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Slide 1 Running a Federal Election Campaign

Slide 2 Objectives

  • Give you an understanding of what the high level strategy could look like on a campaign
  • Help you start to realize the kinds of skills and resources involved in running a campaign

Slide 3 Agenda

  • Timeline
  • Party candidacy VS independent candidacy
  • Party nominations
  • General election campaign strategy
    • Organizing: the three games
    • Resources: money & volunteers
  • Building a campaign team

Slide 4 You probably have already reached a few check-points on your path to running an election campaign:

  1. You've already decided to run or work on a campaign
  2. You know what you stand for and "why" you're running, or why you're supporting a particular candidate's campaign
  3. You don't have experience around electoral campaigns
  4. That you (or your candidate) are already the ideal candidate

Slide 5 Candidacy Timeline

Announce your intent to run

(Secure party endorsement)

Writ drop (official campaign launch)

Register as a candidate

Election day

Slide 6 Candidates

Party Candidate

Slide 7 Video

Elections Canada - Launching your Bid for Parliament

Link to the video: Launching your Bid for Parliament

Slide 8 General Elections 1997-2015

Elected independent candidates


Elected party candidates

2 167

Slide 9 Independent Candidates

  • Not affiliated with any political party
  • Build a campaign team from scratch
  • Identify where you stand on various issues
  • Secure the necessary resources and expertise

Slide 10 Party Candidates

  • Group of people who share a common vision about how the country should be governed
  • You become the local representative for your party's vision

Slide 11 Party Candidates (continued)

During an election, the party's candidates share:

  • Resources
  • A platform
  • A national brand
  • The goal of uniting behind the campaign for its leader to become the Prime Minister

When you run for a party, you'll have the party's support.

Most parties also expect you to ask your own networks for donations, volunteer support and voter support.

Slide 12

To become a candidate in the general election, candidates must:

  • Complete the process outlined by Elections Canada to register as a candidate
  • Secure enough signatures from Canadian citizens that are 18 years or older in their electoral district
  • Secure the endorsement of that political party (if you want to be a candidate for a political party)

Slide 13 Party Nominations

1. Connect with a party

2. Get vetted

3. Secure nomination

Slide 14 Party Nominations

1. Connect with a party

2. Get vetted

3. Secure nomination

Slide 15 Party Nominations

1. Connect with a party

2. Get vetted

3. Secure nomination

Slide 16 Party Nominations

1. Connect with a party

2. Get vetted

3. Secure nomination

Slide 17 Next Steps

Pre-election period

  • Build your team
  • Connect with voters
  • Prepare for upcoming elections

Election period

  • Register as a candidate with your local Elections Canada returning officer

Slide 18 The Three Games

Name Game – Persuasion Game – Ground Game

Slide 19 The Name Game

? Do voters know your name?

? If you are a party candidate, do people know enough to match your name with the name of your party?

? If you're an independent candidate, do voters think "Ah, the independent candidate!" when they hear your name?

People who don't know your name probably won't vote for you.

Slide 20 The Persuasion Game

? Does what happens in the press make voters more or less likely to vote for you? This is also known as the air game.

? When you meet voters and pitch your campaign, are they supportive?

? When asked by pollsters, are voters expressing the intention to support you?

Voters who don't know what you (and your party) are about won't vote for you.

Slide 21 The Ground Game

? Will you pull more of your supporters out to vote than your opponents?

You can't win an election if your supporters don't vote (for you).

Slide 22 Campaign Resources

  • Financial resources
  • Human resources (volunteers)

Slide 23 Party Support & Personal Appeals

Slide 24 Party Support

Know what you can expect and ask of the party you run with.

  • Local party
  • National party

Slide 25 Personal Appeals

Be prepared to lean on your network.

Test your assumptions.

Slide 26 Team, Skills & Functions of a Campaign

Key skill areas

Campaign management


Identifying voters



Slide 27 Campaign Management

3 roles



Campaign Manager


Official Agent

Slide 28 Campaign Management

Candidate Campaign Manager Official Agent
  • Meeting voters to earn their support
  • Running the campaign effectively
  • Oversight and support
  • Team building
  • Strategy and goal setting
  • Liaise with candidate
  • Appoint an official agent
  • Administration of the campaign financial transactions
  • Reporting

Slide 29 Campaign Management

Module 1:

Journey to Running in a Federal Election

Slide 30 Sign Team

Responsible for ensuring signs are placed on supporters lawns, in allowable public spaces, and for repairing signs when they get damaged or vandalized.

Slide 31 Campaign Communications

New Media Traditional Media
  • Social media
  • Digital advertising
  • Videos
  • Direct-mail
  • TV, radio, newspapers
  • Speech, debate, interviews

Slide 32 Canvass Team



High priority

Keep records


Persuade voters

Slide 33 Data Management

  • To organize and store information collected: voters, donor, volunteer management, relationship management
  • Requires: human and technical resources (people & software)
  • Some parties have software (examples: Nationalbuilder, Blue State Digital, NGPVan

Slide 34 GOVT Team (Get Out to Vote)

Collecting "vote pledges"


Helping voters develop their "voting plan"

Bringing supporters to the polls


Reminding supporters to vote

Slide 35 Other Roles

Office Manager

Event Organizer

Scrutineers and Observers

Slide 36 Summary

  • Running in a federal election is challenging and rewarding
  • It takes a committed team
  • Remember the three games
  • Elections Canada has resources to support your participation in the process

Slide 37 Questions?