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NDP social-media strategy puts Layton in the palm of your hand

NDP Leader Jack Layton boards the bus after a campaign stop at Surrey, B.C., on March 27.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

Technology is bringing the federal election to Canadians in ways like never before.

As Twitter rolls on with tweet after tweet about the words and deeds of the party leaders, the New Democrats have launched three new tools to help voters interact directly with party central.

By texting "NDP" to 101010 on a cellphone, Canadians can receive a direct message from NDP Leader Jack Layton, read his campaign promises, get involved in the campaign, donate, receive updates from the campaign trail, and download a link to the Jack Layton iPhone app.

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The party's print ads have incorporated QR codes, which are small black-and-white squares that allow voters to use their smart phone to get more information or RSVP on Facebook for events with Mr. Layton.

And people who cannot attend campaign events in person can watch as they are live-streamed on

Not very many Canadians are old enough to remember the time when people streamed out of their homes to watch politicians campaign from the caboose of a train as it rolled through town.

But it was not that long ago that the nightly TV news and the morning papers were the main source of information that helped voters make their choices.

The response to the iPhone app has been fantastic, NDP Leader Jack Layton said on Monday.

"People have been going to our app and linking in to what they are doing, and it's very interactive," he said. "I think people are finding it to be a really innovate way of being able to interchange on the issues."

It's too early to say what kind of difference it's going to make in the election, he said. "But we know that a lot of people are turning to these new technologies, these new approaches to engage with one another and with us, and we are very excited about it."

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Gloria Galloway has been a journalist for almost 30 years. She worked at the Windsor Star, the Hamilton Spectator, the National Post, the Canadian Press and a number of small newspapers before being hired by The Globe and Mail as deputy national editor in 2001. Gloria returned to reporting two years later and joined the Ottawa bureau in 2004. More

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