Rebuilding Voter Outreach Across Ontario

20 years ago, we became the first provincial party to earn over two million votes on Election Day. Ever since, we’ve chased a shrinking base of one-time Liberals instead of working to expand the big red tent.

I believe we need a fundamental reset in our party’s culture in order to start building a movement that has something to offer every person in this province.

Over the last decade, some decision-makers made it clear that they believed canvassing more than a year out from an election was just a waste of time and effort that only produced stale data. I think that’s wrong.

When we wait until just before the writs drop to get election-ready, we miss out on learning more about local voters. We also fail to collect crucial feedback that can help build a narrative that speaks to voters and a platform they feel reflected in.

When we abandon this early work, we also eliminate any room to grow our base, and leave ourselves with only enough time to target those voters who stick with us through thick and thin. We have hard proof from back-to-back election losses that those voters are too few and far between to propel us back to government on their own.

As President, I’ll work with PLAs to rebuild our voter outreach efforts across the province and introduce year-round ‘deep canvassing’ Days of Action.

We need to use all 1,461 days of a four-year election cycle to lay the groundwork for victory. Year-round, deep canvassing Days of Action can help us get there. If you haven’t heard of deep-canvassing before, you aren’t alone. It’s a proven but underused approach to voter engagement.

Traditional canvassing is all about identifying who a voter will support on Election Day. It’s a head-counting exercise that lets us know who is already with us so we can get them to the polls. Deep canvassing is a tool to grow our base beyond those who already support us so that we can earn more votes on Election Day.

Deep canvassing allows for longer, issue-focused conversations at the door that help us learn more about voters. It can also be used to persuade voters on issues that matter most to them. Both types of deep canvassing are all about understanding voters better so that we can expand the pool of voters who cast ballots for us on Election Day.

Let me know what you think about this idea. 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 improve voter engagement and grow our vote total in every riding across Ontario.