We’ve always been a party of volunteers. But over our years in government, the party started to lean on paid political staff to carry out campaign work instead of recruiting and training new local volunteers to deliver winning campaigns in every riding.
While I agree that we need to rebuild party headquarters and hire new field organizers, restoring staffing levels won’t be the silver bullet that wins us the next election. We need to stop limiting our ambitions as a party to the number of paid staff we can hire. Instead, we need staff to play a supportive training role within a much bigger volunteer-led and volunteer-driven movement.
Ontario is at a turning point where a new generation of activists are getting involved in politics because of conservative cuts. This is our moment to create a home for them in our party and give every Liberal volunteer the tools you need to fight back.
You don’t need campaign experience to volunteer in politics but you’ll be more likely to stay involved if you feel welcomed, supported, and have the training you need to succeed.
But volunteers are busy people with commitments beyond our party and need more flexibility when it comes to training. To engage past volunteers and to attract new ones, we need to make it easier to volunteer in our party by offering flexible, year-round training to every supporter.
I’ll work with our Executive Council and party staff to create flexible training for volunteers offered online, in-person, in hybrid-settings, and on-demand.
Delivering training options online is crucial in a province as large as Ontario. Online training options help keep travel costs down for volunteers and allow for training to be offered more frequently. In some cases, they can even be offered on-demand to better fit the schedules of our volunteers.
When we offer training online, we can bring expert advice to you instead of the other way around. I’m committed to expanding and continually updating our party’s on-demand online training library that can be accessed by volunteers any time of day, any day of the week. I’m also committed to bringing back weekly online training sessions open to every member on topics like fundraising, policy, communications, engagement, and organization.
While online training is important, I agree with party members that we need to bring back more in-person training opportunities at the regional level. Our party can no longer afford to take a one size fits all approach to PLAs, regional training, and election readiness.
This is especially important at the regional level so that volunteers can share regional best practices. As President, I’ll work with Regional Vice-Presidents on our Executive Council to host regional training days that take into account regional realities like local campaign metrics and language requirements.
While coming together at the regional level is crucial, it’s just as important to bring volunteers together from across the province to share best practices that apply to every riding. That’s why I’m committed to restoring an annual in-person Provincial Council with dedicated training sessions to help hone the skills of our volunteers and strengthen our PLAs.
But volunteers from across the province should also get to benefit from the knowledge and experience of other teams year-round. Working with our Executive Council and our PLAs, I’m committed to creating a year-round PLA Mentorship Program where long-time veterans can help mentor newer volunteers as they prepare for the next campaign.
Finally, wherever possible, I’m committed to expanding hybrid training opportunities so that volunteers have a choice about whether they want to participate in-person or online. Hybrid meetings have become standard beyond our party and have already been used to great success within it during nomination meetings in the lead-up to the last provincial campaign.
Let me know what you think about these ideas. Reach out on social media or send me an email at [email protected] to share your thoughts and other ideas you have about how we can better support volunteers and grow our team of activists in every riding across Ontario.