After an extensive search, I think I’ve managed to find all of the current Canadian MPs who have a Twitter account. While Politwitter’s list hasn’t been updated since the 2011 election, this one is more thorough and shows that in fact the vast majority of MPs have agreed to join this particular social media movement.
As far as my research shows, and it is not definitive, there are 75 of the 307 MPs who do not have a Twitter account. A few others have accounts which aren’t active, such as Minister Maxime Bernier who has over 2000 followers but has yet to tweet. Despite the increased use of Twitter (this list shows that 13 more MPs have twitter than previously recorded), some have slowed or stopped their use of the platform and many quit using it after the election campaign. A full 36 MPs have yet to send out a single message this year.
It is difficult to find a strict correlation between MPs popularity and the success of their presence. For PM Harper, many of his followers are likely supporters, though others might be curious onlookers, not necessarily Canadian, who want to see what we do in the great, white North. After Harper, Justin Trudeau is the second most followed with over 100000 followers in Canada and around the world.
Liberal MP and former Cabinet member Denis Coderre blasts everyone out of the water with 21145 tweets to 47822 followers, providing instant analysis about everything, including hockey. The Minister of Heritage, James Moore, has the next most tweets with 4780 at last count. The first graduate of the University of Northern British Columbia to be elected has used the platform to tweet about policy and further his government’s spread of information to his 8607 followers. Next on the list is President of the Treasury Board Tony Clement has 4662 tweets to his name and 21454 who have read then. He also leads in the category of most people followed at 19059. Green Party leader and new member for Saanish- Gulf Islands Elizabeth May places fourth having tweeted 4566 times to 34661 people.
While research shows that communication with constituents has little effect on a member’s chances of reelection, and if it does it might be negative, this new age of politics means that this might change. Though the Twitter community remains small and reflects only a certain segment of the Canadian population, the effects of this method of communication is widespread. Traditional media jumped on Pat Martin’s swearing tweets in the fall and there is a certain expectation that tweets at someone will be answered. It provides a new venue for on-the-spot accountability, akin to sending a letter, but with the whole world able to see the answer.
Only in the next election will the effects be truly widespread. In this past election, the Liberals had a much higher number of tweets, but it did not reflect positively in any way; the effects were null. By the next time around in the fall of 2015, things might be vastly different.
My list will be sent to Politwitter with the hopes that I can share in their information. This is part of a much larger project – more and bigger news to follow including the full list of MPs and their Twitter handle.