The upcoming race for leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party should be an excellent opportunity for individual riding associations to drum up some local interest and increase membership—or so I would have thought.
Looking at the Burlington PC Riding Association’s Web site, however, no one would even know that such a contest was in the offing. What a pity. What a missed opportunity.
For many of us in Burlington, the first place we look for timely information is the Internet, and to publish a Web site so completely out of date is a disgrace and an insult to those of us who have supported the PC Party in this riding for over 30 years.
As of a few minutes ago (Mar. 22, 2009 at 9:20 a.m.) the riding association’s home page has a single item: a letter from the president, dated May 4, 2008.
In the “Latest Events” section, one item listed:
May 14, 2008 – The Burlington Provincial PC Riding Association requests the pleasure of your company at out 2nd annual Joyce Savoline MPP Cocktail Reception.
On the “Events” page, four items are listed—three with 2007 dates and one with a 2008 date. Incredible!
To make matters even worse, the “Contact Us” page is out of date, listing the president as Kathy Reid, a past president—the current president is Rene Papin. And, of course, no where on the Web site are other members of the board even mentioned.
I could go on, but it does not get any better.
In stark contrast is the Liberal Party’s Burlington riding Web site, which is up-to-date and provides contact information for the entire executive and the membership director.
Joyce Savoline is the MPP for Burlington. Ms. Savoline is a seasoned politician who has held the Burlington seat for the PCs since early 2007, and before that served for 12 years as Chairman of Halton Region.
The most recent item in the “Latest News” section of Ms. Savoline’s MPP Web site is dated Nov. 4, 2008—over four months old—so no help there.
I recently wrote an e-mail to Ms. Savoline back on Mar 9, 2009 using the contact form on one of those Web sites. Here’s what I wrote:
Is the Burlington PC Riding Assoc. still active? I've checked http://www.burlingtonpca.com/ and the Web site is almost one year out of date and no activities since last May.
Similarly, this Web site is pretty much dormant with no updates in the past months.
Also, there does not seem to be a way to make e-mail contact with the president of the Riding Assoc.
The current board isn't even identified on their Web site.
I've lived in Burlington for about 33 years and joined the PC riding association within a couple of weeks of moving here. I have been a member until recently. Both my wife and I have been on the board of directors and one or the other of us worked as a PC volunteer in every provincial election since about 1972.
For all those years, Burlington had one of the most active riding associations in Ontario.
Inactive riding association = inactive members = election loss in 2011, in my opinion anyway.
Since I did write to Ms. Savoline several months ago and never received a reply, it did not surprise me that I did not receive even an acknowledgement of this most recent e-mail.
Ms. Savoline is no run-of-the-mill back-bencher at Queen’s Park. Rather, she is the PC Party’s Education Critic and member of the Standing Committee on General Government.
Is this the level of responsiveness and organization we can expect from a PC-led government, should that day ever come? The thought makes me shudder.
I can only hope that Interim Leader Bob Runciman can find a way to educate Ms. Savoline about the value using modern communication techniques—e-mail and up-to-date Web sites—to get the PC message out to the residents of Burlington.
Or perhaps a nearby riding association could help. Both Ted Chudleigh and Tim Hudak, who use their riding Web sites intelligently, could certainly help and I hope they do so soon.
On the other hand, recognizing that the ultimate goal of the riding association and its Web site is to elect its member to the legislature, if the member in question does not plan to run in 2011, does any of this matter to her? Unfortunately, it may not, but it certainly should to others in the party who want to see Burlington continue to be represented by the PC Party.