We’ve had several supporters ask us if we’re going to be wading into the federal election, and while the answer is ‘no’, we thought that we’d take the opportunity to expand on why that is.
When we started PoliticsNOW, it was with the intention of bringing all of the great training and experience that we had gained from working and volunteering on federal campaigns. When one works with a federal or provincial campaign with one of the major parties, training sessions are usually part of the package. During those training sessions, you learn how to make cold calls, how to door knock, how to fundraise, how to put together a valiant GOTV (Get Out the Vote) effort. Our political parties fundraise on a constant basis to be able to provide candidates and their teams with the resources that they need to successfully campaign once the writ drops. In contrast, municipal candidates are left to their own devices, because they do not have the backing of a national organization. During our research, one of the biggest barriers to female participation in politics was lack of recruitment and lack of education — and that was what we set out to tackle during the 2018 municipal election.
Our work focused on bringing all of that great training to every woman who wanted to run for municipal council and every person who wanted to work on a female-led municipal campaign.
Over the last two years, we have trained over 100 people — we’ve held seminars and webinars on how to get out the vote, how to put together a team, how to fundraise, and how to run a successful political campaign (among other topics of interest). This is something that we will continue to do for any woman who has any interest. In fact, our #poliNOWbootcamp webinar series is still available for free online for anybody who wants to take the opportunity to learn a little more about campaigning. We also have a page full of resources and tools that we’ve gathered from around the internet that we will continue to update. Any candidate that is running is welcome to access everything that we have online.
We will not be doing work focused exclusively on the federal election.
There are only 10 federal ridings in Northern Ontario. Within those 10 federal ridings, there are currently 10 women that are running to represent our districts, representing 33%* of total candidates. These women are running across a vast amount of political parties. As a grassroots organization that has always been non-partisan, we are happy to see this number and hope that as other nominations close that it grows even more. We wish all of these women the best of luck, and hope that they take the opportunity to use their vast experiences and their gendered lens to bring forth reforms that will improve the lives of women across the north — policies that will go towards supporting women’s safety, improving women’s economic equality, etc.
What we will do to support the female candidates running federally in the North
While we won’t be offering specified services directed to those who are running federally, we will be offering the following:
Resources: Our resource page is chalk full of rich resources (video, audio, print) to help support candidates, wherever you are on your political journey.
Webinars: Our webinars will continue to be available online for free, courtesy of Women’s March Canada. The topics that we dive into include how to manage your social media, how to canvass via telephone and foot, how to fundraise (with guests, Democracy Kit) and how to craft your story.
Volunteer Recruitment: Female candidates who are searching for volunteers are welcome to contact us for help in being connected to likeminded volunteers. We will be happy to share your information with our social media following in the hopes that those who are looking to volunteer on a campaign will connect with you.
Just as it was during the municipal elections, we will not be endorsing any specific candidate. We want to give equal support, equal opportunities and equal voices to all women who are running. As a non-partisan organization, we have chosen to remain neutral in the election itself. We trust that voters will decide which candidate best fits with their vision for their riding and region. Our goal is to use our platform to help women reach more constituents, as well as give citizens the opportunity to find which women are running for office in their region.
We’re open to suggestions
If there are other ways that you think we could support women running in the North, as well as women who are involved with campaigns at a volunteer level, please let us know — we’d love to work with you to implement your vision. If you'd like to have your say on what we do, or you have some great ideas, don't hesitate to let us know through this survey or by contacting us.
Thank you so much for helping us elect women in the North!
Don't forget to follow us on social media to get the latest from us and learn more about how you can help #ElectNOW.
* There are still several leadership nominations that haven’t taken place yet, and that % still has the opportunity to change.