Organizing for the Next 70 – the first 100 days
February 7th, 2012
Organizing so we can win the next election means getting started now.
Stephen Harper wants to turn Canadians off of politics and suppress participation. I want to turn people on to politics. I want to make people believe again and get involved.
With the elimination of the per vote subsidy, it is vitally important that we invest our time and financial resources to expand our grassroots infrastructure so we can involve more Canadians in our politics.
I'm proposing a strategy to counteract the Tories that relies on building up our grassroots. We need to inspire the “Real Majority” of Canadians to become involved if we are to win the next 70 seats and consolidate our strength in Quebec. That means ensuring that the party has functioning, active riding associations with strong memberships all across the country, and it means partnering with our allies in labour and civil society to create the conditions necessary for victory against Harper.
Why the ‘Next 70’? Because that’s how many seats the NDP will need to form a majority government in 2015.
Following the expected seat redistribution, there will be 338 MPs in the House of Commons. That means 170 seats will be needed to secure a majority. The NDP currently has 101 seats in the House of Commons. An additional 70 seats will results in 171 seats.
All of our energy will be organized around a three-year effort to engage Canadians in the work of forming the next government. In my first 100 days as leader, I will put together a strategic planning team charged with the task of developing the most exciting and dynamic electoral plan this country has seen, one that will engage Canadians in the monumental challenge of electing a progressive federal government.
In my first 100 days as leader I will initiate action on the following:
Set up a commission to organize around ‘Ideas for Progress’ so that we can build upon Jack Layton’s final letter to Canadians and create what Stephen Lewis described as the “manifesto for social democracy”. This commission would include Canadians from different walks of life, including the arts, labour, academia, business, agriculture, environmental organizations, poverty groups, women's rights organizations and others. It would allow greater access and involvement for Canadians in the development of our policies and planning.
Develop regional outreach plans, including a Western Strategy to reach out to new voters in Western Canada.
Create Civil Society Outreach teams, led by MPs, to listen and share views, and coordinate with allies to advance progressive policies and build electoral support for winning the next election.
Hire a youth organizer to work with campus clubs, youth groups and civil society organizations to organize young Canadians on college and university campuses, at high schools, workplaces and communities across the country.
Implement an outreach strategy to New Canadian communities to increase diversity in our party membership and organization.
Set up a fully staffed organizing department out of Federal Office to provide direct support to riding associations, including fundraising, communications and local outreach support.
Create a dedicated Quebec unit to support our new members by expanding organization and fundraising capacity.
Put organizing staff on the ground across Canada to build riding membership, local leadership capacity and assist with the transition to new riding boundaries.
Support the pooling of local riding resources to set up regional phone banks for riding membership and fundraising activities.
Immediately begin organizing schools all across the country to train the many new campaign managers and other campaign organizers we are going to need to run solid on the ground campaigns in by-elections and the next general election. In Quebec alone, we will need 60 trained Campaign Managers and hundreds of trained campaign staff to be successful.
Renew and improve our relationships with the Provincial Sections so we collaborate on organizing and coordinate fundraising plans.
Ensure that all our caucus members have a strong media profile and become well-known not only in their home constituencies, but across the country. Engage our newly elected and diverse group of MPs in outreach activities across Canada. They are proof that we can win where we never had won before, and show that New Democrats have a talented team that is ready to form the next government and Cabinet.
Partner our MPs with non-incumbent ridings to provide mentoring and direct feedback about national issues and communications strategies.