Youth Text 2008 Harnesses Text Messaging Technology to Connect Young Canadians with Political Parties

September 11, 2008 – The Dominion Institute is proud to announce the launch of Youth Text 2008, an innovative project that allows young Canadians to use the power and speed of text messaging to voice their opinions and connect with the political parties directly. Youth Text 2008 will operate throughout the 2008 federal election and is supported by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA).

Youth Text 2008 invites Canadians under the age of 24 to send questions or comments to political parties by sending a text message to an assigned 5- or 6-digit short code (see below). The parties will answer these questions and comments within 24 hours. Participating users will also have the option of joining a party’s Youth Text community to receive regular updates and information throughout the campaign. Youth Text 2008 builds on the success of similar initiatives during the 2004 and 2006 federal election campaigns.

“Only 42.2% of first-time voters cast a ballot in the last federal election, the lowest turnout rate of any age group in Canada,” said Marc Chalifoux, Executive Director of the Dominion Institute. “We must find innovative ways to engage young Canadians with the democratic process. That is why the Dominion Institute created Youth Text 2008 and we invite all young Canadians to have their voices heard by the political parties.”

“CWTA is very pleased to once again be a part of this exciting initiative,” said David Farnes, Acting President of CWTA. “Canadians have overwhelmingly embraced text messaging in recent years, and we are now sending more than 45 million texts a day. Youth Text is a prime vehicle for young Canadians to utilize the instant and personal nature of text messaging in connecting with the political process.”

The following four parties have confirmed their participation and can be reached using the short codes listed below:

Conservative Party of Canada: TXTCPC (898272)

Liberal Party of Canada: TXTLIB (898542)

New Democratic Party of Canada: TXTNDP (898637)

Green Party of Canada: TXTGRN (898476)

All registered political parties have been approached to take part in Youth Text 2008. At present, the four parties listed above have confirmed their participation. Please visit www.thedemocracyproject.ca for updates and more information on Youth Text 2008.

The Dominion Institute (www.dominion.ca) is a national charitable organization that promotes greater knowledge and appreciation of Canadian history and citizenship.

CWTA (www.cwta.ca), the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada, is the administrator of the text messaging Common Short Codes (www.txt.ca) for Youth Text.

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For more information:

Marc Chalifoux
Executive Director – The Dominion Institute
416.602.9721
marc@dominion.ca