No Debate: How the Conservatives Will Campaign in Calgary-Centre… and how to fight back!
It’s about absolute radio silence.
The Conservative candidate will not speak to the public without speaking points… if she even does try to speak to the public. There will be no debate or town hall. It’s all about a level of radio silence. And let me tell you why.
Because the conservative candidate isn’t interested in policy, the ideas of democracy, or any great, genuine debate. It’s about a game of identifying the vote, keeping mishaps to a minimum, and reducing the variables of the race to just a Get Out The Vote effort. Looking at it from Harper’s chair in Ottawa the goal of the Conservatives is not to rock the boat, not to ‘ruin a great thing’ that they have in Calgary, and not to speak out on issues fundamental to Calgarians.
It’s about ticking a check mark on a list of Members of Parliament voting for the government’s policies and then just moving on. That’s what the Conservative candidate is for the Harper government. Just one tick in a box, and not a fount of ideas or representation of the people of Calgary-Centre. A referendum on Harper’s governing style, his policies that are poisoning the streams of Alberta, or the jettisoning of Petronas, are all issues that need to be spoken about. And that isn’t going to happen if Harper has anything to do about it.
And the way to counter this shutting down of the basic tenet of representative democracy — of a free public forum, of intelligent, capable representatives speaking their minds, and of a will to challenge each other — is to fight a political battle that undermines Harper’s style of campaigning.
(1) Add More Variables
Harper wants a level of debate that is tied to each voter, in basic isolation, with little effort to larger campaigning or larger communication of ideas or policies. So blow that apart with more communication with the voter, more engagement, and more exclusivity on debating the issues. At every single door, every media opportunity, and every interaction with the voter, there needs to be a clear challenge to Harper’s campaign of radio silence.
It’s a tactic to press the Conservatives until they can’t be silent anymore.
(2) Take Them to Task
Harper has made some very bad decisions. The fumbling of Petronas, the massive harm done to Alberta’s agricultural industries, his undermining of women issues at home and abroad, and undermining fundamental pillars of Canadian democracy, are all examples of Harper’s inability to govern in a cohesive and strategically sound manner. Many voters, throughout Canada and especially in Calgary, have been undermined by Harper’s decisions. And they need to be reminded of this basic fact.
It’s a tactic to press the conservatives until they can’t be silent anymore.
(3) Focus On the Voter!
It would be very easy to just talk to the already engaged. But we know where most of them are going to vote, anyway. One in four voters in Calgary will vote Liberal, even if some need some prodding. That means there are 75% of the riding that needs to be pulled into the campaign to support Harvey Locke, the Liberal candidate in Calgary-Centre. If the campaign can convince one out of every five voters it meets the Liberals, in a byelection where turnout is normally lower than a general election, could very well take the riding.
It’s about engaging those who have never been engaged and about including them in a greater debate for Canada. One out of every five voters need to be swayed and if that happens, the electoral math might just align for Harvey Locke and for a local candidate who’ll represent Calgary-Centre to represent the needs of Calgarians.