How do you measure a “win”? – And why we won.
When I was invited to run in York South – Weston, I went in with my eyes wide open. No EDA (Riding Association), No infrastructure, No local representation, No volunteer base, No money.
As to the opposition, I would be running against an incumbent who is also a cabinet minister (which means they have extra electoral support) … in a riding that has been controlled by a single party for about 50 years.
As to the riding itself – While the riding is genuinely beautiful, it is also massively impoverished, has long-term serious environmental issues that are ignored, social issues such as crime and gun violence … and a steady loss in quality of life over the past 50 years. And yet there is no sense of outrage against the politicians who allowed (or caused) this to happen. This may explain why the riding has some of the lowest voter turnouts.
On my first day canvassing an elder long-term resident asked me, “Why bother?”
Sadly, that sense of hopelessness – the feeling that their voice didn’t matter was pervasive. It’s more than “voter-apathy”, it’s “voter-despair”, a profound disengagement.
How do you measure a “win” in such an environment?
Or, perhaps phrased more cynically, “Why would any rational person enter such an “unwinnable” race?”
As it turns out, we managed to increase some significant “measurables” almost double the votes, tripled the voter share, more party engagements, etc. – All of which are meaningful achievements.
The deeper win is raising the level of debate about pressing issues (like water quality, air quality and environmental poisons) and making sure that people “suit up and show up” for democracy.
Less tangible, perhaps, but actually the central point why I and many of my colleagues (in all parties) invested so deeply and so personally in this fight.
Anyone who thinks politics is an “ego-trip” has never been a candidate the day after the election. Each of these people has demonstrated personal courage that is difficult to imagine.
The deeper truth is revealed in the root of the word “encouragement”.
The most authentic way to encourage others is to demonstrate that courage in your own conduct.
To all my fellow candidates, who demonstrated that courage – To all the volunteers who helped those candidates… and to all the people who continue to engage in democracy by voting….
Thank you… We won!
MP Candidate, York South – Weston
Green Party of Canada
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