If you look at politicians' websites as much as I do, you know that they are often devoid of up-to-date information and interactive features. Indeed, some politicians only seem to refresh their sites around election time.
Samara, a Toronto-based organization that aims to improve political participation in Canada, visited MPs' sites in August and September in order to see if our elected federal politicians are taking advantage of the web's potential. Unsurprisingly, many are not.
The group used a 14-point checklist to grade the sites. Here's Samara's overall findings:
Members of Parliament are great at offering their constituents the basic information about themselves, but they perform poorly at offering ways for Canadians to engage with politics or have input on decisions and policy.
While MPs’ websites, on average, include 7 out of 14 items on the checklist, only three websites checked off 12 items, and none encompassed all 14.
Five MPs appear to have no website at all.
Samara has summarized its findings in the following infographic. But first, a few interesting observations:
- B.C. MPs' websites tend to be slightly better than those of MPs from the rest of Canada.
- Independent MPs' sites scored highest, followed by those of NDP, Liberal, Conservative, and Bloc Québécois MPs.
- Just one in 10 MPs has a site featuring spaces for public discussion, such as comment sections on posts or online forums.
According to Samara, B.C. MPs Jean Crowder, Nathan Cullen, Don Davies, Libby Davies, Hedy Fry, Murray Rankin, and John Weston all have top-scoring websites. If you feel like it, check out their sites and let us know if you (dis)agree.