Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm heading West

With another election upon us, I've secured a leave from my day job and I'll soon be heading to British Columbia, to fight for Canada in a slightly less wintry climate, and one with both oceans and mountains.

In 2008 I joined the communications war room for the Liberal Party's regional campaign for B.C., based in Vancouver. It was a great time working with some talented and dedicated people; great learning experience. We had a lot of fun and put out a lot of great material.

This time, I'll be doing something a little different. I'm off to my hometown of Courtenay, B.C. to be campaign manager for our Liberal candidate in Vancouver Island North, Mike Holland. Mike's a former Courtenay city councilor who those that follow B.C. politics may remember from his fight for long-term care beds.

The incumbent is usually low profile Conservative John Duncan, recently elevated to cabinet as Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, who has been in the news a lot lately over the Bruce Carson scandal (Duncan still has a lot of explaining to do about his role). With former MP Catherine Bell not running again, the NDP candidate is another former Courtenay councilor, Rona-Rae Leonard.

There used to be a good Liberal base in the riding, but it has been fading in recent years as Bell and Duncan battled it out and polarized the vote. The Liberals ran fairly weak campaigns locally in 2005/06 and 2008, cementing the vote collapse. This time though we've pulled together a great team and a very strong candidate. With a new NDP candidate and Duncan hit by scandal (he's also offside with the riding on several key local issues) this is going to be a whole new race, and I think the Liberals are going to surprise some people in this riding.

Managing a campaign will be a much broader challenge than I've had in the past, but I'm looking forward to the experience. And it will be great to be back with family and friends for five weeks in one of the nicest parts of the country.

So I'm off to the airport this afternoon to catch a flight west. I'll be in a taxi heading to Pearson as the confidence vote happens; if someone gets cold feet my cab will be the one pulling a violent u-turn on the 401. Otherwise, I'll be on a WestJet flight following all the drama on seatback tv before getting into Comox tonight.

While I'll no doubt be busy, with this role I'll be freer to blog than I was during the 2008 campaign. So while, as always, these blogs are my views and mine only, I'll be blogging away all campaign with, as always, a little B.C perspective.

Let the fun begin! And if you're in the neighbourhood, stop by and say hello.

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Unknown said...

Best of luck!

Alison said...

Good luck. May the force be with you!

marie said...

Hi Jeff,

Way to go Jeff. We were neighbors apparently. Campbell River was my home for over 34 years and I know very well about Duncan.

Work hard Jeff and turf Duncan out. It can be done as you mentioned as I was living in the area at the time. I believe Holland will run a stronger campaign then Bell did or Duncan can. He is not well liked in hisMiNorth Vancouver riding. He has his own skeletons rattling in his closet that Islanders are aware of.

Will drop in and say hi if I am there in the near future.

rockfish said...

Best of luck! I'll be cheering from the lower mainland (and volunteering when i can)...

Jeff said...

Thanks everyone! And hope to see you Marie!