Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taking stock

After scarfing down some chicken fingers I’m off to the airport to catch a flight back to Toronto, and my regular life. I plan to arrive very early at YVR, mix a few strong rum and cokes in the Maple Leaf Lounge and pour over the newspapers to look more closely at just what happened.

I’ll save big picture prognostications for another post; I’ve not had a chance yet to look to closely at the election results. I spent some 15 hours yesterday scrutineering at a polling station in Burnaby, 12 hours of voting and then three hours for the ballots to be counted (and some math issues resolved). By the time I emerged from the communications black-out, of course, it was all over.

One last note on scrutineering, though. If ever you need your faith in democracy restored, spend some time volunteering to scrutineer a poll for a political party, or to work a poll for Elections Canada. These are regular people taking time out of their lives to ensure Canadians can vote, and vote fairly. There’s no partisan rancor there. I had great talks during the day with my Conservative colleague, and my NDP colleague gave me a ride back to the office after we were done. With all the nastiness in the blog world at times, it’s nice to know in the real world, it’s just regular people with differently deeply-held views about what’s best for Canada.

Obviously, this wasn’t the result we were hoping for. A few weeks ago it was looking very bleak (much bleaker) in BC, but post-debate we saw a strong surge in Liberal support in the province. It was fluid though, and the question was would that support hold. It didn’t; I think many people made a decision at the ballot box and, this time, it didn’t break our way. That happens.

We’re still sending five great Liberal MPs from BC to Ottawa. I will never again doubt Hedy Fry, she’s a machine. Ujjal Dosanjh gave us a scare, but he’s a good man. And Joyce Murray, another squeaker, with Sukh Dhaliwal and Keith Martin back too. I really feel for good people like Don Bell in North Vancouver, and I really thought Briony Penn was going to take it in Saanich-Gulf Islands. And I especially feel for Bill Cunningham, he’s a good man and would have made a great MP, for Burnaby and for Canada. I spent the last week in Burnaby-Douglas and they had a great team that ran a great campaign.

Overall, I’m actually really proud of the regional campaign that we ran in British Columbia. About a week before the election call, out of the blue, I got an offer to come out and join the campaign. Surprisingly my employers agreed to let me leave for five weeks, and I got to come out and work with a great group of people from whom I learned a lot.

It was a long haul of 12-hour days, 7 days a week, a dedicated group of Liberals from all different backgrounds fighting hard. We did a lot of great research, pushed-out a lot of communications products, defined the media narrative in BC for much of the campaign, put on some of the best leader’s tour stops in the country, and ran a very active auxiliary tour. And we put out some great Made in BC policy too. It was a roller coaster of emotions, from feeling great with early Harper gaffes and NDP candidate losses to being deeply concerned as we hit out low-point in the polls, then rising again post-debate when Dion caught his second wind and the polls seemed to turn out way.

It was a great experience, and even if we didn’t get the result we’d hoped for I take pride in knowing that we left it all on the floor, and I can’t think of anything we would have done differently. I sincerely thank those responsible for bringing me out, and everyone I had a chance to work with.

My chicken fingers are done, so I’ll just end with this. I don’t know what the future may hold for we Liberals. But as long as Stephane Dion wants to be our leader, I’ve got his back. More soon.

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Robert said...

Yep, I've found that the Conservatives I meet around elections are pretty decent, whether its during canvassing or on E-day.

If it weren't for the Blogging Tories, I'd have a better opinion of Tories all around.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you said that Robert. I think I feel the same, and the BT is really the first exposure to the conservative party.

Thanks for giving me hope that they don't represent "conservatives" in general.

Jason Hickman said...

Robert and Joseph, as a pretty-much-inactive-and-retired Blogging Tory, I'd agree that there's a lot of rancor over there.

I would say, not as a defence but as a point, that there's a heck of a lot of anger among Liblogs, too - NOT including our host at this blog, or Calgary Grit, or others that are respected on both sides of the proverbial aisle.

I certainly don't judge Liberals as a whole by some of the more obnoxious bloggers. Most of the partisans from all parties that I've met are good people. Heck, when they had bloggers' parties in Toronto, most of the people who came out were perfectly friendly with everyone else, regardless of affiliation.

Maybe because people think blogging is always completely anonymous (though this campaign should have put paid to THAT misconception), they feel freer to spill bile than they would if you met them on the street, as long as they're at their keyboards. Or maybe it's the nature of blogging that brings out the worst partisans on all sides, I don't know.