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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Edmonton-Leduc NDP campaign diary, Day 4

Day 4 of the election campaign was, as all the previous ones, successful and busy.

  • I conducted canvassing training for 2 new volunteers, both of whom are an excellent addition to our team. Welcome, Jay and Brad!
  • Canvassing today brought several fence-sitters over to the NDP side. People most unhappy about the Tory-Liberal corporate tax cuts, the state of health care, access to education, and taxation. Many looked surprised to see an NDP candidate at their doorstep. A recurrent phrase - "Well, I'm certainly not a Conservative!" Sounds good to me =)
  • Sign placement has started, although we are still trying to figure out an apparent City of Edmonton bylaw that prevents us from putting signs on public property for the next few days. What is funny is that after we had placed just a handful of signs someone left me a message "I just saw your sign! Cool!"
  • Several candidate forums appear to be in the works. I will publish more details when I have them.
  • Our Twitter account went over 700 followers, surpassing a few more Liberal and Conservative MPs and candidates. We are just getting started! The Twitter account can be accessed by clicking on the Twitter badge on the right side of the screen.
  • The campaign website partly crashed when 25 people tried to access it at the same moment. Problem fixed now.
  • New pictures put on our Flickr account, several new additions are from the campaign launch with Jack Layton this past Saturday. The Flickr account can be easily accessed by clicking on the Flickr badge to the right of this message.
  • As always, looking for more volunteers and sign locations!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Edmonton-Leduc NDP campaign diary, Day 3

Have half an hour before the team starts assembling for our first meeting during the actual campaign (we've had numerous meetings since nomination, of course). The day so far has been quite good:
  • I made a brief statement and answered several questions at a public forum held at the University of Alberta. Thanks to the organizers and to Rachel Notley for inviting me and for this opportunity to address the questions of students. I'm also grateful to several people tweeting at the event and to Aditya Rao for even putting a picture online while I was still talking: . I was teaching a class within an hour of the event's start time and so had to leave early, but this was certainly a great experience.
  • As I returned, I discovered messages about a media opportunity, two donations and several new volunteers waiting for me.
  • The team meeting starting shortly will deal with volunteer direction to work more than actual volunteer recruitment for the first time. We have a number of really dedicated people anxious to get into battle and they will have every opportunity of doing so immediately!
  • Of course, the campaign still needs your support. Signs and ads and leaflets are not cheap - if you can donate, please either write a cheque to "Edmonton-Leduc NDP" and mail it to 14719-51 Ave NW Edmonton AB T6H 5E6 or go to this link to donate online with a credit card. Volunteers are needed as well! Please contact me for details.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Edmonton-Leduc NDP campaign diary, Day 2

Had an interesting and fruitful day today.
  • Organized a short canvassing training session for a few volunteers in the morning, then canvassed for 4.5 hours. Several new sign locations identified, several signatures added to our Elections Canada documentation (we should be ready to march down to their office in Edmonton by Thursday at the latest), several very nice supporters found. 
  • Had a rather lengthy doorstep discussion with an undecided voter in the Greenfield area - he had questions about health care, pension reform, childcare, taxation, Tory "hospitality" expenses - and left with definite support for the NDP and a sign location on a major street. 
  • At the very end of the canvass, talked to a former Conservative supporter who said that he "just cannot force himself to vote Tory this time around". Music...
  • New volunteers identified in Edmonton, Leduc and Devon. Sign placement to activate tomorrow.

Edmonton-Leduc NDP campaign diary, Day 1 going to Day 2

At the suggestion of one of my volunteers, Aaron, I will try and use the blog as a means of sharing step by step, day by day information about how our campaign here in Edmonton-Leduc is progressing starting with the writ drop and until election day. Don't expect this to be punctual (as this very first post shows), as of course the work on the ground will take precedence to my blog.

Day 1: 
  • Getting numerous calls/emails/Facebook and Twitter notes from people interested in volunteering for the campaign. Responding takes some time, but I try to keep it is personal as I can, therefore no "Thank you for your email, someone will get back to you", of course.
  • Signatures for Elections Canada are almost 100% ready, I think we have 10 to go, so should be ready to go and submit those papers within the next week.
  • Our signs are arriving and the Signs Director, Al, is putting together a solid team to have a lot of those out in the next 10 days. Of course, the snow and the ice would make the sign placement an exercise of great resilience and strength...
  • Canvassing effort continues at a high level. Of course, we need more phone and foot canvassers, so let me know if you are available.
  • Jack Layton launched our campaign at a very well-attended rally at the Art Gallery of Alberta. One phrase that really sunk in was "Stephen Harper must have decided that if he broke one promise, he might as well break the rest of them." To the point.
  • The day concluded with a short meeting with new and old volunteers discussing strategy.
Day 2:
  • The day is just starting, but I may have no chance of writing again till Monday.
  • A large group assembling today at noon for a major canvassing effort. We'll start with a training session for those new to canvassing and direct voter contact.
  • The website shows a record number of people (70) coming to our website in just one day. With this kind of exponential growth we'll be up to several hundred people by May 2nd.
  • Twitter account keeps attracting more people as well, having just passed a couple of MPs in popularity. Will try to keep it interesting =)
  • Of course, as expected, the thoughts of "have I done enough in the pre-election campaign?" are attacking my brain viciously. Reassuring words from family and friends getting me back on track. Thanks, everyone!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Some ideas for Mr. Ignatieff

Okay, so Mr. Ignatieff seems to be searching for a good metaphor and not finding it, so proceeding to the next one. It used to be those boutique parties, now it's the "red door and blue door - there is no other choice" variant. First of all, of course, this brings up the whole Matrix moment of "red pill vs. blue pill", as multiple people have already noted (the first one I caught was Christopher White here in Edmonton). If that's an image Mr. Ignatieff wanted to invoke, I'm still trying to grasp it - this may be deep... The words "red door" actually got me thinking of a fire exit, while "blue door" reminded of the "house with a blue door" in "Notting Hill" (gosh, that was a while ago now). Again, the comparison is strange and doesn't seem to work. I cannot take this any longer so here is a list of a few suggestions for Mr. I. to use, that could work just as well or even better (in no particular order):

1) "You can like pizza or you can like coffee - you cannot like both nor can you like anything else": this may add that down-to-earth component to Mr.I's image.

2) "You can be 5 feet tall or 6 feet tall - these are your only options": may narrow down the electorate a bit, but worth trying out as well.

3) "There are buses and then there are spaceships - decide!": may ring a bell with both the transit and the space exploration communities, which will definitely appreciate the attention.

4) "Toronto or Yellowknife - no other places to live in": may help with the whole 'GTA liking Liberals less' question.

5) "Orange door or green door": sounds familiar, but no less fact-based and interesting, so why not give it a try as well?

6) "Good vs. Evil: choose wisely": sets the bar a bit high, but is doable, resolves the dichotomy once and for all.

This can go on forever, but you get my point. Explore! Discover! Surprise us!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are you sure this is an actual budget?

Looking at the so-called "federal budget" the Tories had made public today, I can't but wonder if they've mistakenly released some joke version or inside version that had never been intended to be seen by Canadians. Some of the points made in this "budget", such as the "increased support" for seniors in poverty and the one-year revival of the EcoEnergy program, are, simply put, cynical and clearly showing how little Stephen Harper and his party care as to what people say. But now that they've released this joke of a budget, I really hope that people will say something very soon and throw this contemptuous gang and its anti-social ideology out.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Let's throw this "government" out!

Many thanks to everyone who has contacted me in the past few days with a common message of "How long can we keep the Harper government in power?!" Believe me, if it were only up to me, it wouldn't have been long before the Tories would have had to stand up before Canadian voters and finally answer the main question - how can you pretend to have Canadian values at heart when you care nothing for democracy, honesty or even decency? It is high time for Stephen Harper and all of his acolytes to go. Our political and social system can withstand a lot of harm (and has already suffered in the hands of the current Canadian Harper Government), but there is a limit. The Tories are way beyond that limit. Just to think of it - a Canadian Harper Prime-Minister saying "You win some, you lose some" in response to the Parliament Speaker's ruling that his government may be in contempt of Parliament (and through it, in contempt of Canadians)...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another letter to the Edmonton Sun

Dear editor,
Your "un-electable candidates" and "unrealistic alternatives" discourse reveals more about your ideological stance than you might think. Tell the people in Linda Duncan's riding and the people of Manitoba and Nova Scotia that they didn't elect NDP and explain to them why.You cannot fool all the people all the time. Social-democracy is more popular, more realistic and more electable than the Tories, Liberals and Edmonton Sun want us to believe.
Artem Medvedev