Dear Alberta's federal and provincial politicians,
We have a bone to pick with (some) of you. We've been looking closely at your Twitter accounts, keeping an eye on your tweets, and we're not liking a lot of the messages we see. Too many retweets, too many updates about where you're going and where you've been, too much stiff PR language.
We want to see you using the platform to inform constituents, yes, but we also want to see you fielding their questions and providing them with the information that effects them. We also want to get to know you. Not just as a politician -- we want the real you. Tweet out the occasional vacation picture or share the best movie you've seen recently. Tell us a joke. Inform us, but also engage us.
To help you out, we've compiled the what we believe to be the best MLA and MP Twitter accounts to come out of Alberta. While these folks may not get it right 100 per cent of the time, they are putting in the effort and, overall, doing a great job. Take a few tips from them and soon you'll be connecting with your constituents in a way never before possible ... and they will respect you for it.
Alberta's Top MPs and MLAs on Twitter
MLA Doug Griffiths
<strong>MLA Doug Griffiths - MLA for Battle River-Wainwright and Minister of Municipal Affairs</strong> Genuine and full of personality, Doug's Twitter feed reads like he enjoys sending out his tweets. He'll hash out an issue with a follower on Twitter, and see the conversation through to the end. He's also a big Green Back Packers fan and we love that he tweets about his team. <a href="https://twitter.com/GriffMLA">@GriffMLA</a>
MP Joan Crockatt
<strong>Joan Crockatt - MP for Calgary Centre</strong> To be completely honest, we liked Joan's Twitter feed a lot more before she became MP -- since being elected it's become a little bland. But Joan gets big marks for being a consistent tweeter, chatting with her constituents and sending out pictures of a tasty meals. She also gets props for not changing her Twitter handle to reflect her new position (we're all about the personal brand.) <a href="https://twitter.com/Crockatteer">@Crockatteer</a>
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
<strong>Stephen Harper - Prime Minister of Canada</strong> What can we say? Calgary's very own Stephen Harper has been killing it on Twitter lately. Everything from jokes, to funny photos of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmharper/8401831197/">him and Obama yucking it up</a>, to tweets that are a bit bizarre and cryptic. He's often criticized for being robotic, so <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/16/stephen-harper-twitter-tweets_n_2488630.html">his Twitter strategy is a great PR move</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/pmharper">@pmharper</a>
MLA Kent Hehr
<strong>Kent Hehr - MLA for Calgary-Buffalo</strong> Kent Hehr is a really friendly guy IRL and it definitely transfers over to his Twitter account (he'll usually end his tweet to you with "my friend.") He's personable and takes time to talk with his followers as well as share his favourite music. He's also the only person we've ever seen be able<a href="https://twitter.com/kenthehr/status/293454065210359808"> to make nice with Ezra Levant</a> on Twitter, so he's got to be doing something right. <a href="https://twitter.com/kenthehr/">@KentHehr</a>
MP Mike Lake
<strong>Mike Lake - MP Mill Woods-Beaumont</strong> Mike Lake doesn't just tweet about his job as a member of Parliament, he's also putting a very real face on the challenges of having a child with autism. He tweets often about his teenage son and has clearly become an advocate and supporter of other parents coping with similar challenges. He's currently in Africa and is tweeting beautiful photos from his trip. You should check it out. <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeLakeMP">@MikeLakeMP</a>
MP Jason Kenney
<strong>Jason Kenney - MP for Calgary Southeast & Minister of Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism</strong> Jason Kenney has been known to get himself in trouble on social media from <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/20/jason-kenney-twitter-toronto-shooting-foreign-gangsters_n_1690660.html">time</a> to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/07/09/jason-kenney-petition-refugees-immigration_n_1659899.html">time</a>, but at least he's out there tweeting lots and engaging with his followers. He throws out questions and invites people to respond. We're also a fan of his occasional French language tweets -- it's important to speak to everyone. <a href="https://twitter.com/kenneyjason">@kenneyjason</a>
Hon. Thomas Lukaszuk
<strong>Thomas Lukaszuk - Deputy Premier of Alberta, MLA for Edmonton Castle Downs</strong> Thomas is easily the wittiest politician we follow on Twitter. He's quick to take a poke at fellow politicians, regardless of party, and likes to tease members of the media. This <a href="https://twitter.com/LukaszukMLA/status/294818030532325377">recent zinger</a> directed at Alberta Liberal Chief of Staff, Jonathan Huckabay, stands out: "I take it you just got to your office... “@huck_AB: @LukaszukMLA @sunrickbell Get me a shovel...I smell equine fecal matter...” <a href="https://twitter.com/LukaszukMLA/">@LukaszukMLA</a>
MLA Danielle Smith
<strong>Danielle Smith - Leader of the Wildrose Official Opposition and MLA for Highwood</strong> Danielle is the most engaged out of all of Alberta's party leaders and we love her for that. She'll answer your questions, tell you when you're wrong and tell it like it is. She's also <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/22/danielle-smith-xl-foods_n_2001537.html">quick to own up to her Twitter mistakes</a>, which is also appreciated. <a href="https://twitter.com/ElectDanielle">@ElectDanielle</a>
MP Michelle Rempel
<strong>Michelle Rempel - Calgary Centre North & Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment</strong> Hockey fan, wine lover and proud feminist, Michelle Rempel's Twitter feed is entertaining, thoughtful and informative, all at once. She tweets what she eats and what music she's listening to, as well as a good mix of informative tweets and RTs. <a href="https://twitter.com/MichelleRempel">@MichelleRempel</a>
MP Rona Ambrose
Rona Ambrose - <strong>Edmonton—Spruce Grove / Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women </strong> It's been a while since Rona's tweeted personally from her account (Dec. 24), but her RTs are plenty and so darn interesting. She also responds to journalists, which is always appreciated by members of our industry. Come back soon, ok, Rona? We miss your tweets. <a href="https://twitter.com/MinRonaAmbrose">@MinRonaAmbrose</a>
MLA Greg Weadick
Greg Weadick - MLA Lethbridge West and Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs We hope Greg can pick up a few new followers, because he's doing a great job on Twitter. With just under 300 tweets, it looks like he's pretty new to Twitter, but is catching on fast. He's great at recognizing the accomplishments of his constituents. We just hope to see a few more personal tweets from him in the future. We want to know you, Greg! <a href="https://twitter.com/GregWeadickMLA">@Greg Weadick</a>
Is there anyone we missed? Let us know what you think in the comments below.