Phew! With polls closing around the country, the team here is exhaling for what feels like the first time in 11 looong weeks. Maybe you can relate?
Here in the office, the walls are covered with countdown calandars and voter contact goals written out on flipchart paper, crossed off, replaced by higher goals, and then crossed off again. Stacks of clipboards fill every corner. Exhausted staff and volunteers are finally putting down the phones, closing their laptops, and taking a breath.
Similar scenes are playing out at campaign HQ’s across the country where thousands of you volunteered to pull votes today, starting at dawn.
Our heads are all swirling with questions: How will our local and recommended candidates fare? Did harsh new ID requirements block Canadian citizens from voting? Most importantly, will the new government finally represent the majority of Canadian voters?
But no matter what results come in over the next few hours, in so many ways you – the incredible Leadnow community – have already won. So before we leap together into whatever comes next, we wanted to take a moment, say “Thank you!” and share just some of the many reasons we're so deeply grateful for what you all have just achieved.
You reached SO MANY voters
- Our online HQ, VoteTogether.ca had over 1 million visits from people looking for info on how to best defeat Harper in their riding. That is about one out of every 15 voters nationwide checking in with us before they reach the polls.
- You collected over 90,000 pledges from voters in critical ridings to vote together.
- Over 5,400 volunteers called or physically visited over 250,000 voters, concentrated in 11 extremely close races.
- You organized 1,427 canvasses, phone banks, recruitment & training events from coast to coast to coast.
- You hand-distributed 74,100 flyers explaining how this election will affect the issues Canadians care about most.
- You held over 50,000 live, voter-to-voter conversations, including 20,000+ conversations in the last 2 weeks alone.
You worked SO HARD and SO SMART. Some of my favorite examples:
- Volunteers in Calgary canvassed in February until the ink in their pens literally froze...and then they got new pens and kept going. In August, they canvassed in 35 degree heat...and then got backpacks of drinking water and kept going.
- Following a hunch, volunteers in Owen Sound independently crowd funded their own local poll, proving what no national campaign (including us!) had yet realized: their local race was way too close to call.
- Anna K, a volunteer in PEI, trained over 200 first-time phone bankers from all over the country and put her math degree to work independently analyzing local polls. (Oh, and she’s 7 months pregnant).
- Joe W-L, an organizer in Winnipeg, talked with a life-long conservative voter on The Current radio show, convincing him in front of a national audience not only to vote for change, but to cast his vote for whomever had the best chance of beating Harper.
- Far too many amazing songs, remixes, lemonade stands, giant chalkboards, and brilliant animated videos to count.
You made SUCH A HUGE difference
- Your work was all over the local and national press, covered in over 200 stories in leading national papers including the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and New York Times, local papers from the Edmonton Journal to the Mississauga News, and leading TV and radio shows like Power & Politics, The Current and CBC’s The National.
- You put our broken voting system at the top of the agenda. To earn your vote, the Greens, Liberals and NDP have all made robust pledges for election reform. This united front will make the issue impossible to ignore, no matter who’s in charge.
And you pioneered an unprecedented approach to principled, independent, people powered politics. Think about it:
Over 3,000 of you crowdfunded $100,000 for polling. Never been done before.
The local polling pierced through misleading national numbers to show, riding-by-riding, how each candidate stacked up in 37 close races. Never been done before.
You voted to officially recommend candidates in 29 ridings, regardless of their party, based on where they stood on the key issues and who had the best chance to beat Harper. Never been done before.
You backed up those cross-partisan community recommendations with over 29.5 thousand volunteer hours calling, visiting, emailing, leafletting, tweeting, posting and basically communicating in every possible way, laser-focused on the 11 ridings most likely to decide the outcome. Never been done before.
All this from a community that only launched a few years ago, with a campaign budget a tiny fraction of what the traditional parties get to spend. I mean...wow.
It hasn’t always been easy. If you do so much stuff that’s never been done before, you’re going to be attacked by people who like things the way they are.
From the moment Leadnow members picked this strategy last year, we knew that supporting candidates from the party most likely to beat Harper would, frankly speaking, anger a lot of friends as well as opponents. We were right. Over the last 11 months we’ve been accused of being a front for the Greens, the NDP, and the Liberals – and been attacked by all three for not supporting them enough.
What’s kept us steady is the simple truth that Leadnow members see so plainly: Canadians are far more humane, honest and inclusive than the government we’ve languished under for the last decade. To set things right, we have to stop focusing on what divides us and start rallying around the values that unite us. That can be painful, because our disagreements matter. But not as much as our commitment to the change Canadians need.
Simply put, we’re stronger together.
And that’s the most important thing. You’ve already won, no matter where the vote tally ends up tonight. You’ve built the most powerful, independent movement of everyday people who refuse both petty partisanship and Harper’s nasty politics of fear and division. You never lost sight of the real goals. Never listened to the cynics. And you’ve built something incredible: A source of lasting hope.
No matter what happens next, this movement will be here to help move Canada forward. There’s no group of people we’d rather stand with to face the future – and to shape it.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Now let’s get a good night’s sleep. There’s plenty of work ahead.