Canadian Coalition Drama Spurs Web Activity

A week of intense Canadian Parliamentary drama ended—or at least postponed—today with the Governor General agreeing to prorogue, or suspend, parliament until January. It all happened so fast; just a week ago there were rumours of backroom talks of coalition, which amplified over the week, then became official on Monday, led to a televised address by the Prime Minister Wednesday night, and now today, Thursday, it’s all been suspended until the new year.

It also happened very fast on the Internet, where Canadians seemed to take greater interest in their government this week than they did during the whole recent election. Whereas a typical CBC news story might attract 30 or 40 comments, stories on a coalition were raising 6500+ comments. I found myself inundated with anti-coalition Facebook group invites from acquaintances in Edmonton, to which I politely replied with pro-coalition group invites. The anti-coalition side seems to be most vocal with the largest group, “Canadians Against a Liberal/NDP Coalition Gov’t” at 100,000+ members in just six days. Various other groups have 10,000-20,000 members. An anti-coalition event planned for Saturday at different locations nationwide has 15,000 signed up. An online petition for “Our Right to Vote on the Coalition Government” has surpassed a quarter million signatures in the same time, reasonably more impressive than the Canadians for a Progressive Coalition petition currently at 28,000+ signatures. The #coaltion hashtag has been continuously one of the top ten trending terms on Twitter, peaking last night during Harper’s televised address (which I watched streamed online).

After a very apathetic election, it’s positive to see that Canadians do actually care about their governance when meaningful change is at stake. Further interesting to see how the web has become a core means to further the debate.