Want to get involved in politics? MP websites not a good place to start, study shows
A new study by Samara Canada suggests that very few sites offer constituents an opportunity to become politically engaged.
Canada’s MPs are offering plenty of information about themselves on their websites, but a new study suggests that very few sites offer constituents an opportunity to become politically engaged.
Samara Canada -- a non-partisan organization which works to improve political participation -- gave the majority of MPs a failing grade when it comes to their websites.
Only 4 per cent of MPs’ websites include information about how to volunteer and only 9 per cent provide a way for constituents to leave comments or feedback.
The group surveyed the websites between August and September to see how many elements were found on a 14-point checklist.
The websites were surveyed for elements including MP biographies, constituency office information, links to petitions and social media, newsletters and events calendars.
On average, MP websites included 7 out of 14 items on the checklist; only three websites included 12 items, and none encompassed all 14.
The group found that five MPs didn’t even have a website.
The scores varied between parties, with Independent MPs meeting the greatest number of elements. From best to worst:
- Independent MPs 8/14
- NDP 7.8/14
- Liberals 7.2/14
- Conservatives 6.9/14
- Bloc with 6/14
Some MPs’ websites did receive and honourable mention from Samara:
- Independent MP Brent Rathgeber, who recently left the Conservative Party, was singled out for the thorough blog posts and reading material on his site.
- Former NDP MP Bruce Hyer’s website includes links to more than 20 petitions.
- Conservative MP Keith Ashfield was applauded for a hologram on his website.
- Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis offers his biography in Chinese, Urdu or Hindi.
- NDP MP Libby Davies was commended for ditching the orange and going with pink on her website.
The study showed that British Columbia MPs appear to have an overall edge over others in website content, and female MP are doing a slightly better than males.