Wednesday, October 21, 2009

phone canvass

I've been volunteering a few hours each week for Fin Donnelly's election campaign. We're having a federal by-election in New Westminster-Coquitlam-Port Moody, because our previous MP, Dawn Black, resigned to be elected provincially. On November 9, there will be 4 by-elections in various parts of Canada. Ours is the only one in BC.

So far I have been helping with foot canvassing, which is knocking on doors to talk to people about Fin and the election. Most people know there's a by-election. Most people know Fin. It's good to see and hear what people are thinking and how they feel about the issues and candidates. My job is to carry a clipboard and make notes, like when someone wants a sign for their lawn, or if we find a house with new residents since the last voters' list was compiled. I like foot canvassing.

Last night I did some phone canvassing. I've done this before in the last federal election, just a year ago. I got a bit burned out on it, mostly because I called a lot of people who were generally receptive, but just tired of receiving so many phone calls from candidates, pollsters and other interested organizations. If you are in a union, your union calls, for example. Then there are the auto-dialer recorded messages from candidates. Even though you can decline or hang up on any caller, I know that it can be an imposition. I got tired of bugging people.

A year later, I was ready to give it a try again. It worked out pretty well last night. I phoned for 3 hours, using an auto-dialer computer program, which is new for me. The most challenging part for me is reading the name of the person that the call has reached. It pops up on the screen at the same time the person says hello. My worst blub was to call a Mr. MacDonald "Mr. MacDolski." Luckily, he laughed and still talked to me. I found a lot of people who were interested in the issues, wanted to talk, and were willing to indicate their preference. Those who didn't want to talk were polite when they said so. The three hours went by quickly. The notes that we once recorded on sheets of paper are recorded in the computer. I think this must help organize call-backs and data analysis a lot more easily than using the old method.

Here in BC, we'll be the first voters to cast ballots since the HST was imposed by our provincial government, in partnership with the federal government. I haven't talked to one person yet, at the door or on the phone, who thinks the HST is a good idea. It will be good to vote Yes for Fin, and No for the HST. Besides this issue, I am impressed with Fin's action on environmental issues, particular his concern for the well-being of the Fraser River habitat. From walking and talking with Fin and the people who know him, I am convinced that Fin will be here for us in our community. He's a good listener and a direct and honest responder. He knows Coquitlam from his time there as a city councillor. He grew up in Port Moody. He has spent countless hours meeting voters in New Westminster, and loves the river that runs through that city. I know also that Fin will speak up for the needs and rights of ordinary people when he's in Ottawa, and will be an advocate for federal support of health care, education and transportation.

So even if I do meet a couple of grumpy people on the phone this election, it will be worth it. As a canvasser, I'm proud to be representing Fin and the NDP. I believe in what they stand for, and I stand behind the actions they are taking here and in Ottawa. So now, I am ready for the next call.

question: did you know that there is a by-election on November 9?

mompoet - look for my call

No comments: