On October 10th, I emailed the folks running the smartest #yegvote projects and asked them to submit a 250 word response to the question: “Where’s the election at and what will it take to get a progressive city council at this point?”
Here’s what they had to say:
With E-DAY just over a week away, campaigns are ramping up to throw their last and final efforts into the races they have been working so hard at. The next week aims to GOTV, or Get-Out-The-Vote, where a campaign aims to focuses on getting their supporters to the polls on voting day, and convincing last minute undecided voters that they are indeed the best candidate for the job.
Candidates, campaigns staff and volunteers are exhausted and doing their best to maintain high levels of energy, enthusiasm and strategic play. The GOTV play can make or break a candidate’s chances in their final moments before E DAY, which is why they need your help:
CALL TO ACTION:
ActivatED has identified two star progressive candidates who, with a little extra support in these last few days, have a fantastic shot at winning.
1. HEATHER MACKENZIE advocates for inclusive policies and a resilient downtown, and is the only candidate in Ward 6 with a proven progressive voting record. She is also the only progressive female candidate with a good chance at winning.
2. DAVID DODGE is by far the most sustainability minded candidate running in this election, which has proven his capacity to make Edmonton a leader in green technology and innovation.
As part of our final efforts to make a dent in this election, ActivatED will be volunteering (flyering and doorknocking) for both candidates in the final days before the election, and we need YOUR HELP:
Heather MacKenzie’s Campaign
Meet at: Remedy Downtown 10279 Jasper Ave NW
11:00 AM – 6:00PM
Meet at (Campaign Office) 8208 144 Avenue
11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The ActivatED will be out on the campaigns all day – We invite you to join us for even an hour of your time! If you are able to help out, please emailActivatEdmonton@gmail.com.
Make sure that YOUR VOICE is represented on the next City Council.
An exciting election at the grass roots level where more young people are organizing to be part of the decision making process and where the newer communities <mainly visible minorities> are organizing collectively to have their voice elected and represented on Council. The winners are going to be younger people elected as Councillors/Mayor and potentially a doubling of the visible minority representation on council. The losers are going to be a couple of incumbents and possibly only two women, if we are lucky, making it to the Council chamber.The conversation at dining room tables and cafe bars are not about the arena but about the bureaucratic administration at City Hall and the lack of listening and accountability to citizens. Lots of discontent about lack of involvement by administration with citizens who are concerned about urban sprawl, lack of effective transportation corridors and public transport, community assets such as surplus school sites being sold to the private sector and not retained and developed for local neighbourhood identified alternatives.People are seeking to elect a councillor that will focus on the interest of the neighbourhood, support the small business person who is challenged by the dogmatic approach of the planning dept, A people’s representative that will not be controlled by “big money” but will in fact focus on the best interest of the citizen and promote the vision of a caring sharing co-operative Edmonton. A person who cares about our environment and the people in our city and region….What do we do to elect a progressive council:
- Get Out The Vote
- Mobilize and get the info out. Tell your story of why you are voting for a progressive candidate…
- Each person has a face to face conversation with friends, family and strangers, and asks them to have a conversation with their friends, family…
- Get out onto your street and talk to your neighbor, start to build a relationship and don’t be afraid of a No…
- Tell your contact face to face and through social media why you are voting for progressive candidates. Tell your story – the why behind your involvement.
- Then Ask the question, “Will you vote for a progressive council?”
Urban sprawl and Edmonton’s ongoing sustainability are thankfully, and finally, on people’s election radar. This owes to the good work of a variety of civic-minded groups for helping raise awareness about the issue. These efforts have also benefitted from some timely, credible reports and media coverage that highlight how Edmonton’s urban sprawl problem impacts the city’s fiduciary responsibilities. This includes infrastructure maintenance and the effective provision of essential services, ranging from policing and waste management through to public transit and social programs.
Electing a progressive council depends largely on effective voter education and mobilizing them to get out and vote on October 21. We need a mayor and councillors that won’t continue to bury their heads in the sand on the issue of urban sprawl and how it adversely impacts Edmonton’s growth and potential.
At two mayoral forums organized by the city’s development community, for example, some candidates have plainly stated that Edmonton does not have an urban sprawl problem. Even anecdotal evidence, like the now infamous pothole plague of 2013, demonstrates that the city is struggling to manage and maintain core infrastructure. City council can no longer afford to kowtow to developers. Both council and the development community must be challenged to ensure we are growing the city in a balanced and cost-effective way that meets consumer demand while protecting the collective good. This can be accomplished, in part, by further diversifying Edmonton’s range of housing options. People need more, better, new and different housing choices than a single family suburban dwelling or a high-rise condo downtown.
What’s unusual about this election so far – highly unusual – is the lack of poll numbers. In fact, this campaign might be the first post-pollster race we have seen.
Usually by this point in the campaign we have a few front-page headlines articulating who’s leading whom, and by how much. But they go beyond that and create their own data-driven narrative of the campaign. Compared over time, poll numbers can give us an understanding of who’s gained momentum, who’s mobilized the base and where the all-important undecided vote is leaning.
But not this time. In Election 2013, we’ve only seen one credible scientific poll reporting a confidence interval and margin of error – and that came out way back on nomination day.
Now, of course campaigns are always doing their own research – tracking responses at the doors, signs and flyers handed out, crowd sizes at debates, twitter and facebook followers, dollars flowing in.
This is a good thing. An excellent thing. Not only because of the spectacular failures of recent poll-driven predictions (2011 federal campaign; 2012 provincial campaign). But because it reinvigorates the grassroots. No campaign is precisely sure of where they stand, so every campaign is working at full capacity. We’re seeing more engagement – candidates are at multiple events each day, a stronger ground game at the doors. We haven’t seen a tremendous number of people show up for advance polls yet, which suggests that many people will be making up their minds over the Thanksgiving long weekend.
The last 10 days of any campaign is where the most ground is covered, both in shoring up the base to vote, and motivating undecided voters to make a choice. So, in a campaign devoid of polling data, word of mouth matters more than ever. If you want a progressive council, talk to your friends and family this weekend.
The 2013 city election marks a turning point in Edmonton’s history. Over the last decade, thousands of dedicated Edmontonians have made their city one of the most innovative in Canada, with a renowned waste management system, a budding entrepreneurial culture and grassroots community-based initiatives that set the gold standard for our country. As the election enters the final stretch, I’m excited about the prospects for several candidates, though there is much work left to be done.
The three candidates that I have supported in this election – David Dodge, Michael Walters and Don Iveson – have run outstanding campaigns. Though I have plenty of energy myself, I’m constantly amazed by the amount of energy displayed by these teams’ volunteers, during early mornings, on late nights and holiday weekends. Their spirit is a testament to the progressive Edmonton that I love: one built on intergenerational collaboration and a steadfast pursuit for a more inclusive and trend-setting city. If the election was to conclude today. I think that the Dodge, Iveson and Walters trio could see their names called as the representatives-to-be.
In the ten days to come, we need to keep in mind that the final hours dedicated to campaigning will have profound effects on the Edmonton of 2015, 2017 and beyond. We have done outstanding work, and there’s enough energy left in the tank to ensure that we see these projects through to fruition.