I ran my regular Google news search on Green Party of Canada, and apparently there was a candidate nomination contest last week in Northumberland Quinte West. I must confess that I was curious, because one of my Green Party colleagues had attended the meeting, and implied that Stan Grizzle, the new candidate was someone to watch.
According to this Northumberland Today article, Stan was a liberal in his previous political incarnation, who sought the local liberal nomination in opposition to Paul Macklin, the candidate in the last federal election. I simply do not know how credible Stan’s nomination contest was, but if he was serious, then in all likelihood, he has a local support network to bring to the table for the EDA. I was also pleased to see that the EDA is actively preparing for the next election. At least, the existence of an election readiness commitee, that is meeting later this week implies that they are actually preparing in advance.
According to this NorthumberlandNews article, Stan is also a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, and the Brighton Colour guard, which are both important credentials, as any rural politician can tell you. Here’s a snapshot of the electoral landscape in the riding:
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|New Democrat||Russ Christianson||8,230||14.5%|
|Total valid votes||56,687|
|Total rejected ballots||186|
|Ontario general election, 2007|
|Progressive Conservative||Cathy Galt||15,328||31.2|
|New Democrat||Carolyn Blaind||6,481||13.2|
|Green||Judy Smith Torrie||5,020||10.2|
As may be seen from the Federal numbers, the GPC Campaign missed a very important milestone, 10% of the vote, missed by a margin of 1,057 votes. This is truly significant, because in the last election, the GPC Campaign actually spent $34,300, which would have entitled them to a $20,580 rebate. I know that money isn’t everything, BUT that’s a lot of hard work put into fundraising, and minding the pennies. It would be nice to think that the next campaign had a $20,000 leg up. The 2008 Campaign was obviously pretty active, given that they received donations from 104 people, which is a pretty good number for a GPC EDA during the course of an election.
My first piece of advice to Stan, and the EDA is to prepare right now to GOTV to the advance polls in the next election. In 2008, the campaign only pulled in 469 out of 7,466 ballots cast at the advanced polls. That represents 6.3%, and is a few hundred votes shy of the % mark set on the general election day. Never ever forget that the advance polls are your chance to lock down the soft green supporters, as well as ensure that all the committed GPC supporters do actually vote.
In the last election, Brighton delivered 415 votes out of 5,395 ballots cast. I would hope that Stan, being a member of the Brighton Colour Guard can call on friends and allies to really work the area, and pick up another 400+ votes there. Quinte West is another obvious target. It is the largest group of electors in the riding, but the GPC support levels were only 7.6%. Sooner or later the EDA will have to break through there, and it might be a suitable target for an intensive effort next time. Based upon the Elections Canada tabulated results, and sorting the advanced polls, there is no really concentrated GPC support in the riding. Since there is no substantial strong point, I believe that the campaign might be well served to create one. Don’t forget that in another 19 months or so, there are going to be municipal elections. Look at the small towns where there is likely to be a contested election. Look for mayoral, and council candidates whom you can pull into a strong local team. If, for example, you were able to find a slate of council candidates for Quinte West, and put a mayoral candidate at their head, then you might have the beginnings of an electoral machine. The quid pro quo is simple. Campaign for us, and build our supporter lists, then we’ll campaign for you, and share our lists and infrastructure. Unfortunately, I do not have the local knowledge to be more explicit in my advice than this. The riding is divided up into smaller townships, so take this fact, and win the district one town at a time. Don’t forget that the Green Party is a very valuable political ‘Brand’. It will work Municipally, and Provincially, as well as Federally, so put it to work for you!