2017 Campaign Tactics Meeting

Held: Sunday, 26 February 2017 at St. John’s Kitchen, 97 Victoria Ave. South

Event Notice: Fair Vote Waterloo Campaign Tactics meeting

Present: Sharon Sommerville, David Dirks, Rob Steel, Bob Jonkman, Donald Fraser, Cathe Campbell, Stuart Chandler, Cathy Scott, Ron Bowman

  1. Introductions
  2. Opening Comments
    • Sharon reads a quote from David Suzuki in iPolitics.ca
    • Two documents:
      • One theoretical: Indivisible
      • One practical: Pathways For Change
    • Objectives
      • Keep Electoral Reform top-of-mind
      • Not persuading Justin Trudeau
      • Differentiate Liberals and NDP
        • (ironclad guarantee of MMPR from NDP – more of a tactic than a strategy)
      • Punish every Liberal member in Parliament for breaking promise
      • Keep Electoral Reform alive and provide public education
      • Think of Electoral Reform as a pilot project (eg. Ted Kennedy and Medicare)
      • Put pressure on politicians
      • Recognize that Electoral Reform is an issue for many people, eg. Public Education
  3. Discussion (Action Items)
    • 1: Pathways For Change
      • Theories:
        • Unlocking policy making process
        • Why some policies go forward and some don’t
        • What works and what doesn’t
        • What is successful advocacy
      • Policy Windows
        • Policies need to be seen as technically feasible
        • Policy makers must be interested
      • Electoral Reform no longer meets the needs of the Liberal Party (a majority government)
      • How a problem is defined makes a difference in the attention it gets
        • Redefine the issue to suit the politicians
        • Redefine the issue to suit the electorate
        • Redefine the issue in the public mind
      • “Liberals don’t care about you”
      • Issue definition is important
        • to Politicians?
        • to the Public?
        • to the Community?
      • Make friends within the media
        • Change the message — we can’t buy enough media coverage to counter Liberal media budget
      • “Find anger, work on that.”
      • Campaigning on fear?
        • Liberals control the message
      • Contact the media every time we do something good
      • Build relationships with politicians
        • and other community groups
      • Keep balance:
        • Groups are rational
        • Individuals are radical
      • Message: Strategic voting doesn’t have to be true
      • In all contacts be respectful and polite (important!)
      • Make linkages: What’s in it for me? “Electoral Reform fixes everything”
      • Trump appeal based on fear and anger (effective!)
      • Need to connect on an emotional level
      • Every policy issue: “The solution is Proportional Representation”
      • Hope Spring (counselling for cancer patients) is closed!
        • Example of a social issue
        • Our letters to politicians can address that issue
        • This issue can be addressed by more balanced represenation
      • Step up our letter writing campaign to include broader issues
      • Reach out to other communities (KWPeace?)
      • Call in to call-in shows
        • Phone the editors, producers of shows about Electoral Reform
      • How to find the MPs’ schedules?
      • Buy a new event banner (ask Laurel Russwurm to design?)
      • List all issues affected by Proportional Representation on banner
        • Income inequality
        • Fossil fuel divestment
        • etc.
      • Print business cards with issues affected by PR
      • Greatest link between effective government and Proportional Representation
        • Best decisions are made by groups that are the most diverse
        • This can win over a conservative thinker
      • Cathe wrote 50 Christmas cards to Bloc, NDP, Conservatives: “Please support Electoral Reform”
        • Response: 1 return card from Thomas Mulcair (NDP)
      • Liberals selling memberships
        • Swamping the vote for policy issues
    • 2: Indivisible: Core Strategies for Influencing Politicians
      • More than calls and petitions
      • Focus on local organizations
      • Work with MPs and Senators
        • Senator names to go on our list of contacts
      • Record all meetings, post online
      • Prepare questions ahead of time
      • Also publicize a lack of response
      • Post on Twitter, post on FairvoteWRC Web Site
      • Be polite but persistent
        • “Please answer my question”
      • Avoid fracturing:
        • Don’t wander off and do your own thing
        • eg. designing your own STV or MMP voting system
      • Focus on core strategy
      • Get back to ERRE report
      • Show up at meetings and events; demand action
      • Coordinate blanket calls
      • Speak to Consituency Assistants
        • this redirects office staff from their priorities
      • “Will you commit to Proportional Representation?”
      • Liberals campaigned to give backbenchers more power
        • eg. Raj Saini (Liberal, Kitchener Centre) and Marwan Tabbara (Liberal, Kitchener South — Hespeler)
      • Tie Electoral Reform to the Liberals’ own issues
      • Why did you lie to us about Electoral Reform?
      • MPs don’t want to be seen as not working for their constituents
      • Voters are angry at the Liberals for backing away
      • Liberals are already in re-election mode
      • Re-iterate the illigitimacy of First-Past-The-Post to politicians
        • “Working hard for you”
        • “Share your values”
        • This unnerves them; good technique
      • Make the “Concrete ask”:
        • eg. “Will you host a Town Hall meeting on Electoral Reform?”
      • (David Dirks engaged us in a role-playing Q&A session)
      • Liberals have no credibility if they put Electoral Reform on their platform in 2019
        • There was never any will to implement Electoral Reform
      • “Targeted riding campaign”
        • Unseat 15 Liberals to achieve a minority government
        • But probably not in Waterloo Region
      • Attacking Liberals is justified by their broken promise
      • There is cooperation between NDP and Greens
      • Would Canadians recognize the lurch between majorities?
  4. Other notes
    • Melanie Jolie is in town at St. John’s Anglican Church (Duke St. and Weber St.) on 2 March 2017 at 6:00pm
      • This is a Liberal event, open to the public
      • Should we hold a protest? Ask on the Discussion mailing list
      • The Liberals will find out our plans anyway
        • We shouldn’t try to do this by stealth
        • We’ll post it on the Announcement mailing list and the Web site
        • Be specific: Date, time, duration.
    • Privatizating campaign funding through citizens and not corporations or unions
      • How to curb private funding, corruption?
    • Sharon Sommerville interviewed by Colin Butler of CBC Radio on 14 February 2017

— Meeting notes taken by Bob Jonkman

Minutes of the previous meeting: 2017 Strategy Meeting: Next Steps (6 February 2017)
List of all meetings