Why Am I Seeing This Ad? An analysis of New West election ads on Facebook

If you’re on Facebook, you see ads. They slip into your feed with a little “sponsored” note underneath the ad author. Given it’s election season in New Westminster, if you’ve identified yourself as having anything to do with New Westminster you’ll get political ads for the various mayoral, city council, and school trustee candidates.

For every ad that’s on Facebook you can find out why you’re being shown the ad. Click on the three dots at the top right, then select “Why Am I Seeing This Ad?” and you’ll see the demographics that are being targeted with that specific ad.

I’ve done this for the New West political ads I’ve been shown, and here’s what I’ve seen:

Jonathan X. Cote

A couple of weeks ago I saw some of Jonathan Cote’s ads targeting people living in New Westminster who are older than 25. Unfortunately I neglected to get a screenshot. Since then it appears that he’s broadened his target demographic to people who are older than 18 who live in British Columbia.

New West Progressives

The New West Progressives are consistently targeting people near their business, and those who are older than 30 and live near New Westminster.

Chinu Das

Chinu Das’ ad campaigns are focused on people who like their page people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Patrick Johnstone

Patrick Johnstone’s campaigns target people aged 19 and older who live near New Westminster.

Nadine Nakagawa

Nadine Nakagawa’s campaigns focus on people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Mark Gifford

Mark Gifford’s campaigns focus on people interested in Education and (and I seem to be repeating myself here) people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Gurveen Dhaliwal

Gurveen Dhaliwal’s ads are being shown to, you guessed it, people aged 18 and older who live near New Westminster.

Caveats and Notes

I’m 42 and I live in New Westminster. I fall in all of the demographics listed, which is kind of obvious or else I wouldn’t be seeing the ads. There may be other more specific targeted campaigns that aren’t listed here (like the New West Progressives might have one targeting people younger than 30).

The voting age in British Columbia municipal elections is 18.

Jonathan X. Cote answered my questions!

Jonathan X. Cote is running for New Westminster Mayor, and he answered my questions!

1. There are two types of people in the world: people who like simple pop-culture “what type of cheese are you” quizzes that they can then share on Facebook, and people who don’t. Sadly, I don’t have a quiz for you but this is close enough: are you an order muppet or a chaos muppet? Which muppet are you?

Jonathan: Order Muppet

2. When was the last time you visited City Hall? What changes would you propose to make City Hall more welcoming? When was the last time you attended a City Council meeting? What changes would you propose to make City Council meetings more welcoming? Sorry, I guess that was kind of four questions.

A. Yesterday. (note: Jonathan sent the answers on October 5 so he means October 4.)

B. I think City Hall is a very welcoming place, but I would love to see the foyer opened up more to community events to allow residents to feel more connected to the hall.

C. October 1st (Last Council meeting of the term)

D. Council Karaoke???

3. Buy Low Foods recently shut its store in Uptown, leaving a hole in the market for grocery stores. What will you do to ensure that there is proper competition among grocery stores and a Save-On Foods opens in that location, restoring the competitive marketplace that the Competition Bureau foisted upon us in 2014?

My goal is to have every New Westminster resident live within a 5 minute walk to a park. I guess that could also extend to Save on Foods as well 😊

4. New Westminster has a number of advisory committees, task forces, and working groups. Upon being elected, which one would you like to chair the most and why? No need to restrict yourself to an existing one either, if you feel strongly that a new one needs to be formed (that you’d obviously chair) feel free to answer that!

The Mayors Council. (Don’t tell Derek)

5. What is your favourite neighbourhood, and why is it Brow of the Hill?

As someone with three daughters, I have learned not to play this game. Nice try Brad 😊

6. The process leading up to and including the public hearing for the temporary modular housing in Queensborough was… challenging, to say the least. This question is only for the non-incumbent candidates: on the final motion to amend the OCP and rezone the property to allow the temporary modular housing, how would you have voted? Please note that you may describe why you would have voted a particular way, but you must say whether you would have voted in favour of or against the motion on the table.

Note: Jonathan is an incumbent and thus didn’t have to answer this question. He voted in favour of the motion on the table.

7. Who would be on your sasquatch hunting team?

Chinu Das: Her PHD in Planning would come in handy for the search.

Patrick Johnstone: I think he wrote a blog about this once.

Jaimie McEvoy: His encyclopedic knowledge of the history of sasquatches would be an asset.

Nadine Nakagawa: Who wouldn’t want the 2017 New Westminster Citizen of Year on the team.

Chuck Puchmayr: Raising cattle has prepared him well for this hunt.

Mary Trentadue: Mary would provide the ever important small business perspective to the hunt.

8. How do you propose engaging with renters, new immigrants, and youth?

In 2016 the Mayors Task Force on Public Engagement completed its work and released its final report on how the City of New Westminster can improve its public engagement processes. Two of the big themes that emerged out of the work of the task force was that the city needed to adopt strategies to make it easier for resident to participate in public engagement and that the city needed to work harder to hear from voices that are not usually captured with traditional forms of public engagement. One of the most accessible facilities in the city is our public libraries. Our libraries attract a wide demographic of people and are often the first point of contact a city has with new residents. It is these factors that make our libraries the ideal location for public engagement hubs.

9. With absolutely no apologies to Chris Campbell, what would your entrance music be? Please note that if you dare pick We Built This City by Starship you are hereby banned from ever running for public office ever again.

Rocky Theme Song

Thank you Jonathan!

New Westminster to replace Quayside trees

After hearing Quayside residents’ complaints about trees blocking their view of the Fraser River, the City of New Westminster has decided to replace all of the trees along the waterfront esplanade.

“We recognize that residents desire a view of the Fraser River, but we must also remain cognizant of our recently-enacted Tree Protection and Regulation Bylaw,” Mayor Jonathan Cote said. “Because of this bylaw, and to remain equitable to all residents of New Westminster, we will be replacing every tree along the Quayside boardwalk with two Giant Sequoias.”

“We decided on Giant Sequoias to be fair to the currently affected Quayside residents. Our bylaws state that we must replace the trees, and replacing like with like means only Quayside residents will be affected. By planting Giant Sequoias along the boardwalk, we can block the view for more New Westminster residents, making for a more equitable solution. This way the Quayside residents will no longer feel singled out.”

The trees can be expected to grow up to 50 meters in height and approximately 6 meters in diameter.

“We hope they’re happy now,” said Cote.

Cote announces Quebec expansion plans

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan X. Coté today announced New Westminster’s expansion into the province of Québec. Local community builders (and all-around great people) Briana and Will Tomkinson are spearheading the future annexation of Montréal with their move earlier this week.

“I cannot be more excited about these plans,” Mayor Coté said. “With their years of experience in bringing communities together in New Westminster, we have high hopes that the Tomkinsons will bring Montreal under the thumb of New Westminster in the coming months.”

A long-time proponent of expanding New Westminster’s land base, Mayor Coté is also not afraid to use force, if necessary.

“While we hope that we will be able to annex Montréal through peaceful means, Will’s collection of axes may be required in the future. We urge the people of Montréal to surrender peacefully.”

The expansion plans to La Belle Province should not have come as a surprise, Mayor Coté said. “I mean seriously, I had the foresight to be born to parents with an accent in their name. These plans have been in the works for a long time.”

And Mayor Coté had the following message for Montréal: “The X stands for ‘expansion’, bitches.”

Found! The missing edits from Jonathan Cote’s inaugural address

While rooting through the recycling bins at New Westminster’s City Hall, I found what looked to be a speech printed out on the City’s letterhead. There are a lot of things crossed out with red pen, but it’s pretty obvious that this is an early draft of incoming mayor Jonathan Cote’s inaugural address. I’m going to share with you some of the things that didn’t survive the editing process.

This part looks like it was his opening:

Thank you all for being here today. Thank you to Wayne Wright, for building a city that we all love. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job that I have the freedom now to coast on your successes for the next four years.

This part was scribbled in the margin:

Note to self: do not, repeat DO NOT do double finger guns at the New Westminster Police and Fire Honour Guards. They are SERIOUS BUSINESS.

This part was crossed out with “FUCK THOSE COQUITLAM PEOPLE” all over it:

As I promised during the campaign, my first order of business will be to increase the size of the Ancient and Honourable Anvil Battery, increase the size of The Royal Westminster Regiment, institute the draft for all able-bodied citizens between the ages of 18 and 40, and expand our land base into Coquitlam, completing the Royal City’s long desire to have an IKEA.

Mr. Cote shows off his geek side in a second “first order of business”:

As mayor, my first order of business will be to declare SimCity as the Official Video Game of New Westminster, and to give the keys of the city to Will Wright.

I think he was going for the English Nerd vote here:

I envision a city where all citizens can properly pronounce “pecuniary”.

And more for the English vote. Scribbled in the margin is “oh man definitely use this for the next council meeting”:

Peace, you ungracious clamours! peace, rude sounds! Fools on both sides!

An ending inspired by Key & Peele?

I’m the leader of New Westminster. *drops mic*

Questions for New Westminster mayoral candidates

New Westminster is going to have an election on November 15, 2014, for mayor, city councillor, and school board trustee positions. There are four men running for mayor: current mayor Wayne Wright, current city councillor Jonathan X. Cote, local businessman James Crosty, and electrical engineer Vladimir Krasnogor. I have some questions for them. In fact, any of the people running for councillor can answer these too.

All Candidates

  1. Supporting and growing local businesses will help keep jobs in New Westminster, grow our tax base, provide opportunity for New Westminster citizens to live and work in New Westminster, and bring more people to our fair city. A wide range of businesses is also good for a city, as it diversifies the tax base and does not make us reliant upon any one industry. As mayor, what will you do to bring more Save On Foods grocery stores to New Westminster?
  2. The Bailey Bridge was a source of contention between New Westminster and Coquitlam in 2014. As mayor, what will you do to piss off Coquitlam in 2015?
  3. Fallen leaves from trees are a menace to the walkability of New Westminster, creating slippery sidewalks and clogging our storm drains. What will you do to rid New Westminster of this scourge? Patrick Johnstone, you’re ineligible to answer this question because we all know you love the trees. Okay, here, if you want to answer a question for #3 here goes: If you love trees so much why don’t you marry one?
  4. Without using Google, what are the eleven neighbourhoods of New Westminster? Yeah, eleven. I had no idea there were that many. Don’t forget Connaught Heights, everybody forgets them. At least they have a SkyTrain station! Okay, what are the other ten neighbourhoods of New Westminster?
  5. Speaking of the neighbourhoods of New Westminster, which is your favourite and why is it Sapperton?
  6. Why have none of you developed your websites with Of Desks, one of New Westminster’s finest web design and development companies? (Psst, Wes, you can get me a growler from S&O next time I see you)

Wayne Wright

  1. Your website lists your accomplishments without saying what you will do in the coming four years. Should we take this to mean that you’re going to bulldoze everything you’ve done and do it again?

Jonathan X. Cote

  1. It’s been shown that using a middle initial makes you look smarter. As the only candidate to use his middle initial in this campaign, why do you need this advantage? What are you hiding?
  2. Much ink has been spilled about The Machine that runs your campaign. What fuels The Machine — gas, solar power, or the tears of your vanquished opponents?

James Crosty

  1. As mayor, will you learn how to properly reference someone on Twitter by using the @ symbol in front of their name?

Vladimir Krasnogor

  1. What do you have against machines? Are stocking frames safe in New Westminster under your mayoralty?

Answers can be sent to me at brad.cavanagh@gmail.com or, if you’re James Crosty, you’ll probably tweet them to me anyways at @CanSpice. I fully expect none of you will respond, but be warned that I’ll put your responses up here when I get them!

Update: A number of candidates have answered these questions: