Who & What is WOW?

Maybe you’ve been seeing some ads from WOW, but have you started to dig into who they are?

Here is they’re site…

But, there isn’t a whole lot of content about their history or even about transparency about themselves. Like, Who runs the org? Do they have Board of Directors? Who are they’re key stakeholders? None of that information is present on their site, but a “Donate” button is. I’m the furthest thing from a shitty MRA douchebag, or a PC Supporter that is being all salty because Patrick Brown is a booger-eater.

I’m the opposite, I self-identify as a progressive, I’m believe and advocate for equity. For gender justice. I am WOW’s male demographic.

But I’m skeptical… For a few reasons…

Here’s a Star piece about their org.

“Working Ontario Women organization
plans pre-election ad blitz”

By Robert Benzie
Queen’s Park Bureau Chief
Thu., Oct. 12, 2017

They seem cool… Look at the caption in that photo of a truly befuddled Ontario Conservative leader, Patrick Brown!

“WOW’s ads will urge voters to vote for progressive candidates
who “elevate women’s issues and advocate for women’s rights.”

And right now, their site, their Facebook and Twitter pages aren’t openly advocating for one party or another, yet. But, I am not sold. Here are some notable quotes from the article, they illuminate some of my concerns about WOW’s existence, purpose and political affiliations.

“Bankrolled by the powerful Service Employees International Union, which has 2 million members in North America and has supported the governing Liberals in the past, WOW will be advertising on television and online in the coming days.”

They’re asking us all to donate and to be part of the political discourse around several issues. They’re currently running ads against Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown. Which means, right now their focus is on Patrick Brown and the PC’s…

But what if Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats start making gains and pulling ahead and then away from the Wynne Liberals? Will they change their strategy in support of Kathleen Wynne and begin campaigning against New Democrats, or will they tow the line and support Horwath in defeating Brown’s PC’s and every other candidate that is working against the issues they declare they are advocating in support of?

In other words… How deep is their partisanship? How close are they with the Ontario Liberals?

None of this is clear and that’s a little concerning.

A second quote…

“While campaign financing rules imposed in the wake of a Star probe have placed spending limits on so-called third-party groups like Working Families, new organizations such as WOW are springing up.”

So this raises another concern… WOW seems to exist as a way to circumvent revised campaign financing regulations for 3rd parties.

So, combining that with the potential partisanship… Can we can expect more newly formed 3rd party special interest groups? With more clever issue specific acronyms? Some about health care, the environment, affordable energy, democratic reform, cultural diversity, LGBTTQ rights and advocacy?

What if these orgs are just partisan megaphones serving also to mine constituent data?

All of these issues are legitimate. People are passionately connected to them. And if these issue specific 3rd party orgs are cropping up and claiming to be advocating on behalf of marginalized communities, underrepresented Ontarians, claiming to be on the side of fairness, but their real purpose is to data mine, advertise and be a megaphone for strictly partisan ends… Then we’re getting gamed.

This strategy has been used before by all sides… But now, it could be more dangerous and irresponsible. It could create distrust and cynicism in people about the legitimacy and missions of the real charitable and advocacy organizations that are working tirelessly everyday to improve the lives of the people and issues they advocate for.

Overall, I’d say be cautious and question the relationship they have with the Ontario Liberals. Because, while the Star writes…

WOW aims to prevent a Trumpian outcome of next June’s Ontario election.”

WOW could just end up being a data mining operation and then a partisan megaphone speaking in empty platitudes and generalities about the issues we’re most passionate about.

But, WOW could also be a great resource in getting actual progressive political leadership into our provincial government.