Election? What election?: The Ontario NDP Web site

By: Sandford BorinsThe Ontario NDP's home page comes at you in the traditional orange and features a big picture of leader Howard Hampton.But what's most surprising is that it makes virtually no mention of the upcoming October 10 election.The site contains NDP positions on many issues (e.g., growth in northern Ontario, revitalizing rural Ontario, establishing a dental care program) but they are not packaged together as an election platform.There is a link to a cornerstone campaign, but that is a three-year effort to build party infrastructure, such as a permanent headquarters. The action centre has links for joining the party, contributing, signing petitions, and blogging – but all this action isn't focused on the election.The site has a number of other surprising shortcomings:- There is a bio of Howard Hampton but, unlike both Premier McGuinty and Opposition Leader John Tory, no video of speeches or v-blog- The only content in French I could find was for the cornerstone campaign, and there was absolutely nothing in any other language- There was no capability (e.g. large print) for the disabled- There was some out-of-date material, such as a link to order tickets for the Leader's Election dinner – which was held on June 6 – and another link to apply for a job as a pre-election organizer – but the competition closed on April 13.The obvious question is why the site is so far behind the curve. One hypothesis, which doesn't bode well, is that the NDP doesn't have the money to run an effective online campaign.Another, more hopeful hypothesis, is that they don't want to reveal their campaign strategy yet, and so are keeping the campaign site under wraps, and will unveil it in a few weeks time.In my view, this is a tactical mistake. With a fixed election date of October 10, this is a long campaign, and it's never too early to get the party's campaign message out, both to the party faithful and to anyone else who visits the site.My initial grade for this site: at best B-.Next week I'll look at the Ontario PC Party

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