Democracy by YouTube -

Democracy by YouTube

What the popularity of a Lady Gaga cover says about Canadian politics


An anonymous Conservative MP posits one way a little girl singing a Lady Gaga song might be considered more relevant than the basic tenets of parliamentary democracy.

“The public outside of blind partisans is not listening – 22,000 people have signed [the Liberals’] little petition while 10 million have listened to the little girl from Winnipeg cover a Lady Gaga song over a shorter period of time (she’s very good by the way),” the Tory argued. “It’s a sad statement when joining a petition is a click and they point to 22,000 people signing up as something significant,” the MP added. “People calling the office or sending an e-mail, that indicates a groundswell and support, like the [usage-based Internet billing] issue which flooded the office a couple of weeks ago.”

The Prime Minister’s Office uploads Mr. Harper’s speeches to YouTube as well and the most watched of those—with 10,198 views—is his address to the nation when his government was nearly toppled in December 2008. For the sake of comparison, and using the same math, all of the following videos are immensely more relevant than whatever the Prime Minister had to say that night.

Cat wrestling watermelon. 9,313,118 views.

Surfing mice. 2,780,521 views.

Man gets hit in crotch during pole vault. 18,143,343.

Bryan Adams’ video for (Everything I Do) I Do It For You. 32,224,204 views.


Democracy by YouTube

  1. "People calling the office or sending an e-mail, that indicates a groundswell and support"

    How would we ever know? They don't respond to calls or emails, and then make up "thousands" of emails (census?) whenever they see fit.

    Aslo, if we got Lady Gaga to sign the petition, would that make it legitimate?

  2. Don't worry, once a random criteria is debunked the CPC just posits another.

  3. In fairness, getting hit in the crotch does have a lot in common with the PM's address to the nation.

  4. Yeah, this logic isn't going to turn around and bite them in the ass. Not at all.

    How many people signed that petition to get Stockwell Day to change his name to Doris again?

    I do agree with the MP on one thing though. It is pretty sad that we tend to care more about Lady Gaga than we do about how we're governed, but I'm not sure that's going to be easy to fix! After all, if I'm not mistaken there's an onion ring out there that's more than 5 times as popular as our PM.

  5. Meanwhile, how many people have signed the petition calling for the resignation of embattled minister Len Blork?


    IMHO there's NO WAY this sort of thing ought to get published, anywhere, if the MP in question refuses to be named. It's inane and silly, which is fair enough, but if an elected official is going to be inane and silly then said official ought to be forced to stand by his or her inanity.

  7. I wouldn't touch that line with a 10 foot pole.

  8. Aslo, if we got Lady Gaga to sign the petition, would that make it legitimate?

    I think we'd need the little girl from Winnipeg to sing a song about it.

  9. The scent of Eau de Frantic is in the air.

  10. The only Youtube viewst hat count are the ones on election day! Or something!

  11. I can't seem to find the quote where the Tory MP says a Gaga cover video is more relevant than the basic tenants of democracy, so I'm guessing you missed the point or are intentialy misrepresenting what the MP was saying.

    If a girl from winnipeg can get 10 million views in 24 hours it speaks to the power of the internet to distribute and disseminate information. If the Liberals can only get half their party membership to follow an email link to a petition it doesn't say anything about the relevance of the Oda issue or democracy, just the relevancy of the Liberal Party.

  12. …22,000 people have signed [the Liberals'] little petition while 10 million have listened to the little girl from Winnipeg…

    Crunching the numbers, 22,000 is 0.159% of the 13.8 million Canadians that voted in the last election. 10 million is 0.145% of the 6.8 billion people on the planet. Therefore, a higher percentage of people actually care about the Liberals' little petition.

  13. It amazes me a newspaper has the gall to print something like this, under the cloak of an unnamed source, in the same paper they write about Libya.

  14. Congrats with 5 thumbs up in 12 minutes from the few hundred who would have bothered to read the links, you have at least 10 times the support of the petition or Mini Gaga.

  15. 22,000 is 0.159% of the 13.8 million Canadians that voted in the last election.

    It's also 0.094% of Canada's 23.4 million eligible voters. If you're going to compare Youtube views to the total population of potential viewers (supposedly everyone on the planet, which is a bit of stretch), you should also compare the petition numbers to the total population of potential voters. ;-)

  16. You'd really have to be nuts to do so.

  17. "How many people signed that petition to get Stockwell Day to change his name to Doris again?"

    About 400,000, and they were all Canadian residents.

  18. Then one must conclude, from your logic, that the Prime Minister's own youtube videos are even less relevant.

  19. I had the same impression… and for the life of me I can't understand why they wouldn't want their name attached to it. Even if you disagree with the statement, it hardly qualifies as controversial material. Lordy.

  20. Yeah, but only 10,198 views of Harper's address to the nation? Seems like anything political can't draw eyeballs like a girl singing Lady Gaga. Or a guy getting hit in the pills while pole vaulting.

    Although, a guy getting hit in the pills while pole vaulting is pretty funny.

  21. Whenever I read: "For the sake of comparison, and using the same math…" I know that some goofy straw man is about to be savagely beaten.

    With regards to your point about relevancy, the Liberals had 38,000 donors last year, so when the petition attains that many signatures we'll know that they've exhausted their donor pool. :)

  22. "Mr. Speaker, could the honourable member from Anonymous please explain why he or she feels that 22,000 Canadians are not worth listening to? Further, could he explain to us what are the requirements for a Canadian citizen's viewpoint to matter to the Conservative Party?"

  23. My guess is that it's now CPC policy, the Post is always willing to play along so all the other papers do so to avoid being scooped – even on stuff like this.

  24. Have you actually tried sending an email, or letter, or call to the office?

  25. Heh. They missed the obvious shot of having Harper write "not" on something.

    On the Charter would have been a good one.

  26. Yes, christophilla, I have, in fact, attempted all three. Of the dozens of emails, I've received one auto-response from the PMO, one personal email from Glen Pearson, and a fundraising pitch from a conservative MP with no mention if the original letter or subject.

    No response to phone calls, and none to snail mail. Did you have a point?

  27. It is so easy for the media to hide behind their anonymous sources.

    How do we know Jane isn't making it up?

    And about that Oda-gate:
    Norman Spector, on CKNW, Monday Feb 21 @ 10:19 AM:

    "… There's just SO much mis-information floating around on this issue. So I'm just going to make a prediction: That when the Speaker of the House of Commons, Milliken rules,
    he will rule that the Minister did NOT lie to Parliament, and there was NO document forgery …

    There's been such a feeding frenzy in the media in Ottawa, I haven't seen anything like this since 1991 … the Speaker will rule that there is no prima-facie case of contempt of Parliament in this instance"

    (h/t Calgary Junkie)

  28. Do voice overs have copyrights?
    Love that guys voice, even sounds good in this poorly copied mock ad.

  29. Outside of blind partisans QED

  30. Given the current speaker, you could make that prediction if Harper stood up in the middle of the House of Commons and declared that he'd never prorogued Parliament.

  31. Don't compare video's that are clearly inflated by international numbers to Canadian content that no one outside of Canada (and most inside) could give a hoot about.

  32. Heh, did yah hear the one about Gary Doer saying:

    ''…The bottom line is that the President and his people trust the Prime Minister.
    He's a straight shooter, he tells it like it is.
    I know from people in the White House—and I've heard from very senior people I know personally in the White House—that [before meetings with other foreign leaders] they get a read from the Prime Minister about how the meeting is going to shake down and how each participant is going to deal with an issue.
    When you are a new President you don't know how a meeting is going to develop and how different people are going to participate on an issue of interest to the U.S.
    That has been something that has been valued in the U.S. When you have a powerful person going into their first meeting it's useful to have someone you trust going into those meetings.
    They trust his nose on how issues will develop at the meetings."

    heard right here on Macleans,
    but you would rather listen to Jane Taber make things up
    says alot about Macleans readers

  33. What bothers me isn't so much that you're dumb enough to think that these types of obvious deflections work, but that you think we're dumb enough to let them.

  34. If you do that, you must also reduce the world population to those who have access to the internet, and perhaps further refine it to those who have broadband. YouTube is definitely not 56k friendly.

  35. Only if the PMO sent an email asking every Conservative party to watch the video could we measure the PM's relevancy.

  36. Indeed. I'm beginning to suspect that McClelland's tongue-in-cheek comparison lacked quantitative rigour.

  37. Jeeze, I was under the impression that one complaint was "one complaint too many" for these sad-sacks.

  38. It's not even typical 'anonymous source' stuff. What this guy is talking about is vanilla. Boring. Inconsequential. It's not like he's passing along a freakin' state secret or high-level party strategy. If the Harper muzzle is on that tight… yikes.

  39. Exactly. so it could easily be a blanket policy put in place by a certain PM known for muzzling people.

  40. I don't mind crossing the partisan line to state unequivocally that Len Blork is an exemplary model for all our sitting MPs. I dearly hope he is transferred to a Senate seat so he can be allowed to rise above the petty day-to-day scrimmaging of Canadian electoral politics.

  41. I'd think the same rules apply as the Tories using CBC footage in attack ads without permission.

    Beyond that, fair use exceptions to copyright exist for parodies. Which this most definitely falls under.

  42. I commend you for rising above partisanship to praise one of the most decent and honourable MPs who has ever had the misfortune to become embroiled in a fake scandal. His harshest critics are fully aware that their lurid accusations are merely the product of their own fevered imaginations, rather than serious claims backed by evidence.

  43. A day later, and no point is forthcoming. Whatsoever shall i make of this lack of response/

  44. If a girl from winnipeg can get 10 million views in 24 hours it speaks to the power of the internet to distribute and disseminate information?

    Doesn't it really just confirm what we already kind of know? That what people go tooling around on Youtube for is mainly visual entertainment; a quick fix of something that you don't see on tv or at least you don't have to wait through all the commercials for.

    Call me unsurprised that neither a Liberal petition or Harper speech gets big play numbers.

  45. Write a letter/email to Stackhouse. This is the only way it's going to change.

  46. Why do "we" want him to resign?