Conservative Party relaunches Web site

OTTAWA: The Conservative Party of Canada refreshed its Web site, adding social media flourishes, days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament and called for an election set for October 14.

OTTAWA: The Conservative Party of Canada announced a new social media-focused Web site days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper dissolved Parliament and called for an election set for October 14.

The party announced the Web site revamp on Twitter. Visitors to conservative.ca can now also directly link to Harper's personal pages on Facebook and MySpace, as well as his YouTube channel, where they can watch his “Strong Leadership On Your Side” TV ad currently in heavy rotation.

The Web site is winning some positive reviews within the political blogosphere, most notably for dialling back on its attacks of Liberal leader Stéphane Dion.

“It [previously] was not so much the Web site of a governing party as it was a ‘Dion sucks' website,” wrote Hugh MacIntyre, a blogger for Western Standard, a news magazine with a Western Canadian perspective. “The largest space is still given to attacks, but it is far more balanced. You can actually see more pictures of Stephen Harper than [of] Stéphane Dion.”

Aaron Wherry, a blogger for Canada's weekly news magazine Maclean's, wrote that the Web site positions the prime minister as a family man. But Wherry questions the logic of including “Laureen Harper” under the “leader tab”, given that Canadian political wives have historically been figureheads.

“Is she now fair game for questions from the press? Is it reasonable now to ask for her opinions on government policy?” he wondered. “Or are we still to accept some unwritten agreement that the prime minister's personal life and family is off limits?”

The Conservative Party of Canada did not return phone calls seeking comment about the new Web site.

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