Almost every Electoral District in Canada presents the opportunity for a highly targeted ethnic, religious, or language based campaign. For many people it is a joy, and a privilege to live in an Electoral District that has a number of distinct ethnicities within it’s boundaries. Many EDA’s recognize this by translating their election literature into one or two different languages, but that is just touching the surface of what will be required to win the vote of a distinct group.
If your’ EDA has reached a plateau, then you will have to pay serious attention to segmenting the population within your district, and winning the next election at a really micro level. The easiest specialty campaign, or canvas to organize is for a distinct language. You need to start by identifying the individual members of the ‘target’ language. I’ll use Polish as an example. You’ll have to extrapolate for your own District. Have a couple of Polish speaking volunteers go through the entire electors list, and tag all of the Polish last names. Compile this list, either by tagging language or ethnicity data-field in your’ electronic database, OR compile a seperate list if you haven’t yet managed to get a nice electronic database established. (be sure to retain Poll
numbers in this list!).
Now for some donkey work! If you haven’t already acquired all the phone numbers, you need to do the lookups, and ensure that you get them all. You will ultimately reach the group by telephone, because they will generally be scattered throughout the area, and a targeted foot canvas will be very much hit and miss. Start work NOW because you can, and there’ll be plenty of other stuff to do once the writ is dropped. Don’t forget to preserve this data in electronic format! (Spreadsheet will do if all else fails).
The next step is to find out who is prominent in the Polish community. Start approaching community leaders, and meeting one on one. This will include Priests, Business Associations,
Veterans Associations, Polish Language media, etc. and canvas them to determine what the important issues within their community are. Just by engaging community leaders in this manner, you are gaining a degree of acceptance that I guarantee you didn’t have before. Disect the GPC platform, and assemble the points that will have particular resonance within this community. Tell your new contacts the truth, their community is important to you, and that you want their endorsement. Once you have a respectable slate of endorsements, you are ready to create community specific campaign literature. Create simple conversion pieces, that name all the endorsers, and en-numerates the most attractive features of our platform.
The next step is fairly conventional retail politics. Run your phone canvas in the appropriate language. Lead off each conversation with the names of some of your’ endorsements, and ask for the vote, a sign placement, and for volunteer hours. Have your specialty campaign team research community picnics, meetings, and venues for your’ candidate to come out and meet the community. Make sure that a translator is with the candidate, and that you have the proper conversion piece (flyer) with you. I guarantee you that the Liberal Party is there before you, but if you do this really well, then you can pick off some chunks of support. Be opportunistic: If the other Party’s have somehow screwed up their position within an ethnic group, then move right on in there. Record all voting intentions, (not just Green Party), and have your Polish speaking volunteers make the phone calls, and house visits when you Get Out The Vote.
A quick post script: If you are in the Green Party of Ontario, don’t waste your time working on a predominantly Catholic community, like the Polish. Seperate school funding matters to Catholics, and all your efforts will be wasted when the Liberals roll through their lists and point out that the GPO wants to eliminate seperate school funding. ( What a boneheaded move!)