On Nov.8, 2010 there will be Province wide municipal elections in Ontario. There will also be municipal elections in Alberta, Manitoba, and P.E.I. In the fall of 2009 there will be municipal elections throughout the Provinces of Quebec, NewFoundland, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon.
So who cares? says you. Green Party organizers sure should care says I. I’ve posted before on the value of ambitious municipal politicians and candidates as potential organizers, and candidates for both the Provincial, and Federal Green Party’s. There is significant value to both would be Mayors and
Councilors, and to the local Green Party Riding association. Municipal politics is a tough business. Typically, it takes many years of activism in the community to build the networks, and name recognition that it takes to draw in the volunteer base, and sufficient votes to win in a local election. Building a policy platform is far from easy, and getting your message out to a fairly disinterested electorate takes luck, skill, and a lot of hard work.
There are a number of Green Party EDA’s across the country that have the power to anoint local councilors, and Mayors. In Ontario, Guelph, Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Toronto Centre, Toronto Danforth to my certain knowledge, and probably a fair sprinkling of other EDA’s have thousands of identified supporters. They really should be reviewing the municipal Ward boundaries, and making plans for the 2010 Municipal races. What would it be like in a handful of councilors, and one or two local Mayors owed their jobs to your EDA? These are people who spend every day networking in the community, and solving peoples problems for their electorate. They often have full time political staff, and NOBODY knows the local issues, and who falls on which side of them like the local Reeve/Councilor/Alderman etc. Many local politicians will have been out busting their humps for the other Party’s Federally and especially Provincially. Let them know there is a price to be paid, and exact that price in 2010. Those four EDA’s are in the big leagues now, and they have more power potential in local politics than the major Party’s do.
An openly Green municipal candidate can readily put their platform across by publicising their
endorsements by Green Party associations, candidates, and leaders. The Green Party is increasingly popular with the electorate, whether as first or second choice both Provincially and Federally. The association will bring an immediate positive response to the candidate with a majority of the electorate. In addition, Green Party riding associations have a small, but sometimes quite effective political organization. The local association has membership, and supporter lists that can be easily canvassed to deliver a fair sized block of votes. Since municipal elections typically have very low turnouts, this list of motivated electors carries a great deal of weight in a local campaign. There is also the benefit of having a core group of experienced Green Party campaigners on the team.
The benefits are not all one sided in favor of the municipal candidate. Provided the municipal
candidate is openly, and explicitly the Green candidate, then the municipal ID the vote effort will be building up the lists of identified Green Party supporters at the municipal level. These voters will be prime candidates for the Federal, and Provincial canvass in subsequent elections. The Candidate will be building contacts, and a supporter base amongst local organizations. These local contacts may prove a valuable source of Green Party volunteers, and votes in subsequent elections.
A more direct synergy exists as well. A Federal or Provincial candidate gets a lot of publicity during the election. The most valuable possible asset for a municipal candidate is name recognition. By standing as a Green Party Candidate in the upcoming Federal election, an ambitious local politician can build and train a local political organization. By working hard canvassing, and building lists of supporters, they are laying the groundwork for a successful municipal candidacy. That is why I highlighted the timing of the next municipal elections. I think that it is increasingly likely that there will be a general election in Canada, either late in 2009, or in 2010. In Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and PEI, any candidate who stood for office in the spring, would still have name recognition, and a team with recent campaign experience to help them out when their municipal campaign launches in the summer.
Local EDA executives should be seeking out, and talking with local candidates, and potential candidates. This is a very persuasive argument to be used to recruit effective politicians into the Party. And if that candidate ends up winning their election, believe me, there are a lot of advantages to having full time politicians, and their staffers as allies in the local political arena. Lets not forget that old Green Party slogan, ‘Think globally, act locally.’ We can dramatically advance our agenda by gaining power and influence locally.
Filed under: election readiness, Organizing, Political Strategy | Tagged: Canadian Election, election readiness, green party canada, Green Party of Canada, green party organizing, political organizing |