In my previous post, I critiqued communications. The campaign theme was flawed, the execution was acceptable. Now I’ll set my teeth into Organization.
Candidate selection: There was a certain amount of criticism when Sharon Labchuks letter
about candidate recruiting was leaked. Basically the criticism is not misplaced. Many candidates were recruited as a warm body to receive votes for the GPC. A warm body is better than nothing, (usually), but good candidates in 308 ridings should be a key objective. The job needs to start now because simply put, finding good candidates is a lot of work. Look at the key ridings, which I have short listed to about 20 ‘winnable’ ridings. These are the key ridings, with evenly distributed three or four way splits in the share of the popular vote. These ridings have to have quality candidates, able to bring something to the table.
Candidates must have ambition, and want to serve the electorate. If you want to find people who fit the bill, there’s one obvious place to look. Past political candidates. Look at municipal incumbents, and candidates from recent elections. Look at the candidates from recent Provincial,
and Federal elections. Party affiliation needn’t be a stumbling block. Peoples life circumstances change, and the GPC is, after all, made up largely of former members of other party’s. The name recognition, and the association with the GPC is valuable for ambitious would be municipal candidates, so win or lose, we certainly have something to offer. Past candidates have experience, local affiliations and associations, and a core volunteer group loyal to them. After that, look for local community groups, and community activists that have a strong following. The GPC organizer should seek the advice of the local EDA, but needs to get on the job NOW. Call the prospective candidates, point out the benefits that name recognition, and Green Party affiliation will have for them, and recruit them!
Training: The vast majority of EDA’s are made up of people who have heart, but no political
experience or skills. They need to be taught how important methodical canvassing, and preservation of data are. Keep it simple, keep it fun, but teach people how to run a campaign on a small budget. The first basic skill that every camapaign must master are how to motivate and retain volunteers. (Mostly putting them to productive work immediately, recognize their contribution, and liberally sprinkle the work with fun). The next is to systematically target, and implement their canvas. (Database templates, sample scripts, forms, etc.) The most important thing for organizers to teach is how to collect, and preserve data. The supporters canvassed are the source of future donations, members, and votes at the Federal, Provincial, and municipal level. Preserve this data to hand on to future EDA executives, like it was gold, which, of course, it is.
There’s so much more that could be said, but if these few things are done very well, then the GPC will start electing people. I do not know what all those GPC ‘oganizers’ on the payroll are up to, but from what I saw in the 2008 election, it wasn’t recruiting candidates, growing membership, of training the EDA’s.