Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How Not to Engage the Youth Vote

Stephen Harper, getting ready for his close-up, Chris Wattie/Reuters
The Toronto Sun is reporting this sad state of affairs. The Conservative Party's panopticon is checking who has been naughty and who has been nice. Awish Aslam, a 19 year old University of Western Ontario student was booted from a London, ON rally for having a Facebook picture with Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff. Her friend was booted too, by a presumed guilt by association. Ali Aref Hamadi was also turfed for having an NDP sticker on his car. Commenters on the Sun noted the surnames of those kicked out.

So, while Harper is getting flak for his campaigning fortress that keeps the media hordes at bay, apparently the campaign machinery makes sure that someone scans the social media for any hint of infiltration. While Dimitri Soudas, the Conservative chief spokerperson apologized, the damage is done. 

Perhaps word of the Guelph Rebellion got the better of them::


This goes into the "fail" category since this is precisely what fuels youth rebellion. The Conservatives are now the heavy and an authority figure. If Dalton McGuinty is Premier Dad, Harper's Conservatives come pretty close to being that crazy minister father in Footloose played by John Lithgow.

I don't get it. Sure, Harper is wooden, comes across like nothing he does is spontaneous, and he's lousy when he has to think on his feet, but this kind of surveillance and control plays right into the hands of his detractors. Even the Sun didn't sugar coat this:
"The ejections are further black eyes for the Conservatives, already taking flak for restricting access to Harper."
I think the worst fears of the Conservatives is for Harper to have his Bidenesque foot-in-mouth moments or to have him heckled {or otherwise embarrassed} without a good retort. Of course, in politics, sometimes it's just your time to take a pie in the face, even when you're out of office...


Twitterversion:: [blog] Stephen Harper's social media panopticon checking if campaign event attendees have been naughty or nice. #fail @Prof_K

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