Vincent Visits the Manning Centre


Vincent (right) stands beside Manning trainer and design specialist Olivier Ballou (left)

The other day this blogger went to a Manning Centre training seminar on visual communications — on building better looking websites, designing election signs, and creating campaign literature. This is the same Manning Centre that has been in the news recently and been a target of a fair bit of speculation on their efforts. As I wrote in another blog post, when a group of developers donate $1.1 million to the centre that’s going to directly influence campaigns across the city, there is a great cause for concern from all people involved.

My experience at the two hour session was positively delightful. The speaker, Oliver Ballou, had everyone in the room introduce themselves and when I mentioned I was a Liberal I was made to feel quite welcome. In fact, judging from the room, there were individuals from across the spectrum in attendance: from Wildrose members, Progressive Conservatives, and even two NDPers (who hung around the back of the workshop by themselves). Half the examples on his Power Point presentation were positive examples of solid Liberal campaigning literature — and he was equally critical of Conservative materials as well, making sure to have a balanced presentation for the audience that introduced them to solid design techniques.

It was a multi-partisan affair, some good political ribbings, and everyone took to learning the material in a positive, light-hearted manner.

At the end of the event I even had the distinct pleasure of winning a competition on designing the best ad. Mr. Ballou had each of the participants take a press release or media article to compress down to a graphic — and I won! Having won, I was awarded a physical copy of Ballou’s book, “The Graphic Guide to Conservativism”, that you can find online at The feeling in the room was so great and so open jokes were made about Liberals having a natural tendency to design and that I had a truly unfair advantage on them. If you would like a copy of my notes from the session feel free to fire me at email at

I found it quite valuable and very informative training . I will definitely be returning to the centre for more informative training sessions (by the way, you can view their training seminars and events online at their Practical Politics website).

2 Responses to Vincent Visits the Manning Centre

  • Vincent, I must admit that when I heard you were attending a course at the Manning Centre I wondered how a Liberal found his way through the front door, however your description of your experience and in particular the link to the Practical Politics Website has given me a fresh new perspective. Thanks for “daring to go where no Liberal has gone before”.

    • Thanks Susan.

      Liberals can’t shove their heads in the sand and ignore the professionalization of politics. The only way we will be successful is if we improve our ability to campaign. Hopefully my daring will encourage Liberals everywhere to reach out and learn how to campaign better.


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