To all our candidates
Few readers may wish to follow this, with our election so recent, but a month-plus past the vote is time to assess that election campaign (not the resulting government), assess the brief process to reach that government. This is daunting, so let’s begin, on behalf of Bulletin readers, by congratulating all the candidates for their efforts – and remarkable commitment – in campaigning to represent us in Quebec City.
No matter our disagreements with parties, policies or individuals, we citizens must continue to respect all those who committed so much to this election. Our candidates, volunteers, and workers made our world-envied system work.
So, thank you all, on behalf of all voters. You should feel proud of what you personally have accomplished. Our hats are off to you all!
Now let me propose to those candidates and to others with similar interests that you (we, as well) have even more work to do. Let me suggest to you that you now do it all over again.
Not climb into the car tomorrow, but take to heart the old saw that a political campaign is never over, and that the end of one is the beginning of the next. Not that the tempo and intensity remain the same, but we ought to start the analysis while our memories are still fresh.
My single most remarkable memory of this fall’s campaign, as a media worker, was the general lack of information and familiarity – the low awareness of both issues and individual candidates and their platforms. I’ve never covered an election in which so many people asked me who was running for whom, which party was which, and which party and candidate stood for what position on so many issues. Several even misunderstood party identification symbols. This even happened during an all-candidates meeting!
The Bulletin’s letters to the editor complained of the lack of specific information (and reliance on content-empty posters, everywhere, treating the election as if it were merely an exercise in brand-recognition). The tally showed this voter disappointment: our front-runner lost almost 20% of his previous vote.
Suggestion One is to revisit communications policy for the next four years of government and then the next campaign. Repeating this election’s strategy would be ridiculous. The public wants information, details and intelligent observations. Grinning faces are not enough.
Second, so many voters did not know the candidates, apart from Mr Fortin, our ministerial incumbent. Many appeared at the last minute. Hence, the best-know candidates (media personality, former mayor) took the vote everywhere. Potential candidates ought to get themselves into public vision, starting now.
This challenge is serious and requires preparation – our MNA Mr Fortin has done this, meeting people, organizations, councils, companies and groups. It requires knowing the riding’s detailed issues – and uncovering a few -- asking opinions and concerns, rather than telling voters their party’s spending priorities.
Honourable candidates, begin your unofficial campaign right now. We want more of you!