Canvassing like a pro - Basics of door knocking


Canvassing is an important part of campaigning - whether it is campaigning during an election on behalf of a candidate or anytime on behalf of an issue.

Canvassing is some of the most important and meaningful work you can do. There is nothing more powerful than neighbours talking to neighbours about an issue they are passionate about.

It is important to keep track of how your canvassing is going. Ideally take notes as you go along for later entry into GVote. This will also be very important information for the next election when you are looking for supporters or places to put lawn signs. It will also allow us to track how the support for proportional representation is growing across the country. Email support@greenparty.ca or call 1-866-868-3447 for more help.

Go on your own, with a friend, or gather a group to make an afternoon of it. Once you get going, it’s fun!

Remember, be friendly and polite. Offer the information but don’t feel you need to be an expert. Refer people to the Green Party website for more information.

Mail completed petitions to the Green Party of Canada - the address is on each sheet.

Leafleting:

You can also reach potential supporters by leafleting - this is especially effective if your neighbourhood doesn’t lend itself to going door-to-door.  

Leafleting is also effective in busy, public places (e.g., bus or subway stations, street corners).

The goals of leafleting are:

  • To get a rack card or other literature into someone's hand

  • Offer them an opportunity to chat or ask a question

  • Leave a positive impression of the GPC and PR

Tips:

  • Pick a spot with ample space where you will be easily seen. Smile, make eye contact, and ask direct questions to better engage with passers-by. Examples:

    • “Do you think the last federal election was unfair?”

    • “Did you know our current voting system doesn’t work?”

    • “Would you like to see more accountable government in Canada?”

  • Pair up new volunteers with an experienced leafleter.

  • Be unfailingly polite. Always be friendly. You may find some people stop to talk with you who disagree with PR. Remember, their opinion is valid for them at this point in time, and that must be respected. The last thing you want to do is engage in an argument - bad experiences are easier to recall than good ones and if the conversation becomes argumentative, the person may resist considering PR in the future.

  • Don’t spend too much time with people who want to debate. You might miss chances to talk to more receptive people.

More tips:

  1. Appeal to people’s idea of what democracy should be – PR is about ensuring every vote is counted equally. It is about ensuring that every Canadian can directly impact the election result, and therefore the formation of our government.

  2. Consistent and confident messaging – Stick to the core message that PR will create a more fair, balanced, accountable, and representative government.

  3. Remind the public that PR is a tested system – Many of the most prosperous and stable democracies in the world use PR (Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, etc.). That has to be reinforced constantly.

  4. Don’t get caught in the weeds – Electoral reform is a complex issue.  You do not need to be an expert.  You just need to communicate that you believe a proportional system is what is best for democracy.  Let the legislators figure out the exact details of what that looks like. Stick to values: fairness, representation, equality.

Have fun and remember, we are here to help, listen, encourage - drop us a line anytime!