Note: The following information can also be applied to provincial elections and will be integrated in an upcoming pamphlet on how to run a provincial election campaign as a Freedom Party candidate.
Tax-creditable municipal donations?
Yes, it's possible. Although donations to municipal candidates are not deductible, contributions to the fully-registered Freedom Party and its constituency associations are! And provincial party constituency associations can spend money any way they like!
While a constituency association may not collect money explicitly for municipal candidates running in local elections, it may spend money for that purpose. For example, you cannot legally say: 'If you give $100 to my municipal campaign, but write out your cheque to Freedom Party, you'll get $75 back in tax credits.' If the Elections Commission could prove that you were raising money for this purpose, the tax creditable status of those contributions would be in jeopardy.
If, however, you collected money from members, supporters, etc. with the stated intention of 'financing upcoming elections', then that would be permissable, even if the Freedom Party constituency association spent it on municipal candidates. All qualifying donations are tax-creditable. Thus, as you can see, it would be wise for anyone considering running in the 1985 municipal election who is a party member to donate, for example, between $1,000 and $2,000 to their C.A. in 1984 or early in 1985. Your executive will no doubt be 'sympathetic' to where the 'best use' of that money might be, and we'll leave that discussion to you.
It is important that only those Freedom Party and constituency association representatives registered as authorized to collect contributions with the Elections Commission actually collect the money donated. The degree to which a Freedom Party association would help a municipal candidate should be based upon that person's committment to the Freedom Party, his record as an activist, his committment to principles of freedom, and his ability in promoting those ideas. We cannot support any candidate who seems sympathetic but is a member of another party. Work only for candidates who are worthwhile long-term Freedom Party investments. Get as much committment out of them as they can expect out of you!
Some municipalities have reporting requirements on where campaign donations come from; it is possible that a provincial political party might be identified as a donor, and some discussion may ensue as to whether it is legally acceptable to have registered political parties spending money on candidates.
To the best of our understanding, as long as no explicit appeals were made to raise money for that purpose, you should be alright. This could be an important factor to municipal candidates who want to take advantage of this fabulous opportunity --- just don't get sloppy with technicalities.
How to get a city directory of all the streets and addresses in your community --- free!
Vernon City Directories (of Hamilton Ontario; phone (416) 522-5066) will supply to anyone who calls or writes, free of charge, a very valuable book that lists your entire city's streets, street numbers, resident names, and phone numbers. (You may keep the book for the two to three months of your campaign.) Sound like a telephone book? Yes, except that a city directory is listed alphabetically by street and numbered in address order.
What makes this so useful?
The ward polling lists that the city gives you in a municipal election are only (1) given out when you declare your candidacy and register as a candidate (inconvenient if you want to campaign four to five weeks before you officially announce your candidacy), and (2) all electors, incredibly enough, are listed in alphabetical order by names, useless in door-to-door campaigning where a numerical order of houses with names is required.
With a city directory, you can go to each house on a street and know the name of the resident. This will allow you to say something like, 'Good evening, Mrs. Thompson. I'm Fred M. Partie. I'd like to work as your alderman and I'd like your support in this city election. Is there any issue you'd like to discuss?'
The use of a resident's name allows for that important personal touch, and makes it appear as if you know them and as though they ought to know you. The use of their name will get initial attention, very important in the limited time you have at their doorstep. It also makes the candidate feel a little more comfortable.
The directory is handy after elections too (it's worth about $25 - $150 depending on what community you live in), so before you return it after the election, every relevant page should be photocopied, particularly for future phone soliciting.
No campaign manager or candidate should be without this book, and it should be ordered well in advance of a campaign. A $100 deposit is required but Vernon's will refund this with the return of their book.
Election campaigning by phone --- essential in any election campaign:
One of the most simple, quick, efficient, and successful ways of hammering your candidates name home to the voters is the phone pitch. For the three weeks prior to the vote date, after the areas being called have received at least one pamphlet from our candidate (Fred M. Partie), as many people as possible should be calling homes in the appropriate electoral district, from 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. every night, Monday to Friday, and on Saturday nights if there's no hockey on.
Phone soliciting is more important than any other form of campaigning, as far as volunteers are concerned. If a volunteer has a good phone voice, is polite and has patience, get him involved doing this type of activity. Remarkable results are obtained in this manner. As for those who might feel uncomfortable in this type of activity, there are always pamphlets to deliver, signs to put up, etc. But the phone pitch is probably the most critical component of a successful municipal campaign. Following is a pattern each phone call should take. Each call takes about three minutes (maximum).
The area you call must have previously received the party pamphlets) or the follow-up calls will serve very little effective purpose.
In my own municipal campaign (London's Ward 3; November 1982), 1 discovered that one out of eight people who said they would vote for me offered to have a lawn sign placed on their front lawns. Using the exclusive method of telephone campaigning, I managed to get over 70 lawn signs erected (out of a total number of 160 or so, the balance having been erected by door-to-door campaigning requests). But remember --- I had never met any of these people before! Though I started phone-campaigning only ten days before the election (instead of about 25 days) and had only about two to four reliable callers a night instead of the necessary 10-15, the results were nevertheless excellent.
Surprisingly, most people who answer your calls do not hang up on you but do listen, and are often very interested in the election. If your candidate, Fred M. Partie, has created any kind of public profile, you will get some warm encouraging feedback, which helps to boost everyone's morale.
Ideally, you should have three to four campaign callers working each night from 7:00- 10:00 P. M. from day 25 to day 15 before the election, and ten callers a night from day 14 to election day. (Saturday afternoons are OK too!) In a space of three hours, the average phone caller will complete between thirty and fifty calls.
Callers should naturally be polite, friendly, and passive (don't even begin to disagree or debate); on matters of political philosophy and policy, make certain to retain the name and number of the person being called and promise that person that the candidate will call them back if he has any specific questions to ask. Be certain that the message finds its way to campaign headquarters so that the candidate can follow it up the next day. Campaign volunteers should never discuss politics unless the potential voter is in total sympathy with the candidate. Otherwise, defer all questions to the candidate.
The response of each call should be recorded on the Vernon Directory photocopied sheets that each caller should have with symbols that reflect the nature of the response.
Unless you have an unlimited number of volunteers (you won't --- there's no such thing!), do not call apartments, townhouses, low-rental or subsidized units. The residents or tenants in such areas rarely vote in municipal elections and your success is bound to be limited (particularly if the N.D.P. is active in those areas).
Concentrate on areas that offer the best return for your investment of time: middle class, working households, upscale households, senior citizens buildings, and blue-collar neighbourhoods. Union, blue-collar, and middle class voters are surprisingly independent, do attend elections and may be responsive to your message. Seniors always vote, and they tend to favour underdogs who appeal to their instincts (seniors like young people too, so relative youth is not a disadvantage here).
It is good for a phone caller's morale if the areas called are those most likely to get signs erected, since this is the most tangible evidence of the success rate available to someone doing this job night after night.
Next issue, I'll reflect on my experience with lawn-road signs (Plastic or cardboard? Large or small? Colour?), pamphlet design and distribution, arid campaign budgets.
last updated on April 28, 2002