Canada's Prime Minister podcasts – kind of

Canada’s federal government is making some tentative moves into social media.

Prime Minister Stephen HarperLast night, the Prime Minister of Canada’s Podcast popped up on iTunes’ Canadian podcast page. The files can also be accessed through a streaming player on the Prime Minister’s website, as can video files. However, the files on the PM’s site cannot be downloaded.

Without doubt, this is a medium that will enable the Prime Minister and his government to reach past the Parliamentary Press Gallery and speak directly to the citizens of Canada. However, the current presentation is nothing more than the raw audio files of the PM’s speech. This is likely to appeal only to the committed partisan or policy wonk.

To attract a larger audience, the Prime Minister’s Office should enhance the production. Definite must dos: a musical intro;  an introduction by a host to estabish the context and provide a summary of the content and maybe even a brief interview with the Prime Minister after the sound clip to provide some content that is unique to the podcast.

Bottom line: a first step by Canada’s new Prime Minister. Hopefully, there will be more.


  • Ian K

    There ya go, Joe. You called it. I’ll eat my words: this will be the first podcast of many. And, it makes sense.


  • Hi Ian,
    Podcasting sure does make sense for government. Ministers generate a large volume of podcast-ready content through speeches, announcements, media interviews and statements in the House of Commons.

    Now that Prime Minister Harper has led the way, I hope that some of his Ministers will begin to produce podcasts of their own. It is an ideal way to reach the clientele of each ministry.
    Moreover, if properly produced – with music, a narrator/host and an interactive section (i.e. listener questions)- it is realistic to expect to reach a broader audience.

    And it can be done at a fraction of the cost of producing and distributing newsletters or double-ender interviews with local media.

  • Good spot, Joe. Wasn’t his speech actually #1 on the iTunes download chart? That had me checking whether the chart was Canadian downloads only ….

    The PM did make mp3s available of his speeches earlier this spring – maybe it’s the tagging and the delivery to iTunes that are new.

  • Hi Colin,
    In my opinion, the RSS feed is a critical difference between simply making mp3 files available and moving to a true podcast. The former requires that I check for files on a static website. The latter enables me to subscribe to receive new files as soon as they are posted.
    The RSS feed is the new addition this week.

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  • We see a lot of activity in Europe on the internet by politicians. Podcasts and the lot. the upcoming French elections will be the first ones where the internet media part (audio, video) plays an important role. The Right Wing was the first to pick this trend up, now every party is diddling with it, some more effective than others.