YouTube page.
Vote mob videos
Students at several Canadian universities made the news last week when they organized "vote mobs " coinciding with leaders' visits to their cities.
Their aim is to get young Canadians to the polls and to increase youth engagement in the political system.
Students from the University of Guelph and the University of Ottawa produced videos featuring footage from their events. The Guelph video has amassed more than 15,000 views since it was posted on March 31, and the Ottawa video was viewed more than 2,800 times in two days.
'Why let them choose your government?'
Shortly after the election was called, an image encouraging young Canadians to vote started making the rounds on social media sites like Facebook.
"You wouldn't let your grandparents choose who you date," the image says. "Then why let them choose your government[?]"
The image contains the URL for Elections Canada's website, but it doesn't appear anywhere on the site itself.
Some members of the Facebook group Canadians Advocating Political Participation expressed an interest in printing the image and handing it out as a flyer.
But some others were unimpressed, suggesting the message discriminates against seniors.