Pinch me, I’m famous – Updated!

I Finally made it.

After 6 months of blogging, 70 posts and with 5000 hits on this blog, four years with the NWEP, and 2 years as President, a half dozen delegations to council, many more letters to various editors, working on City committees, working on various political campaigns, attending countless public meetings and generally ranting and raving about politics and the environment for too many years to keep track of…I finally broke through.

Nobel Prize? Koufax Award? Book deal? Kudos from P.Z. Myers? No, better than all of these:

Paul Forseth knows I exist.

Paul Forseth 2005
I’m either standing in your shadow, or blocking your light…

We all know Paul as former MP, Conservative roustabout, and purveyor of the least local of all local blogs. His dot-com presence is more a conduit for missives from the Prime Minister’s Office than a blog, displayed in the way most posts are written by actual members of the Conservative Government, and read word-for-word like press releases in local papers nationwide.

I call it the most “non-local” local blog, as the words “New Westminster” have not appeared in a single post on the site over the last two years. Not once.

His latest post is a source of great hilarity, though. He purportedly asks people to send him their feelings about having an election, which he will dutifully post for you. Apparently, he is unaware that the whole “mail it to me and I will post it” thing isn’t needed in a Blog, as there is a “comment” thing down there at the bottom. He even has moderation turned on, which means he can filter out all those uncomfortable mentions of in-and-out scandals, Bev Oda’s inability to remember “not”s, illegal campaigning in Ministers offices, recent speaker censures, jet plane budget misestimates, or…well, you get the point.

It also went up with a dozen “opinions” that presumably already arrived, with semi-anonymous people falling into two camps: 1) No election now, Harper is doing a great job! and 2) Call an election now! Harper will sweep to majority! Of course, they all arrived with the original post asking for comments, and he hasn’t updated since, so they do smack of…I dunno, not being 100% genuine? Astroturf much?

Then I notice that one of the posts from Camp 2 is from none other than “P. Johnstone”.

O.K., so I have been a Johnstone all my life. And surprisingly, there are not that many of us. Something about the Campbells sweeping into the borderlands 400 years ago and marrying all our women. “Johnson”s out the ying-yang, “Johnston”s a dime a dozen, but “Johnstone”? Not too common. Telus White Pages list no Johnstones in New Westminster at all, and only 8 in all of Burnaby. I guess it is possible that there is another P. Johnstone in New West without a listed phone number like me, who happened upon Paul Forseth’s blog on the day he posted a request for comments, who rushed to comment. Hey, some coincidence, but stranger things happen.

Or, Maybe Paul saw my dig at his blog on another much, much more local blog and took notice. That means he knows I exist, and has been paying attention enough that this slightly uncommon but totally random name appeared in his “pseudo-comments”. I leave it up to Occam to decide.

Too bad he didn’t take my gentle jibes for what they were: advice to use his burgeoning web presence to try to connect with the people in New Westminster. That is the power of social media, it isn’t just an advertising platform, it is an opportunity to engage in conversation. For example, one local MP has been vocal about the transportation issues affecting New Westminster (those projects receiving federal funds, so therefore relevant to the federal file). Where is Paul on the UBE? Where is Paul on anything?

Maybe he need to think about taking a workshop on how Social Media is supposed to work…

Update: March 14:
In what I am sure is a complete coincidence, Paul’s website now has a post talking about a local event, and all the older missives from the PMO posts have gone down the memory hole. It’s a fundraiser, but at least it’s local!

Good to have another active voice added to the local blogosphere… I don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but we need a little more active input from the Right side of the political spectrum around here.

4 comments on “Pinch me, I’m famous – Updated!

  1. Sadly the Way Back Machine doesn’t seem to have archived his blog. Hrm, is this yet ANOTHER digital New West thing I’m going to have to do? To start automatically archiving all New West blogs to capture these incidents?

    I’ll think about it…

    Oh, look at that, as I was typing this the latest council meeting video has just finished uploading.

  2. Dude,

    Do you remember the date of “his latest post” in the above? Is it this (from google cache)

    Also, are you sure Mr. Forseth started dumping stuff down the memory hole in March and not earlier?

    Please give me a shout at

  3. Sorry, BCL, I’m not going to get into that game.

    The purpose of my post was to call Forseth out on not engaging well with the community, it came from a conversation that arose on onlynewwest (Theresa McManus’ very local blog) that included a list of local blogs, and I took exception to Forseth’s being considered “local”. It seems that Forseth or his people have taken the criticism to heart, and are trying to become more engaged, and I applaud them for this. Like I said originally we need more voices from the Right.

    Is this en election issue? I sure as hell hope not. There are enough legitimate policy reasons to criticize the Cons: their current Lie, Cheat, and a Steal file is pretty thick, they would rather build prisons than licence guns, they would rather buy fighter jets than fund heath care, and they are content with turning the entire northern half of our country into a toxic waste dump for the filthy lucre. Every one of their positions on almost any topic are counter to good science, ethics, responsibility, humanity, or reason.

    So there is no need to muck about in the poor communications strategy of a lonely candidate in a no-hope riding. It smacks of ugly politicking, and distracts from the real horror that is the Harper Conservative Party plans for our country.

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