The first definite candidate riding for a By-Election campaign for Elizabeth May of the Green Party of Canada will be coming into play sometime in the next 115 or so days. Last week, the recently elected Dawn Black, NDP MP resigned her seat to seek the same seat in the upcoming Provincial election. Kudo’s to Mark Taylor for pointing out that the second place Conservative candidate, Yonah Martin was just appointed to the Senate. This is a very interesting situation indeed, given that there was such a tight race between the NDP and the CPC, with the Liberals coming in third by a wide margin.
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|New Democrat||Dawn Black||20,787||41.8%||+3.49|
|Libertarian||Lewis C. Dahlby||314||0.6||NA|
|Total valid votes||49,692||100.00%|
|Total rejected ballots||165||0.33|
The total turnout in this race was 61.74%, which is about average. The Liberals have been floundering in the New Westminster riding, and have steadily been shedding votes since the 2000 election. With a new, and relatively centrist leader, the Liberals can probably expect a bit of a bounce back at the expense of both the NDP and Conservatives. It is no secret that the best opportunity for a Green Party victory is with a high profile candidate, (Like Elizabeth May), and a four way split amongst the electorate. IF, (and it’s a big if), the Liberals decide to field a centrist candidate to split the tory vote in this traditionally right of centre riding. If the Green Party hires a hot damned professional campaign manager, and IF Elizabeth May decides to throw her hat into the ring, then this could be the first properly elected seat for the GPC in Canada.
From what I know of Elizabeth though, she will tap the shoulder of her old friend and ally, Adrian Carr to run the campaign. Adrian has reputedly acquired an old NDP Campaign manual, and this will probably qualify her in her own, and Elizabeth’s eyes. Elizabeth would be well advised to gently deflect Adrian, and hire a real professional. (If she can find one). As she hopefully learned in the 2008 Central Nova debacle, it takes a tightly focused Poll by Poll canvas to take on and beat the Conservatives in their own natural surroundings. She needs someone who will win the riding by contesting each and every poll. Dropping 75% of the Campaign budget on advertising simply does not cut it. Direct contact is what wins elections. I mean, for crying out loud, Central Nova could have hired professional call centres to canvas the whole riding for the kind of money they spent on print and radio advertising. It all smacked of a total rookie campaign manager, who simply doesn’t understand how retail politics is done but had an inkling that money wins elections.
What’s with this obsession with local advertising anyways? Elizabeth insisted on the same bloody thing in the London North Centre by-election, with full page ads in the local papers. A few hundred bucks for event notices and such, sure. A little advertsing dough to render the editorial staff receptive, well, that’s how politics is done. Popping your whole budget to reach a fraction of the electorate with a couple of print impressions? That’s not how you do it! Money in politics means paying professionals to help with GOTV. It means phone banks canvassing like crazy to feed the GOTV machine. It means vehicles rented to drive people to the advance polls. It means retailing your message, one on one!
Above all, Elizabeth needs to be very careful not to lose in her next trip to the polls. The Green Party can be publicly very forgiving of the failures of their leadership, but there are already significant rumblings within the ranks. In the spring of 2010, the Green Party of Canada wil be gearing up for a Leadership race. Another electoral failure of the ‘Great Green Hope’ so close to the next Leadership race will be taken as a signal by many Greens. A signal that the gamble with a media savvy Leader was not as good as it seemed at the time.