Municipal Elections: Join the Conversation Now!

Although the municipal election campaign officially begins only at the end of September, political organizations are already at work drafting programs, issuing platforms, training candidates and building networks of contacts. This is when candidates and parties form their opinions on the issues that may become campaign themes.

Make sure you show up, take part in the conversation and position yourself while the teams are in the field in “active listening” mode, meeting with the population, groups and influencers.

An electoral campaign (even more so a pre-campaign) is the ideal opportunity to position oneself on economic, cultural, urban and environmental scenes, and to exchange with all the candidates, who are always happy to meet you and show that they are listening. You can get much more out of them now than the day after the election, when everyone will be gathered on their doorstep.

Prepare yourself, be methodic (and do not hesitate to consult experts)

Where to start? Do you have to reach out to all candidates or only a few? Is it important to talk to all the parties? What are the legislative limits on discussions with candidates? Do you have to register to meet candidates or only elected officials? How can we mobilize our allies to promote their point of view? How can we convince parties to formally commit to a project?

If your objective is to start a debate, bring forward a neglected project or propose new ways of doing things, time is already running out. The initiatives that will be at the forefront of electoral campaigns are currently being planned or discussed within the various groups and stakeholders. These initiatives can come from a single individual, a promoter or an organization, and they can snowball at any time.

A citizen could request the opening of a dog park far from homes to preserve quiet in a neighbourhood. A concert promoter could seek the support of candidates to have an area rezoned to build higher in a mixed-use zone. An environmental group could mobilize to preserve green space targeted by real estate development. All the stakeholders in a particular area will seek attention and intentions—and, if possible, formal commitments—from candidates. The media adds to this whirlwind with increased attention to the municipal scene, fueled by all the stakeholders, which can further influence opinions and heighten pressure on certain projects.

Identify the issues that concern you, determine your added value in the debate, seek expertise to support your point of view, and invite your allies to participate. And if you’re not sure how to go about it, call on professionals (like us ;-).

In short, an election campaign is a seduction strategy that should be taken seriously. It is a unique moment when everyone is called upon to help develop electoral platforms, candidate commitments and even public opinion. Many projects have found a second life during an election campaign. It’s all a question of expediency and timing. Winston Churchill once said: “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” All this to say, an election campaign needs preparing, before, during and after election day!

How about you? What issue will you focus on during the campaign?

Do you have questions about ways to take part in the conversation ahead of the municipal elections? Contact Hugo Morissette.