Social media has been driving the environmental movement to new heights and encouraging businesses to be more sustainable, now it is being used to challenge Canada’s federal government. As the first social media influenced election in Canadian history, the 2011 Canadian federal election seems to be poised to produce dramatic results.
Due to fragmented nature of Canadian politics pundits predicted a Harper majority even though the majority of Canadians do not support him. Organizations like LeadNow are working hard to mobilize the youth vote in the face of historic voter apathy. In 2008, just 58.8 percent of Canadians voted and only 37.4 percent of the 18- to 24-year old demographic bothered to vote.
Leadnow is using the power of social media to encourage a Vote Wave and social media campaigns like Vote Mobs are connecting with the young voters and mobilizing youth which is increasing support for the New Democrats.
Flash mobs are well known to supporters of the environment and now we are seeing a more organized event known as a “vote mobs.” In a vote mob, university students use social media to encourage their peers to get out to advanced polls. Leadnow asked people to host ‘voter socials’ during advanced polling between April 22nd and the 25th. Organizers of voter socials invited friends and family to meet at an advanced poll, vote, and then celebrate together afterwards.
These vote mobs are getting Canada’s youth involved to help energize and encourage them to vote and engage in the political process. The first vote mob appears to have taken place at Ontario’s University of Guelph, at the end of March. There are now 38 separate vote mobs listed on the website of LeadNow.
Whether or not social media and initiatives like vote mobs will actually get more young people to the polls depends on whether they shed their tendency towards slacktivism. (Slacktivism is the tendency express interest but not follow-up). There is reason to believe that young people will actually vote on May 2. Voter turnout at the advance polls this year set records, rising 34 per cent over 2008 numbers.
On May 2, we could see a radically different outcome than the one predicted by the pundits. The polls are suggesting that a big turnout for the under-35s could end in unprecedented gains for the NDP. This would be of immense benefit to Canada’s environment.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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Video: Vote Mobs Getting Youth Involved in Canada’s Democracy
Leadnow: Voting for Change in Canada
Leadnow’s Declaration For Change
Video: Leadnow Interview on CPAC
Environmental Issues in the 2011 Canadian Federal Election
Environmental Platforms of Canada’s Federal Parties in 2008
Canadian Conservatives Repudiation of the Environment in 2008
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Canada’s Conservative Government Opposes Kyoto and Hampers Progress at COP16
World Urges Canada to Fight Climate Change
The State of Canada’s Environment
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WWF’s Canadian Living Planet Report
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Copenhagen Accord: Canada to Reduce its GHG Emissions
The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada
Obama’s Visit to Canada
Conservative Budget: No Green for Canada
Canada Votes: Environmental Politics
Green Policy Debated in Canadian Parliament
Canada’s Most Sustainable Businesses
Canadian Municipal Green Incentives
Government Energy Policy the Environment and the Economy
A Sustainable World Order