People choose to participate in the political process for many reasons, but for many of us there is nothing more enjoyable or more central to the experience of being involved in a political party than canvassing. One of the reasons why it’s so gratifying is that it’s such a social experience. When you go out in a team to canvass, you get to talk to people about why they’ve decided to volunteer their time for the Liberal Party. Whether you’re speaking with strangers or with people whom you already know, you’ll get the chance to discuss and learn something new. In the process, you’ll also get a bit of exercise and you’ll be able to do something fun! That’s ultimately one of the great things about going on a canvass; it’s always a bit of an adventure.
This illustrates the importance to the Liberal Party of riding associations getting out into their communities talking with people about their individual views and not simply staying in the backrooms devising “policy” and working on electoral technique. The Party benefits from this sort of political activity in a number of ways, first of all because canvassing helps to get information about voters that the Party can use in the next election: information about issues, attitudes and intentions. Canvassing also provides the chance to talk to people on a one-on-one basis about the Liberal Party. Every conversation between a canvasser and a voter is a reminder of what it is that Liberals stand for. That’s another reason why canvassing is so enjoyable: you get to help fight for the policies that you believe in!
After the election, Bob Rae said that we have entered an era of the permanent campaign; the campaign for the 2015 election begins now. He was encouraging Liberals to go out and connect with voters in their communities. John Baird or his staff have the chance to talk to constituents every day and that’s why our riding association is working to connect with voters and to encourage local Liberals to go out into the community and consult. The fact that the Ottawa West-Nepean Federal Liberal Association is out canvassing shows how our riding association is working to rebuild the Liberal Party at a grassroots level. That’s why canvassing is so important and that’s why, when you’re with a group of other Liberals, it can be so much fun.
Over the coming months, we hope to be at the doors in our riding regularly and often, discussing issues of general and particular concern, learning from each other and working together to better our community. We hope to create a stronger Liberal Party in our community and a stronger Liberal Party for the country. With such a positive experience from our first effort, we hope many more of you will join us!