The Green Party post election re-canvas.

Hang up the Gloves time?

Hang up the Gloves time?

Here we are, 3 months after the October 14, 2008 election. All those long evenings of door knocking, delivering flyers and pounding the phones are a fast receding memory. You’ve probably hung up the gloves, and are wondering, with a little dread, if you’re going to be out doing it again in another couple of months. Or maybe you’ve been bitten by the bug, and you are starting to think that the Green Party of Canada has an historic role to fulfill, and you’re wondering what can be done to run a really effective campaign next time?

I’ve stressed before that politics needs to be fun, and that retaining and involving people in between elections is the key to your success in the next election. I’ve said before that hosting a regular monthly Pub night is a great way to keep everybody together in between elections. Just the act of sending a regular email to everybody letting them know that somethings going on will be enough to retain a degree of engagement. Many people will never come to a Pub night, until the media starts talking about the next election, then wham, bam, everybody shows up.

There is something extremely effective that can be done immediately that will have a great impact. I was taught about this by an old school Liberal, from whom I learned many things, some great, and others simply shockingly wicked. First of all, is the Candidate in your riding really committed to helping build the EDA? Perhaps your’ candidate has ambitions for the next municipal elections? Perhaps your’ EDA is consciously tag teaming between Federal and Provincial campaigns to build the supporter databases? Above all, is the candidate willing to invest a little time for an outstanding return? If you have any supporters lists at all, then this is the time to re-canvass the riding.

The Candidates Task

The Candidates Task

You’re probably thinking; ” Is blueblogger nuts?. We just got finished with a campaign, and he wants us out there canvassing again!” Well it’s not as daunting as it sounds. The job to get done is to straighten out all of the supporter lists that were generated in the campaign. You need to get every identified supporter into a poll by poll database, whether on a spreadsheet, or a more sophisticated database. Sort the identified supporters by street addresses, and get your’ ducks in a row. The Candidate will be going to the doors of all identified supporters in order to thank them personally for their support in the election. While at the door, the Candidate will ask them to continue their support in the future, and invite them to include their name, and email address in the pub night invitation list. Have something as a leave behind flyer, with the regular date and time of the Pub Night printed on it, and suggest they come along, and bring a friend for a purely social get together with some local Greens. For those who sound interested, have them join the Green Party. A piece of cake, and unless you have 10,000 I.D’d supporters, this will be doable over a couple of weeks.

No matter how big your’ EDA is, this is a fantastic tactic for growing the EDA. It’s not like you have to canvass huge numbers of people, because you’re only going after those supporters that you have already identified. I absolutely guarantee you that your’ canvass will be memorable for everybody that you talk to. You will have locked in many voters as Greens for life. Don’t cheap out and do this by telephone. That will have a marginal impact. You will need to get on it fairly quickly as well. If you wait until the spring, then many supporters will have forgotten that they ever promised to vote Green, and the impact will be greatly diminished. If we do end up having an early election, then you will be very fresh in their minds when you make your first telephone canvas to get signs and volunteers in place.

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7 Responses

  1. I’d be interested in how you apply this strategy to non-metropolitan areas. Pub nights are a great idea if the pub is only twenty minutes away but some of these rural regions have some serious geographic hurdles to overcome. Most rural residents aren’t going to drive 2 hours plus each way for a social event.

    • Hi Mark,
      You may be right for many rural ridings. I grew up in a rural area though, and even though it was probably more densely populated than some, most people there looked forward to chances to socialize. Our family certainly thought nothing of a 1 hr. trip to church on Sunday morning. I for one looked forward to hooking up with all our family friends on the church steps, or at a card game or something afterwards. I guess you will have to adapt to your’ circumstances. Is there some way you can piggyback on peoples normal travel habits? If the majority DO go to church in a larger regional town, maybe instead of a Pub night, you can have some other social event? I am willing to bet that there are a number of events, like tractor pulls, or town fairs that virtually everybody attends. Maybe build a schedule around these big gatherings? I think that in your’ case, where people live in relative isolation, it might be even more effective to give people an excuse to get together. I don’t have all the solutions, but maybe it’ll still work? What do you think?

  2. “Pub night”? So Muslims, Buddhists, other teetotallers, AA members, women who live in areas where the local bars are dangerous or where the only entertainment is strippers (like Alberta) are unwelcome? That’s good to know. Not good politics, but good to know.

    • Of course you have hit the nail right on the head. My purpose is to convert the green party to a culturally homogeneous club of hard drinking, stripper viewing good ole boys , where women from dangerous areas will not be really welcome. I’m amazed that you gleaned my sinister intent from such scant evidence. Well done Sherlock!

  3. “My purpose is to convert the green party to a culturally homogeneous club of hard drinking, stripper viewing good ole boys , where women from dangerous areas will not be really welcome.”

    Yeea-haw! Already achieved in my riding! I better not say which or you’ll spoil our fun.

  4. “. You will have locked in many voters as Greens for life. ” This is a path to being ignored. If the Green vote just steadily rises without any chance for other parties to ever attract it, because the Greens are a social club that only votes for itself, then you either have to wait 50 years to form majority government as every other party abandons Green-like positions, or for the country to break up or your “Greens for life” to vote for other parties.

    A better goal is to sign up people who are not voting Green, for the very good reason that they don’t want a Conservative MP, for vote pairing or vote swapping next time. If you cheerfully tell them you understand their concern and that you’d like them to sign up as Greens on vote pairing/swapping sites like and be ready to vote against Harper in the next election while ensuring a Green vote somewhere else where it does not harm, they will remember you as someone more interested in saving the country than satiating your ego by grabbing precious votes that don’t elect anybody. A cheerfully non partisan attitude towards this, especially if you say “Greens will win more MPs by trading votes anyway” will be the best weapon towards Green policy.

    Your local vote will go up and down, dropping to 1% or 2% from those you can’t reach when there’s danger of electing an anti-ecological MP, raising up to 10% or 16% when there’s no threat of that, and raising way up to ACTUALLY ELECT YOU thanks to vote swapping / pairing when you really have the best chance to win.

    And don’t forget that all vote pairing and swapping sites will tell voters in 80-90% of ridings that they are safe to vote however they want. Which will bolster your vote and dispel the myth that a vote for the Greens *always* splits votes badly enough to do harm.

    So this extra weapon lets you sign up non-Greens who are fanatically Liberal or NDP too on a separate anti-Conservative “vote swappers” list.

    • Sorry, but I never bought into this vote swapping deal. I cannot abdicate my electoral sovereignty. My vote is my own, and my conscience isn’t for sale, swap, or barter. I think that this whole exercise is very cynical. Also there is the obvious fact that cheaters will abuse the deal, and pretend to swap votes. What a gross thought! Your’ ONLY civic input cynically swapped, and bartered, and then stolen. If you hate the Conservatives so much, that’s your business, but I also find the idea of throwing your vote away for such a negative purpose to be distasteful. I will never vote for anybody who did not present the best, and most credible policy to me.

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