having worked on Greg Byrne's campaign (he was the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party Candidate in the Federal District of St.John's South Mount Pearl in the 2008 Federal Election) as Campaign Manager and Official Agent, I find myself sympathizing with Ryan Cleary's statements that working on a campaign that can one of the most difficult, yet rewarding jobs/tasks someone can take on. (Of course, social workers, nurses, manual labour jobs,etc... definitely match, if not outstripe the amount of work, time, and energy, compared to campaigning... But ya, it would make for an interesting case to make).
As you may be aware, the 2008 Federal Election Results in the Federal District of SJS-MP (as MP-elect Siobhan Coady likes to call the district of St.John's South-Mount Pearl likes to call it) are as follows (Source: Introductory page of http://www.votecoady.ca)
Liberals [Siobhan Coady]: 14,930 votes
NDP [Ryan Cleary]: 13,883 votes
Conservatives [Merv Wiseman]: 4,324 votes
Greens [Ted Warren]: 643 votes
NLF (Newfoundland and Labrador First) Party [Greg Byrne]: 485 votes
Independent [Terry Butler]: 179 votes
Either way, I must say that the quality and credentials of all 6 candidates who run in this riding were stellar. With the exception of the Independent Candidate Terry Butler, I got to speak to each of the candidate in this riding at least once in person. This mostly occured at venues such as the NDP Town Hall on September 15th 2008, and CFS-NL (Canadian Federation of Students- Newfoundland and Labrador) Candidates Debate (October 9th 2008).
That being said, I found Ryan Cleary's Campaign Blog ( http://www.ryanclearyndp.ca/blog/ ) to be quite remarkable. Below, you can find the comments I posted on his blog entry titled "51st State" (Posted October 1st,2008---> I'll verify that)
" Hello Mr.Cleary,
all I can say is Wow! Glad to see that more prospective politicians are using use of blogs. I believe Garth Turner, former Conservative-turned Independent-turned Liberal MP has one at http://www.garth.ca
As a Social Work Student in my 3rd year out of a 5-year Bachelor of Social Work program, i'm glad to see a politician who's using a blog to not only campaign for change, but to educate the public about the massive inequalities that exist within our society.
From my conversation with you after the NDP Town Hall on roughly September 15th,2008, before, and just after the CFS-NL (Canadian Federation of Students- Newfoundland and Labrador) debate, I can see that you're a "Fighting Newfoundlander [and Labradorian]". I must say, the fact you were able to come within 950 votes of becoming the NDP MP for St.John's South-Mount Pearl is rather remarkable.
This is especially so, considering the fact that this is Siobhan Coady's 3rd-time running. So ya, here's to hoping that she takes note of the observations you've made on your blog, in the debates, and through the campaign lecture. Even though I ended up working on Greg Byrne's Newfoundland and Labrador First Party MP candidacy, I must say that I saw yourself and Siobhan as being the main contenders.
That being said, other candidates such as Mr.Wiseman, Mr.Warren, and Mr.Butler did raise important issues on the campaign trail. I'm sure all the candidates running in this district did so, because they have a vision of how they'd like to see politics change. I remember Mr.Wiseman telling me how difficult it is for local farmers and fishermen to make a living, given the fact that 90% of the food consumed in this province is imported. (A great portion of which is done through Marine Atlantic).
He told me that more money needs to be spent on developing sustainable fisheries and agriculture. I also spoke with Mr.Warren after the CFS-NL Debate, and he told me how shocked people were that he campaigned on a bicycle. I had mentioned the shock Greg said he saw in people's faces when he campaigned on a Metrobus Route or two that passes through the riding! The issue of social, economic, and environmental sustainability is key, and groups like FEAST (Food Education and Security St.John's) could tell you all about that.
Either way, here's to hoping you decide to maintain a blog, even after the Election Campaign is over! Also, best of luck on any future career you pursue, be it in politics, journalism, or otherwise.
Another memorable moment in the campaign was when I was out one Sunday dropping off Greg Byrne (NL First Party) brochures in every 3rd mailbox or so from Hopeall Street, down part of Canada Drive, on Markland Street, and part of Frecker Drive, was this:
While I was doing so, I noticed two Siobhan Coady canvassers just across the road. Not thinking too much of it at first, I went on with the campaigning. However at one point, I decided to cross the road, in order to put a brochure in the sme mailbox two of Ms.Coady's campaign workers had just visited. About a minute ago, I walked over to introduce myself as they were exiting the ladder-like front porch (no joke, the porch was 3-4 feet off the ground, connected to the sidewalk by a 10-15 foot ladder-like wooden plank bridge with guard rails).
The dialogue went something like this:
' Myself (Jordan Lester): "Hi, how's the campaign going?"
[Siobhan Coady]Campaign worker(s): "Oh hi.... (confused look)So who's campaign are you working on?"
Myself:"I'm actually working on the campaign for the Newfoundland and Labrador First Party candidate in this riding."
[Siobhan Coady]Campaign worker(s): And who would that be?
Myself: That would be Greg Byrne.... i'm actualy his campaign manager
SCCW's: Ah, so you must be doing what we're doing...... going door-to-door [on his behalf], that is]
Myself: Ya, I must say, it's not every election that have you 6 candidates running in a riding. It certainly makes things more interesting (they nod in agreement)
SCCW's: (look of surprise) Would you mind if you give me a copy of one of his brochures? (I give him one) Because honestly, i've never seen one of his brochures before. This will help give me an idea of what he stands for, as his brochure is the only one [running in this district] that we don't have.
Myself: Sure thing, I mean it's only fair that you know what he's running on. After all, things such as this help keep politicians and prospective politicians honest.... Would you mind if I exchange this [NL First Party] brochure for a Siobhan Coady one? Although i've seen some of her brochures before, it'd be nice to see if she's added any new details in her new ones....
SCCW's: Either way, we need to get back to campaigning....
Myself: Same here...
SCCW's: It was nice talking with you, and seeing Greg's Brochure. Either way, good luck on the campaign
Myself: The Same to you....
When time permits, i'll have more to write about the 2008 Federal Election in general, but these were the SJS-MP (St.John's South-Mount Pearl) highlights!