Janet and I started volunteering for a candidate for the federal election in 2002. Going to college for office administration we thought it would be good experience. Plus we found it all very interesting. It was pretty tedious we stuffed envelopes, made phone calls and stuck pins in the map to show the areas where they had canvassed. It takes a lot of money to run a campaign and they couldn’t do it without volunteers. We heard a lot of interesting stories.
In 2005 we helped with the campaign again only this was a different candidate. A really nice guy and a friend of ours was working on his campaign. He was running against a longtime liberal member and honestly it wasn’t likely he would win. This time Janet and I worked up to answering phones. The first day Janet asked what do we tell the “ranters?” At first he didn’t know what she meant and then he said OH THE RANTERS…Send them to Mazillis office. Nobody liked him. The honest answer is you take their name and number and their concern and the person running would phone them back. Some people have too much time on their hands. One person was so into their rant that they filled up the message and forgot to leave their number. One of the other campaign managers told her “don’t worry people like that ALWAYS phone back”
Janet and I got really good at putting signs together too. More signs going out meant more people voting for our guy.
Often the candidates wife would come in and she would call the incumbent Miss Sue. One night we went to a meet and greet with the candidates. We were told we could go but don’t let on we work for Al. There were a couple of guys in another riding that we asked questions of but all they did was bash the other opponent. The type of individual that as soon as we shock their hand we felt like we had to go and wash ours!
My friends have heard me tell the story that Janet and I got to hold the sign when the future PM came into the building. He and his wife walked down the hall into the conference hall. We stood side by side and he looked at me and then looked at Janet. A great memory. I even got interviewed for the news. Everybody else ran away. Our candidate asked me weren’t you nervous but honestly I didn’t think about it.
Janet was in the paper too. Ok HER ARM. Nobody believed her but we knew it was her.
I also have to mention that we got to meet Jim Prentice at a town hall meeting. He had a lot of idiosyncrasies when he talked. He took off his glasses and put the edge in his mouth. He had terrible trouble keeping his pants up. Mom leaned over and told us somebody should go across to the mall and get that man a belt. I asked a question. Afterwards we went up to speak to him and we told him we watch question period with our Dad. On purpose? Then he asked if our member ever did a statement by member and Janet said I think once but many years ago.
He recently died in a plane crash and it made me remember how kind he was. I got lovely cards from a few of the people that worked on the campaign with us when Janet died. I even got a card from the Prime Minister.
I have good memories of our time volunteering.