Volunteers lifeblood of mayoral campaign

Mayoral candidate Oliva Chow at Woodside Square shopping centre in Scarborough surrounded by young volunteers. ( Photo Mitchel Raphel via Flickr) Mayoral candidate Oliva Chow at Woodside Square shopping centre in Scarborough surrounded by young volunteers. ( Photo Mitchel Raphel via Flickr)
Morgan Gallagher
Queens Park/City Hall Reporter

With the municipal election less than a month away, candidates everywhere are still looking for volunteers to canvas on their behalf.

Steven McInnis, who graduated from Business Administration at University of Guelph-Humber last spring, works on John Tory’s campaign for mayor, doing field organization and data entry.

McInnis said they can use all the volunteer help they can get.

“It’s coming down to a time where lawn signs are going up. They are going up for all the candidates for council as well as mayor. It’s kind of manual labour, but if you want to get involved with a campaign usually that’s where you start.”

When it comes to deciding what candidate to support, McInnis believes watching a candidate at a debate is one of the best ways to find out if they will actually follow through on their campaign platforms.

“That’s where you go to find out who is genuine and who is telling you what they want you to hear. Once they’re in the debate, you can tell how knowledgeable they are. When they are just speaking at a media briefing, they may be scripted for the whole thing. I’d say debate is really where you get to know if the candidates are knowledgeable and whether or not they’re in touch with what’s going on,” McInnis said.

John Mraz, director of the war room at the John Tory campaign, agrees with McInnis when it comes to volunteers finding a campaign and a candidate that they believe in.

“Students should ask themselves the biggest question surrounding any election: What are the issues most important to me? After this question is answered you’ll be able to figure out which candidate is going to stand up for you,” Mraz said.

Volunteering is one of the keys to success in any political campaign. Mraz says that getting the word out to residents is the most important part of any election.

“Students can begin in a campaign by volunteering to canvass. This means going door to door and discussing the candidate’s positions on issues specific to those residents. Voters have lives that often don’t have that much time for politics,” he said.

Jamey Heath, communications director for Olivia Chow said a lot of the campaign work done thus far has been done by students.

“Students had wide-ranging roles in our campaign from policy to our online efforts to knocking on doors to handing out leaflets at transit stops. With only a short time left, if someone volunteered now they would be distributing leaflets, putting up signs or getting out the vote on Election Day,” Heath said.

If students are interested in getting involved, all campaigns Et Cetera spoke to said they are always looking for help. They want passionate volunteers who are willing to get their messages out to the public.