Project Wonderful

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Oh Canada, Part 2 (Deux in Montreal)

Another perspective on Canadian campaigns, this time from an anonymous follower. Enjoy below!
_____________________________________________________________________________________Hello american political operatives looking to get involved in campaigning in the great white north,

In Canada there are three levels of government municipal, provincial and federal. I’m assuming most of you Americans would be looking to get involved in either a provincial or federal race.

If you’re looking to get into a more local race, you’ll end up in what we call a constituency. Federally there are 308 constituencies and each is represented by an MP, which stands for member of parliament. Provincially, there are ten provinces and number of constituencies ranges from 30-110 depending on the size. Those constituencies are represented by an MPP which stands for member of provincial parliament.

When an election is called there is a writ period of 36 days. Usually federal and provincial elections occur every 4 years. What is important to note is that there are no set election dates. As well, if the party in power does not hold a majority and is operating in a minority government an election can be called at any time and a snap election can occur before their four years are up.

So let’s say that we’re in a writ period in a province or nation wide. In each constituency candidates will set up a campaign office. There is usually only one campaign office in each constituency unless it’s a very rural riding in which case there may be more than one. Each campaign usually consists of a team of the campaign manager, canvass chair, sign chair, volunteer coordinator, finance chair, chief of communication and some other positions depending on what is needed. And then there are the various volunteers who come in and are given a range of jobs from door canvassing, phone canvassing, lit dropping, envelope stuffing, GOTVing etc.

Typically if you want to have a paying job on a campaign you will have had to be employed an MP or MPP or the political party the candidate represents pre-writ. Candidates who are not the sitting MP or MPP will most likely have volunteers fill the important jobs of campaign manager, canvass chair, etc. Canada is not like the states in that we have very strict fundraising laws so there is not a lot of money to give our to pay staff.

Now I suppose the last thing to cover is the various political parties. Federally there are five major ones: The Liberal Party of Canada, The Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, The New Democratic Party of Canada, The Green Party of Canada and the Bloc Quebecois. Provincially most of these parties have equivalents, however it differs by province.

Feel free to research all the parties. To be honest there is not a singular party that completely matches the Democratic Party in The USA. However I do know that a fair amount of people from the Liberal Party of Canada went down to the states to campaign for Obama. Most Democrats will share most of their values with the Liberal Party of Canada, The Green Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party of Canada and their provincial equivalents.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask them and I’m sure myself and my fellow Canadian political operatives will be able to help you out.

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