A personal view of Knowlton, Quebec, the Eastern Townships most beautiful village.

Liberals Sliding Down The "Poles"
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Liberal campaign posters at the bottom of the poles in Knowlton. With new CROP surveys showing the race is tightening towards election day we just couldn't resist the pun!This picture taken in the Brome-Missisquoi Liberal riding of Lac Brome shows that campaign posters from the incumbent and 26-year veteran Pierre Paradis have slid to the very bottom of the poles and this could be seen as ironic as the latest CROP polls seem to spell out what this picture in central Knowlton is showing…the Liberals may be dropping in popularity among voters potentially making the leadership race closer than most had anticipated.

While there will be five candidates on the ballot during the March 26, 2007 elections when Quebecers choose a new provincial government it is becoming clear that the race will be primarily between three political parties. The latest survey of voters put Liberal support at 33 per cent, Parti Québécois support at 29 per cent and Action Démocratique du Québec support at 26 per cent. This may come to a surprise to many Liberals who have seen the PQ’s popularity grow under the leadership of André Boisclair despite efforts by the current Liberal government to paint the PQ as inadequate and immature.

While Knowlton and Brome-Missisquoi have been politically aligned with the Liberal Party for over 25 years the recent Sponsorship scandals have raised questions as to the integrity of the entire Liberal party and the election of 2007 will surely be the chance for all of us to cast judgement on all of the candidates, their leaders, and the message their party is bringing forward.

In Knowlton voting takes place on March 26 from 9am to 9pm. Residents will be receiving a reminder card indicating the address of their polling station. Information can be had by calling the office of the Brome-Missisquoi Returning Officer (Directeur de Scrutin) at 450-538-1114. The official website of Elections Quebec is www.electionsquebec.qc.ca.

The Candidates in Brome-Missisquoi
Liberal - Pierre Paradis
PQ – Richard Leclerc
ADQ – Jean L’Ecuyer
QS (Quebec Solidaire) – Larraine Lasnier
Green Party – Vanessa Thibodeau

Since we are in 2007 and the Internet, blogs, tags, forums, myspaces and wapsites are the newest form of political propaganda DestinationKnowlton.com decided to look at the websites of the candidates parties and give a quick synopsis of their websites and how they rated in terms of presentation. Not scientific in any means but just an observation based on looking at trends and target markets:

Liberal - Pierre Paradis
Pierre Paradis - Liberal Partywww.plq.org : Features a campy music video in the style of Youtube. Making fun of other parties using animation and cartoon voices on the main page that could be a turn-off as the first thing we see is negative campaigning against another party. Try and find the link to the English page …it’s halfway down the page and when you get to the English page the menu is in French. Website shows candidates listed alphabetically but by first name! PDF files not marked lead to sighs. Glossy videos and hype rule this site. The election platform page is so generic it could have been cut and pasted from a Wikepdia article on “typical election promisis”.

PQ – Richard Leclerc
Richard Leclerc - Parti Quebecois http://campagne.pq.org/ Hard to find information on local candidates and not possible to have the website in English. Doesn’t recruiting youth militants on a website and associating with a band called Kain sound a bit too much like devil talk? The Richard Leclerc team seems to have a good website at http://pqbm.org/index.php but again there is no English…most of us are smart enough to know both languages but still it is surprising the lack of English availability on the major party and candidate websites considering the region they wish to represent is a high English speaking population. Best overall presentation except for the automatic re-directs which prevents us from reading the entire page. Automatically re-directing users is a no-no but overall on this website the information is presented clearest.

ADQ – Jean L’Ecuyer
Jean L'Ecuyer - ADQhttp://adqaction.com/main.php What’s worse than a website that plays audio and video when you arrive! Again, in the style of a myspace.com teen site the noise starts right away! This site has the English pages well marked, the best of the bunch but the website has strange test message symbols that are distracting. The candidates page has off colored smilies reminiscent of a teenage messenger chatroom. The candidated bios were quite empty of information. Overall the ADQ website distracted from their message due to the loud colours and cryptic symbols.

QS (Quebec Solidaire) – Larraine Lasnier
Lorraine Lasnier - Quebec Solidairehttp://www.quebecsolidaire.net/ A very simple site that, when compared to the over-wrought websites of the main parties, seems almost too low-key and indiscreet. Only a small number of English pages on the site but they at least show the party platform which is to raise government revenues, reform taxes and raise the minimum wage to $10 per hour. The use of free video hosting looks a bit like they were paying web designers under their promised minimum wage.

Green Party – Vanessa Thibodeau Green Party Brome-Missisquoihttp://www.pvq.qc.ca/ A website that overwhelms in the under-whelmishness of it all? Maybe not… at least the English information is clearly marked and easy to find. Kudos to the Greens! They seem to have at least tried to make it easy to find both official languages on their websiteThe website looks like it is powered by a free content management system like blogger which may be the attempt at reaching the younger crowd? Finding info on the local candidates wasn’t easy and there were often no pictures of the candidates which seems major drawback. In our view it is possibly the blandest website of the five parties but sometimes the ugliest sites reach the most people…just look at myspace.com!

One last strange phenomenon we noticed is the actual campaign posters being served up by the Liberals…has anyone else noticed other posters in Granby, Lac Brome, Sherbrooke…they have the Liberal Candidates all holding their chins against a fist much like Rodins “The Thinker” statue…all the candidates in the same pose!



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