Progressive Bloggers Coalition

value of progressive blogger coalition still hotly debated.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

With the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards now in the history books it seems fitting to look back on one of the biggest stories that came out of last year’s awards in 2008. For those that don’t remember, 3 attention deprived bloggers, Dave Cournoyer (Daveberta), Danielle Takacs (Galloping Around the Golden Horseshoe), and Dan Arnold (Dan Arnold) decided to form a coalition using their combined vote totals to try to overthrow the first place finisher ‘we move to canada‘ in the Best Progressive Blogger category. It was officially a coalition between defending champion Dave Cournoyer and Danielle Takacs, but was supported from the outside by the separatist leaning Dan Arnold.

While these kinds of coalitions are very common in blogging awards in Europe, this was a first for our country. However, the reaction from across the country was fierce. Polls showed massive nation-wide opposition, everywhere except Western Canada, the home of two of the members of the coalition. In fact, the snubbing of the two Alberta based blogs, Daveberta and Calgary Grit, had a major impact on the separatist movement in their home province.

But what started out as a coalition merely trying to get some extra recognition for Calgary Grit who ‘we move to canada’ refused to acknowledge (at least that’s their official story) spawned a whirlwind week in Canadian progressive blogging the likes of which was never seen. Rallies happened all over the country for and against the coalition, with each side seeing themselves as the true champions of democracy. Even Prime Ministers and Premiers got involved. Then came a late poor quality video aggress by the coalition leader Mr. Cournoyer that inflamed the media and many believe was responsible for his overthrow as leader of the coalition by his old nemesis Premier Ed Stelmach.

When Stelmach took over many coalition supporters were still optimistic of they would take power and Stelmach and Takacs would get to share the 1st place progrssive blog award button as outlined in their accord. However, the Canadian Blog Awards administration refused to cede them power immediately and, with time, the coalition began to fall apart. When it came time for a final showdown just before a deadline set by the Canadian Blog Awards Administration, Premier Stelmach had turned on his coalition partners and decided to prop up we move to canada. It’s rumoured Premier Stelmach was given a jet ski and a wet suit in return for his support. Feeling betrayed and demoralized, the coalition fell apart and ‘we move to canada’ retained her title to defend in the next election.

Unfortunately for the coalition, ‘we move to canada’ went back to her old ways following their collapse, running smear campaigns against Mr. Cournoyer (who re-assumed his control of his blog after Stelmach lost interest in it). Daveberta’s former coalition partners did likewise against Mr. Cournoyer, holding him responsible for the betrayal they experienced.

Premier Stelmach was also punished in his home province. At his first press conference after propping up ‘we move to canada’ he was pelted with a shoe which he apparently lacked the ability to dodge. It remains the defining moment of his Premiership. At the time of this writing the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party are at an all-time low in polling in Alberta and the Western separatist party is in lead and may in fact win a majority in the next provincial election. Albertans won’t forget Mr. Stelmach’s betrayal any time soon.

Could the coalition have done anything different to be successful? Some of their supporters believe if they had just held firm and continued their resolve to seize power than the Canadian Blog Awards administration would have been compelled to give them power based on precedent and we move to canada’s own statements in favour of government by proportional representation. We’ll never know how Canadians would have responded had that come to be, but supporters insist a coalition would have been popular with time. And many do credit the coalition with garnering more respect for Western Canada than we had seen before.

What we do know now though is how Canadians responded to the coalition bloggers in this year’s 2009 Canadian Blog Awards. As many of you now know ‘we move to canada’ won a sizable majority of votes in the Best Progressive Blog category. Coalition leader Daveberta failed to make the finals, while Takacs fell back from second to fourth place. The only one that seemed to benefit was Calgary Grit who moved up to second.

However, all 3 bloggers faced their own forms of punishment for their behavior. Daveberta’s readership steadily declined to the point of where he was only getting 20 hits a day. Ms. Takacs saw a similar decline in her readership, while both her and Mr. Arnold were kicked off Liblogs for “failing to follow the party line” during this affair. However, Mr. Arnold became somewhat of a hero in his home province and was showered with praise upon his return at Christmas time in the immediate aftermath of the coalition’s collapse. It’s believed that it was a freeping effort from Alberta that helped him bring home the number two prize this year.

Perhaps Canadians just weren’t ready for a coalition or perhaps this coalition just didn’t have what it took to be successful in such a cut-throat place as the Canadian blogosphere.

Read the legendary story:
ed stelmach takes over blogging coalition; future of coalition uncertain.
canadians take to the streets over blogging coalition.
motivations of blogger power grab revealed; public widely opposed.
coalition of progressive bloggers lose confidence in “2008 best progressive blog.”

Progressive Bloggers Coalition

ed stelmach takes over blogging coalition; future of coalition uncertain.

The story of the fledgling coalition of bumbling progressive bloggers has taken yet more dramatic turns. After a day of rallies Wednesday, the leader of the coalition, Dave Cournoyer was to address the nation to make his case for why his coalition is best suited to hold the best Progressive Blog prize in these troubled times; however, Mr. Cournoyer’s address never arrived. He sent a note to the networks saying “Super busy at work today, so I didn’t get a chance to record the vid, sorry, maybe tomorrow or the next day.” The video eventually surfaced (apparently filmed on a low quality webcam) but the networks were so furious that have vowed to give no further airtime to Mr. Cournoyer at all.

CTV News reporter Mike Duffy was livid, “The single most important test in leadership is delivering a video in high quality and on time. I don’t really care what you have to say, but there are no higher values than punctuality and cinematography skills in politics and these guys obviously just aren’t cut out for the job.”

A spokesperson for first place winner ‘we move to canada’ could hardly contain her glee, “If these guys can’t do v-blogging right they are clearly not worth the risk of being handed the prize of top progressive blogger.”

Though this was just the beginning of what will go down as one of the most surreal days in Canadian blogging. The morning after Mr. Cournoyer’s video SNAFU, he found himself locked out of his blog, Daveberta. To his dismay he discovered through a breaking news report in the Toronto Sun that Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach had bought the domain name for Daveberta’s blog and formally taken it over.

Premier Stelmach was defiant at the ensuing press conference, “Payback’s a bitch isn’t it Dave?” The comment was clearly in reference to the legal squabbles Premier Stelmach had with Mr. Cournoyer when Dave angered the Premier by purchasing the domain without his permission.

Despite Premier Stelmach’s apparent disdain for Mr. Cournoyer, he made it clear that as the new proud owner of the Daveberta blog (which the Premier promptly renamed Edberta) he was entitled to lead the coalition of progressive bloggers and would respect the terms of the deal signed by Mr. Cournoyer with Danielle Takacs (Galloping Around the Horseshoe) and Dan Arnold (Calgary Grit). However, Premier Stelmach did leave the door open for a compromise with ‘we move to canada’, “Coalition if…umm…necessary, but we need…umm…a coalition…some of the time…uhh…unless it’s needed,” said the Premier.

Mr. Stelmach’s coalition partners appeared unfazed by the change in the leadership of their coalition. “I could care less who leads the coalition as long as I get the 1st place progressive blog banner on my blog for a quarter of the year like I was promised in the accord,” said Ms. Takacs.

Mr. Arnold who has been critical of Premier Stelmach in the past seemed willing to accept him this time around, “Sure I’ve campaigned against him, but everyone I’ve ever supported has always ended up losing so what do I know about winning? It’s time I start doing the opposite of what my instincts tell me.”

The coalition’s efforts will now be bolstered by Preston Manning and Ralph Klein who will be launching a national tour to promote the coalition as the sort of democracy in action they’ve always championed. Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper has now come out in support, “We move to canada is playing the biggest political game of her life! Let me be very clear, if this coalition of bloggers is not allowed to take power, I think it’s time for Alberta to seriously consider building firewalls around itself and start running these awards under their own legitimate jurisdiction. There’s nothing more important in this country than blogging and mark my words, Westerners shall not take this lying down,” said the Prime Minister.

Though despite the new heavyweights lining up to support them, there were the first signs from the coalition leaders themselves that perhaps they won’t succeed in their ultimate goal, “We’ll see what happens, but the coalition has definitely made a positive impact. Before the coalition existed we move to canada was refusing to acknowledge my existence, and lo and behold within 24 hours of our accord she was saying I had an “excellent blog”. That kind of respect for Western Canada didn’t come easy and we have to make sure to hold we move to canada’s feet to the fire. But the ball is her court now, maybe we’ll get a miracle,” said Mr. Arnold.

The new tone in rhetoric may be due to the massive public opposition reflected in the latest polls. Even so, the coalition’s efforts to take power have been put on hold for several days as the Canadian Blog Awards (CBA) administration have been refusing to answer e-mails or take calls from any of the coalition members wishing to discuss this matter. The members of the CBA administration pronounced that a “time out” was needed and they expressed hope that the warring parties would sit down and resolve this matter on the weekend and if extremely unethical or borderline illegal (e.g., offering life insurance policies) deal making was required to end this once and for all, so be it. A final decision shall be made following the weekend, should it prove necessary, the Administration said.

Progressive Bloggers Coalition

canadians take to the streets over blogging coalition.

This week’s showdown between 2008 Best Progressive Blogger and the fledgling Progressive Blogger coalition has galvanized thousands of ordinary Canadians, who took to the streets yesterday in massive political demonstrations.

In Toronto, about 4,500 coalition supporters flooded Nathan Phillips Square to hear bloggers Dave Cournoyer and Danielle Takacs explain why their united progressive blogging front, which is backed by well-known Western Separatist Calgary Grit, is better for Canada than We Move to Canada.

“we move to canada has done enough for progressive blogging and that is why the it has lost our confidence as 2008 Best Progressive Blog,” Takacs told supporters.

Meanwhile in Ottawa, about 3,500 people converged on Parliament Hill to protest the possibility that a coalition of the progressive bloggers could try to unseat the 2008 winner without another vote.

“Canadians voted for we move to canada, and I believe that Daveberta and Takacs are trying to overthrow the legitimate winner,” said 39-year-old truck operator Chuck Branson, attending his first demonstration. “I don’t believe Canadians are used to a system of a coalition, and we have to stick to what we know . . . and Canadians should know that the current system is functioning well.”

Angry though it was, the Parliament Hill protest was civil. Shortly before the kickoff, organizers asked one anti-coalition demonstrator to tone down the rhetoric of his sign, which read “Calgary Grit scum.”

In Red Deer, an estimated 8,000 people gathered for a demonstration of solidarity with the coalition. Retired MP Myron Thompson, speaking at the rally, said holding another election would be too much exercise, so he proposed a different solution.

“Pistols at dawn. Let’s settle this the old fashioned way,” he said, adding that if any good has come from the turmoil, it’s that citizens seem to be more interested in blogging.

In Vancouver, about 1,500 people gathered in the rain on the steps of city hall, where they heard rally organizer and former MP Svend Robinson argue that the coalition was wrong to try to steal something as valuable as the blog award.

In Edmonton, demonstrators gathered at West Edmonton Mall for what they called an anti-coalition “Canada rally.”

“We love Canada,” said rally co-ordinator Josiah Martin, 19.

Even though Canadian Blog Award Administrator Jonathan Kleiman has denounced the coalition, Martin warned that the coalition remains a threat.

“We love Canada,” he said. “A lot of people feel the same.”

Newly appointed Senator John Tory, one of the headline speakers at a rally in Toronto, said he hoped the rally underlined the need to work together to resolve the situation.

“Canadians have had enough of all kinds of political games-playing everywhere. They’re saying if you’re a blogger, there’s an important responsibility we’ve given to you and we’re scared and we’re uncertain and we’re worried,” he said. “Let’s see some adult behaviour and get back to regular blogging.”

Progressive Bloggers Coalition

motivations of blogger power grab revealed; public widely opposed.

Motivations of Blogger Power Grab Revealed; Public Widely Opposed

December 16, 2008

TORONTO/EDMONTON/GUELPH – There has been wild speculation across the blogosphere about what the Sun chain has dubbed “the coalition of the idiot bloggers” – an accord between three power thirsty bloggers which could potential wrestle the “Best Progressive Blog” title away from We Move to Canada. Our sources have the inside story on how the plot was hatched.

Liberal insiders close to Dave Cournoyer paint a picture of a man desperate to stay in the spotlight following his high profile dispute with the Premier over earlier this year. These anonymous sources say that upon learning of his 6th place finish, Cournoyer quickly concocted the plan to let him keep the title of “best progressive blog” for another year.

Cournoyer contacted Takacs who, according to blogging insiders, jumped at the opportunity. High profile strategists close to Takacs confirm that ever since the departure of Cherniak on Politics, she has been maneuvering to replace him as the pre-eminent Liblogger – “Danielle aspires to be not only as influential as the mainstream media, but more influential than the mainstream media” say well-connected anonymous bloggers. Takacs briefly consulted with Liberal elder and UFO enthusiast Paul Hellyer, as she does before making all major life decisions, and then signed on.

From there, Takacs and Cournoyer recognized they would need a third blogger, a blogger desperate for attention, with an unquenchable thirst for power so strong that he would abandon all principles to become their patsy. “After supporting yet another losing candidate, it was obvious that CG would jump at the opportunity for power.” Said well-connected bloggers who asked not to be identified. “Plus, he figured it would play well into the ‘Canada’s Greatest Temporary Ad Hoc Rainbow Coalition’ contest he had planned for his blog next summer.” Many feel WMTC’s dirty “not a Calgary blog” smear campaign prompted CG’s involvement.

From there, an MSN 3-way was set up, where leaked transcripts reveal Cournoyer promising to make his blog a “warm comfy splash page with lots of fur” for the coalition. The deal was signed and made public yesterday, mere hours after John Ivison reported that a coalition led by Dr. Dawg would be taking power.

The first poll out on the matter indicates that the Canadian public is uneasy with the coalition. A nation-wide poll by Ipsos-Reid showed that 75% of Canadians are opposed to the coalition and 64% believe the three bloggers who make it up should be banned from blogging ever again. Close to half of Canadians (43%) agree with the statement “Dave Cournoyer, Danielle Takacs, and Dan Arnold should be hanged, drawn and quartered for their treasonous efforts.”

However, the coalition has found some strong support out West, where a majority were in favour of the 3 bloggers taking power away from We Move to Canada. Even Mr. Cournoyer’s old nemesis Alberta Premier Ed Stemach has come out in support, “I support the…uhh….coalition accord because it…ummm….promotes responsible blogging…errr….Albertans need to blog…uhh…the NEP destroyed Alberta…”

Tomorrow looks to be a crucial day for the coalition with rallies scheduled across the country. As well, Mr. Cournoyer has asked for air time tomorrow night to address the nation in response to the Canadian Blog Awards Administration’s address, and make his case for why the Canadian people shouldn’t fear him and his blogging coalition taking the reins of power.

Progressive Bloggers Coalition

coalition of progressive bloggers lose confidence in "2008 best progressive blog."

TORONTO/EDMONTON/GUELPH — Bloggers Dave Cournoyer, Danielle Takacs, and Dan Arnold announced today that an agreement has been reached among the three bloggers to support a coalition of Best Progressive Blogs in the 2008 Canadian Blog Awards.

“Since the recent election of We Move to Canada (WMTC) as 2008 Best Progressive Blog, it has become clear that the WMTC has no plan, no competence and, no will to effectively address the crisis faced by Canadian Progressive bloggers,” the three bloggers wrote in an open blog post to all Canadians.”

As 77% of voters in this category voted against the 1st place winner in the last election, we have resolved to form a new Best Progressive Blog winner who will effectively, prudently, promptly and competently address these critical times,” said Ms. Takacs.

“Passing over Alberta blogs in favour of WMTC is sure to fire up the embers of western alienation. And WMTC didn’t even acknowledge my existence in her post bragging about her win. We’re tired of being treated like second class citizens! This is the biggest middle finger to Alberta since the NEP!” said Mr. Arnold.

Mr. Cournoyer informed Canadian Blog Awards administrator Saskboy of the agreement and requested that he exercise his webmaster authority to call on Daveberta, as the past 2007 Best Progressive Blog to form a new collaborative Best Progressive Blog coalition supported by nominees CalgaryGrit and Takacs.

Should Saskboy comply, then the defending champion in the progressive blogs category, Daveberta, will be named “Best Progressive Blog of 2008.” However Takacs will have the privilege of posting the victory button on her blog for three months out of the year. This coalition will function thanks to Calgary Grit who, while not recognizing the legitimacy of these awards, agreed to support it.

“Although we all have very different opinions on the issue of colour schemes, and Danielle called me “an obscure frat boy with a sticky-up haircut” during the past campaign, we have managed to find common ground on the issues of Google analytics, RSS feeds, and Stephen Harper’s blue sweaters,” said Cournoyer.

Takacs has agreed to support the collaborative victory until next year’s awards and Calgary Grit has agreed to support it until June 30, 2009.

A spokesperson expressed outrage on behalf of We Move to Canada, “This is nothing less that an undemocratic coup that will destroy the fabric of the blogosphere! Daveberta wants to take power after being resoundingly rejected in the last election in his worst showing ever. Canadians didn’t vote for this! Worst of all Dave and Danielle have cut a deal with Calgary Grit, a well known Western separatist who doesn’t even want these awards to function!”

Takacs expressed the hope that this matter could be resolved peacefully and without delay, “We’re calling on We Move to Canada to accept this defeat gracefully. It’s time to realize that you are going to be defeated at the next available opportunity, it’s too late to make amends. The sooner you relinquish power the sooner we can get back to blogging for all progressive Canadians.”

These events have set off a firestorm across the blogosphere, with large scale rallies being scheduled on in the week ahead. However, barring any unforeseen events it would seem a virtual certainty that the coalition will come to power next week in an arrangement that would be the first of its kind in our country’s history.