Canadian Conservatives Run Into Problems With New Media [UPDATED]

The election campaign in Canada is getting interesting with technology taking a leading role in the proceedings. Most of it centered around the ruling Conservative party use of “new media” to shoot themselves in the foot.

The most famous example of this is an online ad showing a Puffin pooping on Liberal party leader Stephane Dion’s shoulder. It was quickly pulled after a public outcry.

Then there’s Conservative Chris Reid had to pull the plug on his campaign after he posted some really offensive comments on his blog:

Recommendations posted on this blog under the title “Political Thoughts by a Gay Conservative” include: closing the CBC; ending Human Rights Commissions and hate speech laws; ending abortion; allowing “qualified and trained” citizens to carry concealed handguns; and ending the Indian Act and the reservation system.

“These policies just keep Indians and their corrupt leaders dependent on the state and unable to ever have the freedom to succeed,” the blogger wrote under the name Chris Reid.

As for his recommendation that Canadians be allowed to carry concealed handguns, the blogger wrote: “It’s the only proven way to reduce violent crime and murder. If women and gays really wanted to stop being victims of hate crimes, they’d be in support of this, but judging from discussions, they’d rather be helpless and rely on government.”

In case you’re wondering, Reid is openly gay. Which makes his comments even more puzzling.

Finally the Globe And Mail is reporting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s e-mail address was spoofed and two messages were sent out in his name:

“One of the messages suggests Mr. Harper’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence could lead to Quebec sovereignty.

The other begins with the greeting, “Hi The Average Canadian, Stephen Harper wanted to tell you” that he intends to destroy health care, make Canada the 51st U.S. state, is beholden to the Alberta tar sands, and dislikes all things green except for the almighty American dollar.”

The CSE has been called into investigate. I suppose it could have been worse. They could have had a Sarah Palin moment.

I find it intersting that the Conservatives seem to the ones who have problems with new media. Perhaps they need to hire some teenagers to tell them how to use and secure this stuff? But it does explain why they are clueless when it comes to net neutrality, the state of Internet access in Canada, copyright reform among other issues.

UPDATE: The PMO e-mail hack is being reported by with a rather technical description of how it was done. The author is shocked that this didn’t happen sooner.

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