A bold labour union offensive targeting the environmental policies of the Ontario government is being driven largely by a sophisticated marketing campaign that has planted comments to "create online conversations" promoting coal, nuclear and other power options.It's more from the union who has engaged in misleading advertising against the government's green energy plans during this election and who oppose the shut down of coal fired plants. Those coal fired plants cause significant health care and emissions costs.
The marketing has involved professional bloggers working for M THIRTY, a Toronto-based communications firm, who actively use social media websites such as Facebook or Twitter to simulate or kick-start online conversations with a consistent message promoting the views of their clients.
In this case, the Ontario Power Workers' Union bankrolled the campaign during the current provincial election to highlight its opposition to the green plan of Dalton McGuinty's Liberal government, through specially crafted blogs and online social media messages from people who did not always clearly identify themselves as employees of M THIRTY.
A little close to election day to see this paid campaign's exposure. They've likely caused some damage with this deceptive campaign that has masked the agenda behind their seemingly objective internet posters.
Some additional information from Elections Ontario that may be relevant (more at the link):
Are communications via the Internet and social media subject to regulation under the Election Finances Act?
Yes, in some cases they are. As is the case with print and broadcast media, whether or not the production and communication of a message amounts to political advertising is determined on a case-by-case basis by looking at the manner of dissemination, the content, the author, and any associated expenses. We apply the same considerations for communications over the Internet.
Below are the most typical questions we are asked. If you have a particular question that is not answered, please contact us.
Are Facebook pages political advertising?Another relevant point to the above news:
Facebook pages (and their updates) are generally not political advertising when they are maintained in a personal capacity. If there is an orchestrated/coordinated Facebook campaign being conducted by volunteers or paid writers, disseminating a “spam” message or professionally produced content/attachments, the Facebook pages (and their updates) may be treated as political advertising. If so, the blackout rules and rules concerning authorizations, campaign expenses, spending and contribution limits may apply. You may also need to apply to be a registered third party advertiser.
The NDP platform contains another, even bigger contradiction, proposing to put Ontario Power Generation in charge of the large-scale development of renewable energy in the province. Presumably the product of an effort at reconciliation with the Power Workers’ Union, the proposition would put the future of renewable energy in Ontario in the hands of an institution whose focus and expertise is on “hard path” energy technologies like nuclear and coal.