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Prime Minister Stephen Harper likes Homer Simpson.

Or does he?

CBC reported over the long weekend that the fabled, donut-loving cartoon dad was among the 223 people Harper follows on Twitter.

Not long after, Simpson got the boot.

Have no fear Homer. You are in good company as Harper also does not follow Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron or any other G7 leaders. But let's be real.

Is analyzing Harper's twitter account really going to tell us much? What are the odds he actually uses it himself? Slim to less than none. 

@pmharper follows 224 Twitter users as of 1:20 p.m. Eastern time today. He has tweeted 2,581 times and has 493,000 followers.

Most of his tweets are repeats of official news releases (albeit in shorter form), and the occasional "Hey, I'm a regular person just like you" injection, such as a photograph of himself at the Ottawa Red Blacks game Saturday night. (A game I was at but only knew he was in attendance because I was texting with someone who was watching the game on television).



It's unlikely we'll dredge up anything remotely interesting (read: not preplanned for specific political gain) on his Twitter feed or even those of the opposition leaders for that matter. But what about regular old jane or joe MPs? Even cabinet ministers are allowed to tweet themselves and many do.  

Treasury Board President Tony Clement (@TonyclementCPC) is one of the best at it, using the medium expertly to both disseminate talking points but speak directly to his friends and foes alike. Sometimes it gets him into trouble - such as picking an online fight with a teenager. But the technology also gives him a human side, and a glimpse at the man behind the name.

Backbench and opposiiton MPs mainly run their own Twitter accounts, including reading the tweets and choosing who to follow. 

So What about our Manitoba MPs? Generally they follow people you'd expect: other politicians, mostly in their own political party but all follow some in other parties, people in their areas of interest or expertise, media. This in itself can be useful information, giving a glimpse perhaps of who they admire, or where within their own parties they tend to lean.

Some, such as Joyce Bateman, Shelly Glover and rookie Provencher MP Ted Falk, appear to stick solely to people and organizations connected to their political roles. 

NDP MP Pat Martin and Conservative Bob Sopuck are not on Twitter. (Martin quit the site in 2012 after a slew of hot-headed tweets landed him in hot water.)

But most seem to have a few on their lists that might give you a glimpse at the person behind the politician.

A quick synopsis follows. The "last tweet" embedded is the last tweet the politician posted that wasn't a retweet.

Niki Ashton, NDP


Tweets: 6,080

Followers: 9,213

Follows: 1,410

You might be interested to know she follows: Ron Burgundy (fictional lead character in Anchorman movie series), the Saskatchewan Roughriders (no Bombers Niki?), comedian Ricky Gervais, actress Lena Dunham, former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.

Last tweet:



Joyce Bateman, Conservative


Tweets: 343

Followers: 512

Following: 195

You might be interested to know she follows: Assiniboine Park Zoo, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pride Winnipeg 

Last tweet:



Candice Bergen, Conservative


Tweets: 1,655

Followers: 3,365

Following: 1,305 

You might be interested to know she follows: Prime Minister of Israel, Frank Magazine, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Jennifer Jones curling team, Milt Stegall

Last tweet:



James Bezan, Conservative 


Tweets: 679

Followers: 3,504

Following: 1,163

You might be interested to know he follows: Winnipeg Cinematheque, Winnipeg Pizza Blog, Burton Cummings, Royal Winnipeg Ballet 

Last tweet:



Rod Bruinooge, Conservative


Tweets: 227

Followers: 5,177

Follows: 3,389

You might be interested to know he follows: Mike Puffy (satire of Conservative Senator Mike Duffy), Winnipeg Jets, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Useful Cannabis.

Last tweet:




Ted Falk, Conservative


Tweets: 53

Followers: 228

Follows: 80

You might be interested to know he follows: Mennonite Heritage Village, Tip Dreg (Jesus-inspired rapper from Blumenort, Manitoba)

Last tweet:



Steven Fletcher, Conservative


Tweets: 1,017

Followers: 5,366

Follows: 2,521

You might be interested to know he follows: Think Geek, NFL and college football, @popehat, @vampirewiki and @superbadadvice

 Last tweet:



Shelly Glover, Conservative 



Followers: 2,208

Follows: 56

You might be interested to know she follows: Canadian country music artist Brett Kissell, Clarence House (official residence of Prince Charles), British Monarchy

Last tweet:



Kevin Lamoureux, Liberal 


Tweets: 420

Followers: 1,922

Follows: 93

You might be interested to know he follows: Ace Burpee, Jian Ghomeshi 

Last tweet:



Larry Maguire, Conservative 


Tweets: 1,121

Followers: 1,208

Following: 996

You might be interested to know he follows: Ontario curlers Rachel Homan, Brad Jacobs, Brandon Marlins baseball

Last tweet:



Joy Smith, Conservative 


Tweets: 2,215

Followers: 2,520

Follows: 2,206

You might be interested to know she follows: Melinda Gates, The Winnipeg Jets, Curler Jennifer Jones, Team Canada Women's hockey, Olympic hockey players Hayley Wickenheiser and Meghan Agosta.

Last Tweet:



Lawrence Toet, Conservative 


Tweets: 324

Followers: 768

Following: 372

You might be interest to know he follows: soccer player Christine Sinclair, crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, the Rocky Mountaineer 

Last Tweet:



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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


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