Campaign Update #9
Gary Shaul, Catch 22 Campaign co-ordinator
On behalf of the Catch 22 team, I want to welcome all the new members who have joined in the last few days. We appreciate your patience with the approval process (which is needed to keep spam off of the site). We aim to provide a safe, distraction-free zone to talk politics and plan local activities. So find some new friends and bring a few on board! Join the nearest riding group to you if you haven't already.
So here we are. We know what we want to do. What we need to do. So now what? The plan we propose is not that complicated. If you agree that communicating an effective message to voters in target ridings is the main challenge to defeating Conservative MPs, then read on. If you believe that self-serving blanket calls for support by the opposition parties will lead to vote splitting and the election/re-election of more Cons, you're in the right place and we need you.
Catch 22 morphing into a voter-powered, grassroots-funded "Third Party" campaign
Until now, we have been a cross-country network of individuals. We've met online. We've met in person. We did not fund-raise for the first year as we built our base. We developed our strategy. We've built a voter and riding-focused website.
Now that the election writ has been dropped and the election set for May 2, advertising during the election period is regulated by Elections Canada. If Catch 22 intends to "advertise", which we do, we must register. I have just faxed papers to Elections Canada to register the "Catch 22 Campaign" as a Third Party. The link will tell you just about everything you need to know about Third parties. I'll let you know when our registration has been confirmed by E.C.
Spending limits and disclosure
The spending limits for Third Party advertising are $3,765 per riding up to a total of $188,250. Why regulate advertising spending? Simply put, no one should be able to buy an election. No one should be able to drown out all other voices. Unlike Stephen Harper, we at Catch 22 support advertising spending limits and disclosure. And so, on the first day of the election campaign, I am publicly disclosing that my name will be registered as the person responsible for this Third Party and its finances. Furthermore, I can already disclose that donations to support our campaign have come and will continue to come from generous people like yourselves.
Most of you don't know me personally. I want to express my gratitude for the trust that you've placed in the campaign team - especially by the first 40 donors and 60+ volunteers who've helped out so far. We have no organizational endorsers or funders. We spent less than $2,000 in a 2010 to get to where we are today. We have all volunteered our time and efforts because we believe in what we're doing.
Updated Catch 22 plan to be unveiled this week
The clock is now ticking toward accomplishing our one central goal - defeating as many sitting Conservatives as we can, while we can. The way to do that is by being strategic - by targeting a limited number of ridings where anti-Harper voters can make a difference and by communicating directly to voters in those ridings. They need to know what's at stake and how their vote can be used to make a difference if they want to help Stephen Harper find a new home. At a time when so many feel that their votes are of no value, the Catch 22 campaign offers a formula for success and some hope for the future.
We'll be unveiling details of our campaign plan on Monday evening at our Ottawa campaign launch meeting. In the meantime, you can invite others to check us out. Comment on major news websites with links to our site. The more volunteers we can activate, the more we can accomplish. The more donations we receive, the more voters we can reach. Send us an email to let us know what skills you can offer the campaign to help defeat the Harper Conservatives - one riding at a time. Our challenge is made even more daunting by the opposition leaders who are already proposing one-size-fits-all, vote splitting strategies that just don't work with Canada's voting system. The challenge rests in our hands.
You're welcome. Can't speak for any other groups but Catch 22 would strongly suggest that Fair Vote Canada is the existing multi-partisan umbrella for democrats to work within to pursue proportional representation at the national provincial levels on an ongoing basis. Let's hope that this election helps give them, and the issue, the boost it deserves.