•   
  •   
  •   

Canada Grappling with how to press the virtual flesh, parties gear up for election showdown

14:45  09 may  2021
14:45  09 may  2021 Source:   thecanadianpress.com

Rex Murphy: A pandemic's not an ideal time to hold an election. But can Trudeau resist?

  Rex Murphy: A pandemic's not an ideal time to hold an election. But can Trudeau resist? I have been struck by a sudden insight. I have so few, I thought I’d give the announcement its own one-sentence paragraph. It’s not Newton level — you know, apple, gravity, laws of planetary motion. But it can hold its own. Here it is. Pandemics are never an ideal time to hold elections. The wisdom contained in that axiom is almost too much to bear. And to think it came in such a sudden flash. Perhaps prompted by a lurking memory of my own dear province, run by a doctor no less, which held an election in February, and that doleful, embarrassing experience.

OTTAWA — The three main national parties are firing up their election engines, even as they insist they want to steer clear of a campaign.

a group of people sitting at a table © Provided by The Canadian Press

Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats are on the move in advance of a potential election this year, recruiting candidates, training volunteers and grappling with how to kiss babies and press the flesh in a virtual, pandemic-restricted world.

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has left each party ravenously raising funds and wooing would-be nominees while suspended in a kind of limbo, forced to map out multiple scenarios for an election whose timing under a minority Liberal government remains unknown.

Ontario's political parties gear up for next spring's election in the shadow of COVID-19

  Ontario's political parties gear up for next spring's election in the shadow of COVID-19 Ontario's political parties are preparing for the 2022 election campaign by nominating candidates, planning strategies and raising money, all under the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic. How strongly the pandemic will play into Ontario voters' decisions a year from now is one of the great unknowns for the parties. Successive polls in the past month show growing dissatisfaction with how Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservative government are handling the province's response to COVID-19.

The Conservatives are first out of the gate on several tracks, including fundraising, nominations and digital prep.

The party says it raised a record $8.5 million in the first three months of the year — a windfall more than twice the size of any other party’s last quarter — and nominated 197 candidates so far, including incumbents. It also set up what communications director Cory Hann calls a "state of the art broadcast studio" in a ballroom at the Westin hotel in downtown Ottawa equipped with stage lights, multiple cameras and a massive background screen.

"It allows us to beam the leader across the country, whether it be through a Zoom meeting or a live stream or press conferences," Hann said.

The Tory election budget of $30 million also means Leader Erin O’Toole could spend indulgently to criss-cross the country preaching his message, one church basement at a time, should public-health measures allow it.

The 10 Biggest Renewal/Cancellation Cliffhangers: SEAL Team, Good Girls, Zoey's Playlist, Prodigal Son and More

  The 10 Biggest Renewal/Cancellation Cliffhangers: SEAL Team, Good Girls, Zoey's Playlist, Prodigal Son and More Your eyes are not deceiving you: Grey’s Anatomy — the buzziest of bubble shows in all the land — is not included in our list of broadcast TV’s 10 biggest renewal/cancellation cliffhangers. And that’s because all indications are that ABC’s venerable medical drama will be back for an 18th season next fall — and with leading lady

For the NDP, ground zero is a basement.

Jennifer Howard, campaign director and chief of staff to Leader Jagmeet Singh, spends her days in the depths of her south Ottawa home among "my many chargers and my earbuds … and about three baskets of laundry to fold."

Like other parties, the NDP is planning a heavier focus on online campaigning and social media advertising, which can micro-target voters by age and location to provide more bang for your buck.

Party brass have met with strategists who helped run U.S. President Joe Biden’s field operations last year as well as organizers from British Columbia to New Zealand to soak up lessons from elections fought in the grips of COVID-19.

Morale remains a concern on all sides. Howard hopes her party can grow camaraderie among the grassroots without the hothouse of bricks-and-mortar headquarters or late-night beers and bull sessions.

From repurposing empty offices to a month-long street party: London mayoral candidates tout post-COVID plans

  From repurposing empty offices to a month-long street party: London mayoral candidates tout post-COVID plans Twenty candidates are running for mayor of London in this Thursday's election, each offering their own particular spin on how they'll revive the U.K.'s biggest city post-pandemic.She is running for mayor, representing the Liberal Democrats, and housing is one of her top priorities. She has come up with a pitch that hopes to take advantage of the pandemic: turning empty office space into affordable homes.

"You do it because you believe in something, but there's also a great social element to it," she said of pre-COVID campaigning.

"Somebody brings in donuts at the end of a hard night and you sit back and talk about politics. And when we're all in our homes doing our work, you lose that."

To stoke team spirit, the NDP created what she calls a "virtual campaign office." Launched last month, the private Team Jagmeet Facebook group posts how-to guides on digital promotion and upbeat messages from online organizers to spread the orange gospel.

The party also aims to capitalize on Singh's social media savvy, which can offer a casual tone and light-on-politics message piped out via Instagram and TikTok. Recent posts show the 42-year-old politician dancing to hip-hop beats in a Montreal square and tying his hair in a Sikh warrior knot, part of an effort to establish an emotional connection with digital natives.

"It might not be possible to do door-to-door campaigning in some parts of the country, which has been a lot of the kind of bread and butter of NDP style grounds campaigns," said NDP national director Anne McGrath, noting leaders' social media game could be all the more critical.

NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021

  NHL's COVID protocol-related absences for May 8, 2021 Players in the protocol are: Colorado's Devan Dubnyk and Washington's Evgeny Kuznetsov.Calgary – TBA

The NDP has nominated 65 candidates, with 33 more nomination dates scheduled before the end of June. The party snagged a $22-million loan to anchor an election budget of $24 million, said officials, who hope to make gains after shedding seats in 2019 and 2015.

The Greens have named five candidates, including all three MPs and Leader Annamie Paul, who remains without a seat in the House of Commons. The party said it has received more than 200 applications, with some 20 likely candidates vetted so far.

The Liberals have nominated 152 candidates — 129 are incumbents — as of this week. Four incumbents have said they won't seek re-election so far, including organizing heavyweight and former cabinet minister Navdeep Bains, the Grits' campaign co-chair.

The Liberals hope to build on their relative popularity despite an initially shaky vaccine rollout and a widening fundraising gap with the Tories, with support particularly strong in vote-rich Ontario, according to recent polls.

A national convention last month marked the largest policy gathering in the party's history, with more than 4,000 faithful in virtual attendance. More than half were first-time attendees, "and that energy has carried strongly into their new involvement as active volunteers," said party spokesman Braeden Caley.

Political telemarketing has also made a comeback, with millions more Canadians at home during the day.

The Liberals' "virtual weekends of action" — the 12th since spring 2020 occurred Saturday — deploy Grit volunteers to phone local residents in more than 200 communities. The calls see canvassers chat up seniors, pitch neighbours and request feedback on policy or involvement in the looming campaign.

Back in her basement, Howard looked past her screens and cords to the tulips and daffodils sprouting in her backyard.

The campaign gizmos may have advanced, she said, but the perennials of politics — connecting with voters, hearing their concerns, revving up the base — remain the same.

How Canadians respond to those entreaties, both newfangled and old-fashioned, will play out at a date yet unknown.

— With files from Stephanie Taylor and Joan Bryden

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2021.

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

NBC whiz Steve Kornacki becomes gambling expert for Preakness: 'Like looking at election returns' .
Kornacki rose to social media fame as the presidential election took days to be called, before appearing on other NBC Sports coverage since then.The task remains mostly the same for NBC’s Steve Kornacki. But a new role will have him spending more time on the network’s marquee sports properties, including Sunday Night Football and Triple Crown horse racing.

usr: 7
This is interesting!