It has been almost 10 days already since the elections, and I’m still recovering from the summer’s campaign. It has been a long one. While the official campaign was the longest of modern Canadian history (only 1867’s and 1872’s were longer), most political parties had been campaigning for months already. So was Ecology Ottawa, promoting environmental leadership at the federal level. While I personally only joined the campaign at the beginning of May to help start the ground game, some of you had already been on the phones since the winter.
Since May, we have worked together, knocking on one door at a time. In early October, we switched to phones for the remaining two weeks. For five months, we knocked on nearly 25 000 doors in Orléans and Ottawa West-Nepean, together. For five months, we collected nearly 7 000 signatures in these two ridings, together.
In the last two weeks leading up to the elections, we thus made nearly 12 000 phone calls to get the vote out, together. We connected with nearly 4000 people across four separate ridings, together.
What we accomplished
Nationally, the voter turnout is back on par with levels last seen in 1993, at 68.5%.
The Ottawa-area turnout was already above average, but this election saw some of the highest turnouts in the country as well! In Orleans, where you and I started together this summer, the turnout was 80.9%, a 9.2% increase (the national average increase is 7.4%).
Well, you ask, are we responsible for all of this? It’s difficult to measure the actual effect we had on the bigger picture, on the shift in seats whether in Orléans or in West Nepean, where we worked hard all summer, or even on the turn out from our Get Out The Vote campaign. We’ll be able to see things more clearly once the poll level data is released.
Still, make no mistake about it. We worked hard for this, and we had our role to play. You made this happen. You made change possible. You made that next step towards making Ottawa the greenest capital in the world possible.
I’ve worked with some of you throughout the entire length of the campaign. I’ve worked with most of you for shorter periods throughout the campaign. For all of you, however, for this, for all this, thank you. Thank you so much for your dedication, and for your hard work over the last nine months. You truly inspired me all the way to the end, and we would not be here today without each and every single one of you. Thank you.
We’ve worked so hard together and for so long. We built something. We have something. We also now live in a Canadian political environment that should be much more conducive to discussion, to working together, to finally making things happen. In these 10 days, Trudeau seems to be showing a lot of the right signs towards this improved political arena. He’s inviting the Premiers and all opposition party leaders, including Elizabeth May, to the Paris climate talks. The Northern Gateway pipeline looks like it’s in serious trouble, he’s even fielding questions from journalists!
We also have an opportunity to build on this momentum, and to keep moving forward, together. This fall, we have a historic opportunity to be heard by our new government in their first month in power, on the eve of their first international meeting in Paris. Ecology Ottawa has joined a massive coalition that is organizing a family-friendly march in the City of Ottawa on November 29th. We have a historic opportunity to be heard by our new Prime Minister and federal government in their first month in power, and we are calling on all of our supporters to please get involved.
With the elections over, I have moved on to a new role here at Ecology Ottawa. I am now the Clean Energy organizer, and will be picking up the Tar Free 613 and Climate Change files, along with working hard on mobilizing as many people as we can for the 100% Possible: Marching Together for Climate Solutions and Justice on November 29th.
So, to each and every one of you with whom we worked together over the summer, are you still with me?
I would be humbled, once more, if you would choose to keep on working with me towards this new goal, and ultimately towards making Ottawa, and Canada, a clean energy leader in the world.
Sign up, send me an e-mail, stay tuned for more information, and let’s keep on rocking this. We got this.
Once more, thank you.
Clean Energy Organizer, Ecology Ottawa