Category Archives: Elections

My #elxn43 – Day 41

Tom Petty said it best, ‘The waiting is the hardest part’

the waitingIn the days leading up to the Prime Minister walking from the Rideau Cottage to Rideau Hall and asking for disolution of Parliament, the wait seems like forever.  There will be many that will tell you that they’re happy to have the extra days. On the other side, there is nothing like the adreniline rush of 36 days of campaigning leading up to election day.

For me I appreciate both sentiments; but at some point its time for the rodeo to begin.  In Barrie we wait for the call because unlike other municipalities across Canada, election signs cannot go up until the Prime Minister visits the Govenor General (GG).   In the Ottawa area riding of  Orleans, by-laws have allowed signs to be put on private property for amost two weeks. In Barrie-Innisfil the sign crews are just waiting for the “go” text.  Trucks are loaded with signs, posts and zip ties.

The official election call is also a sign that everything else starts rolling, and gathers speed right up to October 21st.  As the days pass, they pass faster as the days are crossed off the election calender.

In an interesting twist, campaigns are not the only people waiting – Elections Canada staff also wait.  As I learned today, the ‘go’ day for Elections Canada is September 15th, that represents that last possible day as election can be called – but it’s also the day that EVERYTHING Elections Canada does starts and the first day for the Elections Canada calendar.

Unlike campaigns where the election call accelerates the campaign activities, nothing Elections Canada does starts until September 15ththis year – the 36 day campaign is the starting line that thousands of Election workers are hunched over like Andre de Grasse waiting for the starters pistol to go off. The spectulation of the election call changes everyday that the Prime Minister does not go to the see the GG, the anticipation for candidates and their teams is heightened as each day passes.

While Canada has fixed election dates, there should be consideration for a fixed election period, meaning a fixed election day that has a fixed day that campaigns begin.  A fixed election period eliminates the 78 day campaign of 2015 and denies the government of the day the power to play with dates and call the election when it suits their purposes – all political parties will have the same calendar to work with.  This though is for another government to grapple with after the election.

For now the wait continues…and the sign crew chomps at the bit one more day.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker& @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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My #elxn43 – Day 47

Reading will be my salvation this campaign.

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The days will be long and by Election Day I may be arriving at the campaign office in the dark and leaving long after sunset.  I have an amibtious reading list for this campaign period and it which will require a great deal of dedictation to complete.  The readng list is part of my plan to decompress from the pressure, stress and activity of the campaign.

Here is what I will be reading:

Trudeau by John Ivison

The King’s War by Peter Conradi and Mark Logue

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Right Here Right Now by Stephen Harper

The Making of the October Crisis by D’Arcy Jenish

I’ve started with Ivison’s take on Trudeau.  While this might not be a complementary account on JT it is scewed to my current opinion of him and how he has performed as a Prime Minister.   ‘The King’s War’ is a follow up to the Kings Speech, which won a few Oscar’s including Best Picture, Director and Actor in 2011. Mark Logue the co-author is the grandson of Lionle Logue, the therapist that work with King George to avoid stuttering as portrayed in the King’s Speech.

I picked up ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ because of the premise of the story; a Russian Count is ordered to house arrest in an apartment in Moscow by the Bolshevic tribunal for wrtting a poem with revolustionary undertones.

I’ve had Stephen Harper’s book for a while, this just seemed like a good time to read it.  My Sister-in-law sent me ‘The Making of the October Crisis’ after she had read it.  I was aware of the October 1970 crisis as a 10 year, this book goes back to the beginnings and Montreal in the early 1960’s.  Like other books I’ve read I find its important to understand what fueled a crisis as a means to prevent a repeat.

I’m going to have to complete a book in just over a week to return to Ottawa with these five books completed. Clearly some days will have more reading time than others, I’ll have to grab whatever time comes my way to be successful and hope what I’ve brought to Barrie with me are real page turners.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43 – Day 50

It’s the last long weekend I’ll get to enjoy for 2019.

img_20190831_16411934055614993906723429.jpgYes it really is, the election calendar for the federal election dictates that the Thanksgiving long weekend is when the four days of of Advanced Polls will happen.  Mark October 11thto 14thas your opportunity to vote before you sit down to have your Thanksgiving Turkey, Ham or Turducken (Turkey-Duck-Chicken) for dinner.

My Thanksgiving Long weekend will be anything but a weekend to eat and then collapse on the sofa, but I am all good with that.  So really this Labour Day Weekend is the last long weekend I can enjoy with a coffee and a newspaper, my book with my feet up and a chance to really sit back relax and breathe in the air of the last of the summer days as the autumn evenings start to creep in.  The next long weekend won’t happen until the Dalton McGuinty Long weekend, also known as the Family Day long weekend (which oddly enough not everone gets to have with their family) in February.

My Thanksgiving will be all about persuading you the voter to delay your Thanksgiving weekend by voting in advance and avoid the line ups on October 21st.  My line will be, ‘why not vote Thanksgiving weekend, then you won’t be hearing from me on election day’.  Leading up to Thanksgiving I’ll be working on the best way to convince you that voting on the long weekend is the best possible way to spend a bit of time between October 11thand October 14th.

I hope you’ll excuse me as I wrap this up now and think about how to spend my Family Day long weekend…oh wait…I won’t be able to because in Ontario Family Day isn’t given to ‘federally regulated’ employees.  At least I’ll still have Easter Weekend to dream about.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43 – Day 51

A TO DO list never really gets completed.

to do

I have a TO DO list, infact I have several.  These lists are like family trees, as famiIies grow, branches are added. My list has several branches and those branches never disappear they just grow,

My current list has 13 items on it, but on those items there are branches. Campaigns are like fertilizer for a TO DO list.  What starts with get an office then morphs into get furniture, phones, internet, divide the space for phonebanking, sign preparation and have a reception area set up. That reception area must be the first desk that has a phone.  My signs TO DO list has by-laws, materials, pick-up trucks, find missing post pounders and bug spray as branches.  The branches on my TO DO list have branches.

So it goes, and grows – the TO DO list.

For every item I can cross off I add at least five more.  The odds of me surviving the list are astronomical, they are out of this world.  The only thing that makes me get through the list is delegation.  Delegation then creates a new tree of a TO DO list, that list belongs to someone else BUT its roots belong to me.

At a certain point in the campaign, long before the we finish planning our election day TO DO list I will have started a campaign office closing TO DO list. Elections are all about TO DO and not HAVE DONE. Even today we talked about the closure of the 2015 camapign and how effective that TO DO list was (it was a good TO DO list).

By the time this election is over I will have created a forest called TO DO, because whatever happens in this election I know I will have a TO DO list to do all over again for the next election.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter@robertdekker& @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43 – Day 52

There is nothing like a blank open space into which a campaign office can be designed.

img_20190829_10190627587164478351558283.jpgI have seen some spectactular campaign offices, in 2008 when Brian McGarry, the Conservative Candidate in Ottawa Centre the old School Board offices/school building on Gilmour street served as his HQ.  The whole building was not used, many offices were utilized, but the hidden gem was the auditorium.  The “Aud” could house a few hundred people and had a beautiful stage.  It was used for a local rallys in 2008 and a couple of larger campaign events.  I have never seen any office since have anything like that space.

The campaign office is defined by the space available.  In the Ontario election last year Colleen McCleery had a beautiful home for an office.  It was a 2 story structure with a big basement.  Most activities were restricted to three large rooms on the main floor for sign storage, greeting space and a room for a few people to make phone calls and prepare for election day.  It was as homey and friendly as the campaign atmosphere was.

Each space has it benefits and its challenges.

This year I’ve the oppportunity to open two campaign offices.  Both spaces were leased before I arrived, and a campaign office was created out of each space.  In Orleans, for David Bertschi the campaign took over an old paint store.  When we arrived we found a rainbow of biege, ‘blah’ blue and purple on the walls.  With some paint, blue and white of course, the office was transformed – the fresh colours added energy to the space!

Moving to the new space in Barrie-Innisfil, the office is a ‘shell’ of an office.  Drywall and cynberblock are the décor.  Being stripped of any décor means that there isn’t much that would be damaged. On the plus side though there is plenty of natural light!

Every Campaign Manager has their own touches that they like to see or not see. I don’t like clutter. A campaign office has a limited time of use, clutter derails any effectiveness in the office.  I am also a huge advocate of the campaign calendar on the wall, and I mean ON THE ENTIRE WALL.  It’s a countdown to election day and it is the campaign at a glance – canvass times, meetings, voting days, events, debates and media time are all documented.  The calendar is a sign of accountability for the campaign.    If it’s on the calendar it’s important!

Our campaign office will be as plastic and waste free as possible, we’ll use water jugs and ask everyone to use personal refillable water bottles.  The same will be in place for coffee and tea, we’ll ask everyone to bring a mug or cup.  Just because the office is operational for a short periodof time doesn’t mean we become lazy when it comes to the amount of waste in the office.

The Barrie-Innisfil campaign office is in transition –  a work in progress, with many pieces needed to make it functional for the many that have different tasks to perform.  While  a campaign office is really only a temporary home, it is still a home that needs to be welcoming, functional and efficient.

Sadly, on October 22nd, we just take it all apart and await the next election to do it all again.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

My #elxn43, Day 53

img-20190828-wa00029003986068517925929.jpegIt’s 9am and I’m on Train 51 heading to Toronto and then north to Barrie Ontario.  This is my frst foray into leaving home to campaign.  All my previous campaigns, going back to the 2004 federal election have been local.  This election has me heading to the riding of Barrie-Innisfil to work with MP John Brassard, who I have been working with in Ottawa for three years, to secure his return to Ottawa after the October 21stelection.

This is not the only electioneering I’ve been doing though.

For the past 11 weeks I’ve been busy working with the Conservative candidate in the east end Ottawa riding of Orleans, David Bertschi.  David is a great candidate he works hard and goes non-stop; he has a dedictaed and hard working team with him.  Following his nomination win I worked with David and his team to set up a campaign structure, a strategy and bring in people I knew David Bertschi would like and trust to help him win and become the the next Mamber of Parliament of that riding.

I learn something from every election team I work with.  Previously, as a candidate in 2011 and 2104, I learned to listen to everyone and to turn a discussion around and present a new point of view.  As I campaign worker I took in what people were doing, watching and learning strategies.  I would learn to disect the end result and determine what led to a campaign’s success or failure.  And as a Campaign Manager I took the lessons I learned from being a campaign worker and candidate to bring a perspective that I would hope benefited the team I was leading.

I faced a new experience this summer, coming into a campaign as an ourtsider.  Oh, I knew the key people in the riding of Orleans, but I lacked the riding knowledge that everyone had.  I used their knowledge to lead me through ideas and strategies that would be put in place.  My experience as candidate really helped, I was relying on the team to teach me the what worked and what didn’t work.  After 10 weeks, I was happy with what was done to establish a team working towards one goal, winning.

I was proud of the people that came forward, listened to the plan and put their spin on what it would take to make Orleans a Conservative riding.  While I am heading to Barrie, Orleans will be a special place for me, there are great people there and I was really happy to be a part of that team for the summer.  The lessons learned in Orleans will be used in Barrie-Innisfil.

Now onto a new experience, again leading a team where I am the outsider but leading a team that has an incumbent.  This is definitely different from trying to unseat current MP, or take a riding back, this is a re-election campaign.  The dynamics are new, I know John Brassard, as the candidate, has a way of doing things – I’ve seen it for the past three years.  It will be about using all three experiences I’ve had and lead his team for the next 53 days until election day October 21st.

I hope you’ll follow my journey over the next few weeks as I share #elxn43.  This won’t be so much about the politics of the election, but the people, experience and the education I’ll have.

This is day 53, Day Zero will be here in a blink of an eye.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook athttp://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

The Golden Rule of Social Media

Golen RuleThere are only weeks until the campaigning for the 43rd General Election in Canada starts. However the state of political discourse in Canada has never been as low as it is before an election as it is today. The language we’re speaking, the assumptions we’re making and the tone we’re using all are contributing to the discourse and really the anger in the conversations are at levels I have never heard before.

What are the origins of the new lows of our political discussions, where did we accept this behavior? Why do we accept this behavior? Have our leaders brought us to this point? Who do we hold responsible? Is all this because our new communication devices allow us, anyone to to have a personal soapbox? Our new communication freedom also brings millions of voices to us in a click.

There are voices that generate a lot of emotion, we all immediately think of @realDonaldTrump and his daily tweets – he generates strong reactions from supporters and opponents. In Canada our political leaders may not generate the same emotion, but Canadians are engaging. What concerns me is that we can’t engage without some people confusing opinion with information. As an example, this post and blog is based on my opinions and where ever possible I will insert information that support my opinion.

I cannot the only one concerned with this, I think that many Canadians share this with me, and now Parliamentarians must share this opinion as well; The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on Parliament Hill is currently studying “Online Hate”. The committee has been hearing from witnesses since April. With Parliament approaching the summer recess the study will be wrapping up so that a report can be written and tabled before the House rises. The report will include recommendations that might be the basis for campaign promises during the upcoming election.

It is easy to compartmentalize hate as coming from one side of the political spectrum; one side claims to be on the side of good, automatically labeling the other as hateful. Online its easy, some people are faceless and nameless. Can you imagine if school playgrounds were treated the same as social media? If that were the case the principal’s office would have a line-up of combatants having to ‘explain themselves’ and their actions. If we never tolerated this type of activity in schoolyards, why do we allow it online?

I’ll wait for the report from the Justice and Human Rights Committee and read it with great interest. The committee heard from witnesses from many faiths, ethnic groups, LGBT groups, Gender groups, Human Rights, government departments and agencies and Individuals came and provided testimony. Will this provide an insight into how or if the government should regulate hate speech online.

Interestingly, the week the Justice Committee was meeting, the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy was also meeting in Ottawa. The second Grand Council of the committee was in Ottawa to have the tech giants talk about data security, #fakenews and privacy. The meeting had the understated question if FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) should be required to do more that they are? The meeting was overshadowed by the decision by Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg ignored a summons to appear in front of the committee.

Parents, teachers, principals, school administrators and others wouldn’t allow faceless and nameless bullies on school property during recess to harm the children, why do we tolerate them on social media where more harm can be done with words, images and videos – where people we don’t even know have access to influence others? Don’t we deserve a safe social media playground?

Isn’t it time we took into consideration the audiences, known and unknown, we have online and started to police our own words and actions and call out others who cross a line? Can’t we all use a better language online? Surely (mostly) everyone doesn’t use the same language in person that is used online. We all need to use the golden rule of social media, use the language you want used on your posts when you post and comment on others.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net