Inside the Local Campaign reveals what goes on in constituency campaigns during a Canadian election. It brings to light the key roles of candidates and their supporters on the ground in ridings across Canada, and demonstrates that local electioneering matters.
For decades, the media has focused primarily on the national campaign and party leaders. The practice of canvassing for votes by candidates and their supporters has been seen as more tradition than science, and constituency campaigns have been viewed as rituals when the party brand is dominated by the leader’s personality. But things have evolved in the age of digital media. Local-level campaigning is more fashionable – and critical for gathering data that can be used post-election. Using the 2021 federal campaign as an anchor, an impressive collection of authors and practitioners discusses local-level campaigning in electoral districts across the country, highlights local trends and on-the-ground roles, and discloses hidden details about how local campaigns are run.
Inside the Local Campaign gives readers the first look at what goes on in elections in an environment where every mistake is magnified and party candidates are key to amplifying national-level messaging.
Academics and students in the fields of political management, Canadian political science, communication studies, or election studies will all have much to glean from this insider’s perspective of Canadian campaign operatives and their roles, as will those working on campaigns and with political candidates.
In an age where democratic processes continue to be vulnerable, ensuring meaningful engagement and participation in our elections is as vital as ever. Inside the Local Campaign provides crucial knowledge to help make sense of how political campaigns work in Canada. The book provides particular insights into the 2021 federal election campaign, which took place in the context of health and economic crises when the need for good public policy solutions could not have been more pressing.
This accessibly written collection takes a deep dive inside the local campaign. Using case studies, it reveals what happens behind the scenes at the local level, offering an important counterbalance to the focus usually given to national campaigns.
Alex Marland is a professor of political science at Memorial University. He is the author of Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control, which won the Donner Prize for best public policy book by a Canadian, and Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada, which was shortlisted for the Writer’s Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.
Thierry Giasson is a professor of political science at Université Laval. He is the director of the Groupe de recherche en communication politique based at Université Laval and an associate member at the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship. He is a past president of the Société québécoise de science politique. He is coeditor, with Alex Marland, of the Communication, Strategy, and Politics series at UBC Press.
Contributors: Kaija Belfry Munroe, Kody Blois, Matthew Bondy, Colette Brin, Thomas Collombat, François Cormier, Erin Crandall, Cristine de Clercy, Brooks DeCillia, Myriam Descarreaux, Anna Lennox Esselment, Holly Ann Garnett, Royce Koop, Mireille Lalancette, J.P. Lewis, Richard Maksymetz, Gillian Maurice, H.D. Munroe, Anthony Ozorai, Vincent Raynauld, Jacob Robbins-Kanter, Anthony Sayers, Tamara Small, Angelia Wagner, Jared Wesley, Paul Wilson, Stéphanie Yates
Introduction: Constituency Campaigning in Canada / Alex Marland
Part 1: Local Contests and Candidates
1 Election Administration / Holly Ann Garnett
2 Motivations for Federal Candidacy / Angelia Wagner
3 Local Nominations / Anna Lennox Esselment and Matthew Bondy
4 Recruitment of Star Candidates / Cristine de Clercy
5 Ministerial Incumbency / J.P. Lewis
6 Personalization of Local Candidates / Mireille Lalancette and Vincent Raynauld, with Anthony Ozorai
Part 2: Campaign Management and Campaigning
7 Regional Campaign Directors / Jared Wesley and Richard Maksymetz
8 Campaign Managers in Constituency Campaigns / Royce Koop and Anthony M. Sayers
9 Local Campaign Workers / Paul Wilson
10 Voter Canvassing / Jacob Robbins-Kanter
11 Local Data-Driven Campaigning / Kaija Belfry Munroe and H.D. Munroe
12 Local Party Fundraising / Erin Crandall, with Kody Blois
Part 3: Local Communications
13 National-Local Messaging / Stéphanie Yates
14 Local News / Colette Brin, with François Cormier and Myriam Descarreaux
15 Local All-Candidates’ Debates and Forums / Brooks DeCillia
16 Campaign Signs / Gillian Maurice and Tamara A. Small
17 Local Advocacy / Thomas Collombat
Conclusion: The Local Is Political ... and (Still Mostly) Traditional / Thierry Giasson
Appendix: Constituency Campaign Photographs
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