June 7, 2018 – General Election Preview Edition #1 - By Rob Brooks
If you haven’t heard before, we are planning to run a full slate in 2018. This means a candidate in every one of the 122 ridings (up from 107 in 2014). Why? Because for a party to be credible, it must demonstrate that it at least has the size and organizational capacity to have a candidate on the ballot everywhere. I know of no case in Canada where a party has run a full slate and where that party has not won one or more seats in a subsequent election. The Green Party federally, and Quebec Solidaire provincially are examples from the last 10 years.
As you know, we are the 5th largest party in Ontario, and if we plan and execute well, we will run a full slate in 2018. This will move us out of the group of 14 or so fringe parties in Ontario into the group of 5 credible parties - parties that conceivably could form the Government – along with the Green, PC, NDP, and Liberal.
In simple terms, we need about 600 hours of effort, and about $35,000. We can save money, and we have been. We have about half or so of what we need already. We cannot save up the hours of effort. We have about 300 members, so we need about 2 hours of effort on average per member. It takes about 4 hours of effort to collect the signatures (25 minimum per riding, 35-40 recommended to be safe) and get signed up as a candidate. Most people can do it all themselves in an afternoon. Some prefer to do it as a team of two, or as a small group. Either way, it just takes a little time and requires no special skill other than to ask people “Will you sign my form for the election?” Some do, some don’t some will ask a few questions. A few hours later, this job is done.
2018 Campaign War Chest Fund
If you haven’t already seen it, we have a 2018 Campaign War Chest Fund Raiser. All the dollars are being saved up to fund the General Election – June 7, 2018. Please chip in regularly. If you chip in about $30 per month, it adds up to a lot for the party, and you will get a rebate of about $300 when you file your tax return. What a deal for everybody involved!
For our full slate plan, we have identified ridings as either Type A, Type B or Type C.
Type A is where a local member runs and takes care of the paperwork themselves, with little need for help (about 4 hours effort). No money is needed. There is no campaign deposit. You just collect the signatures, sign a couple of forms and hand things in to the local Returning Office.
Type B is like Type A, except we don’t have anybody living in the riding. The candidate will live in a nearby riding. They do the same things as Type A. They are responsible for gathering the signatures, filling in the forms and handing them in.
Type C is where the challenge lies. In this case we have no local member running and no member living close by. However somebody is willing to have their name on the ballot – but they might live hundreds of kilometres away – so they really cannot collect the signatures or hand in the paperwork. In these cases we have a plan; our Nomination Support Teams will come to the rescue!
Nomination Support Teams
This is the most important part of our 2018 Campaign Plan. It will make or break our full slate objective. We know from experience we will have many Type C candidates – perhaps about one-third of all ridings. Without help, they won’t get on the ballot. We have a plan! We will be hiring 6 teams of 2 people each – students, paying them $100 per day + reasonable expenses, to get on the road and go to the riding where we need the signatures collected and then hand in the paperwork. The six teams will be home based from Ottawa, Toronto (x 2), London, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Each team will work 5-10 days total and once all the ridings are done, they are done. They don’t even have to be members or supporters of the party. They will like a road trip and a good experience after just finishing the year at college or university. If you know somebody that might like this experience contact Dean T. Harris by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Campaign Plan Outline
At the party Executive Meeting, March 13, 2017, the Executive approved the following Campaign Plan Outline.
Campaign Spending Budget
$15,000 Nomination Support Team
$5,000 printing for booklets / platform flyer
$5,000 printing for bag signs (qty 1,000)
$3,000 Facebook ads, $200 per day, after nominations are completed
$4,500 Active candidate materials, est 30 x $150 avg.
We should raise about $15,000 during May and June 2018 (60 days)
2018 General Election Countdown
June 7, 2018 is the date of the next General Election. The party has installed a countdown timer on its website, so you will never forget and you can check how many days are left. It is right above the 2018 Campaign War Chest thermometer on the upper right side of the page. About 430 days left – I can’t wait!
2018 Election Platform
After working on this for over a year, we have our 2018 general election platform ready to go. Platform development has been a big job, with the party Leader, Allen Small, the Campaign Director, Rob Brooks, and many other members helping along the way. We have been holding monthly member conference calls where we have discussed different elements of the platform. We have tried it out in the by-elections. Lots of tweaking and fine-tuning have happened. It is ready to go! The only remaining step before the election is to have it approved according to the rules of our Constitution and Bylaws this summer. If we have it done by Paolo’s BBQ, we will have some copies of hand-outs ready to distribute.
Rapid Response Team
In the run-up to June 7, 2018, we want to make sure we are as effective as we can possibly be. In part, what this means is that every single member, no matter where they live, or what preferences they have for communications – be it rotary phone, text message, Facebook or email – is fully involved and fully in the loop.
Over the next couple of months, under the leadership of Phil Rackus (email@example.com), we will be putting this together and trying it out. If you are old enough – think of an old fashioned telephone chain. We want to make sure that when we send a message out or an action request to our members, nobody is left behind and everybody is completely in the loop. This will be one of the most important new capabilities that we will build as a party and into our culture as we evolve from fringe party status to credible party status. Stay tuned!
Between now and February 2018, we want to have a name assigned to every one of the 122 ridings so we know in advance if it is a Type A, Type B or Type C situation. Our candidate dashboard is kept up to date. Feel free to refer to it any time you want. Our prospective candidates are the most important asset we have. We need everybody that can possibly be a candidate to offer their services. I have never met a person that said it wasn’t one of the best life experiences they ever had – and it knocks another item off the bucket list. And you know what – a lot of people that do it for the first time become hooked and can’t wait to do it again! From a name on the ballot with no campaign to a full on campaign where you answer media inquiries and go to debates – the choice of involvement is yours.
Whatever you can offer – we need you!