Ms Soapbox Throws Her Hat In The Ring

Ms Soapbox would like to make an announcement: She’s seeking the Liberal nomination in the provincial riding of Calgary Elbow. Calgary Elbow was left MLA-less when former premier Alison Redford resigned her seat on Aug 6, 2014…although it would be fair to say it has been unrepresented for quite some time now.

Are you nuts?

Most of Ms Soapbox’s friends and family support her political aspirations; however a few are afraid she’s lost her mind. (Her father suggested she take up golf).  

Ms Soapbox’s hat (sort of)

So why plunge into politics now? And why pick the Liberals?

After years of grousing about politics, blogging about politics and inundating provincial and federal political representatives with thoughtful letters expressing dismay and profound disappointment over the general state of affairs in Alberta and Canada, the penny dropped. The only people the governing party pays the slightest bit of attention to (other than big business) are the politicians who cause a ruckus from the opposition benches.

The seed was planted. Events transpired, Alison Redford resigned and voilaan open riding.

Liberals?

Ms Soapbox is friends with politicians of all political stripes. After researching their policies and engaging them in spirited discussions, it became clear that the Liberal party best reflected Ms Soapbox’s values. She was delighted to discover that a number of Albertans felt the same way.

Getting ready

It’s easy to be a lawyer. You figure out what you want to do, make sure it fits within the applicable legislation and case law and you’re off and running towards your objective…and chances are you’ll attain it.

Politics is different. It’s fluid. It’s murky. It’s full of political operatives practiced in the dark arts. What you know to be true on Monday turns into a baseless rumour by Friday. A neophyte needs all the help she can get before she sets off into uncharted waters.

So Ms Soapbox sought out a creative, enthusiastic and ethical core team, starting with Mr Soapbox. We agreed, if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right.  

Next up, winning the nomination. This entails asking people in the riding to sign your nomination form. The process is going well notwithstanding Ms Soapbox’s encounters with ferocious dogs and spooky cats lurking in supporters’ houses and a near death experience on Elbow Drive in the pouring rain at rush hour. Why the City can’t repair this road once and for all is beyond me.

Door knocking is an eye opening experience. The simple question: “do you have any issues or concerns about your government” unleashes a torrent of frustration.

PC Party Leadership Candidates

People are tired of a government that doesn’t understand the distinction between partisan politics and government business. They are fed up with inaccessible healthcare, crumbling infrastructure, a shortage of public schools and the lack of predictable funding for post secondary education. They want a government that can think strategically about the future and politicians who are prepared to create an energy strategy that lasts longer than one election cycle. A diversified economy wouldn’t hurt either.

Substantive issues matter.

The whiz kids are on board. They understand the magic of social media and simply “make it so”. Websites, Facebook, Twitter, you name it, we’ve got it.

The printed material is ready to go. More photos are on the way although I suspect the shot of Ms Soapbox about to be blown into a ravine won’t make it on to the webpage.

Ms Soapbox completed her first TV interview and is learning the value of the sound bite…and it ain’t easy, she’s a lawyer remember.        

Our volunteers are “with us”. Apparently there’s an art to asking for volunteers—“join us” sounds like a cult, “join with us” sounds like a church and “help us” sounds like a charity.

What’s next

The Soapbox will continue as a progressive blog space inviting readers to discuss issues of common concern. Future posts will include a review of the Cambie Clinic litigation which threatens the ongoing viability of public healthcare in Canada, why P3s are not all they’re cracked up to be and why Frank McKenna, former premier of New Brunswick and now senior executive at TD Bank thinks the lack of upgrading capability in Canada is “value destruction on a scale never witnessed before in this country”.

Readers who would like to learn more about Susan Wright the aspiring politician are invited to check out http://www.wright4elbow.ca/

Ms Soapbox (and Susan Wright) would love to hear from you.

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44 Responses to Ms Soapbox Throws Her Hat In The Ring

  1. Liane Sharkey says:

    Been waiting patiently for a while for this news! The Wright way indeed! You would have my vote for certain if I lived in your riding, er, province, even. Congratulations, Susan!! I know you will do well!

    • Thank you Liane! The response “on the doors” (as they say) indicates that the riding is ready for a change…and contrary to what some people may think most Albertans don’t want to see us tilt further to the right.

  2. Yes! Congratulations Susan, they couldn’t have anyone better!

  3. Caroline Yull says:

    From way up in Canmore, this is indeed good news! Our wonderful candidate, Marlo Reynolds, will take up most of my time, but I’m sure we’ll end up at some of your events, too. Go for it like you’ve never gone for anything before! 😉

    • Caroline, thank you. You have an outstanding candidate in Marlo Reynolds! He brings a balanced perspective to energy and the environment and is well versed on the broader issues of concern to Canadians. All of us will be well served when he becomes an MP! Looking forward to catching up with you.

  4. Einar Davison says:

    Hi Susan,
    I just want to wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of Calgary Elbow. I have enjoyed your blog for sometime right now and feel you really care about Albertan’s.above party politics so I hope the better angels win one for a change.
    Cheers!
    Einar

    • Thank you Einar. You said it very well. Politicians need to put the interests of Albertans above party politics. A party that’s been in power for 43 years can’t help but get cross threaded between doing what is best for all Albertans and taking care of those who will ensure them stay in power for another four years.

  5. Claudette says:

    Bravo for taking this courageous and honourable step forward. I have enjoyed your blog which inspires hope for a democratic and just society. Best of luck.
    Claudette

    • Thank you Claudette. If I’m successful (and I have a wonderful team working hard to “make it so”) I’ll have an opportunity to express these views in the Legislature as well as on the Soapbox. Should be interesting given how receptive the PC government is to input from the opposition!

  6. anonymous says:

    Ms. Soapbox will actually stand on an actual soapbox? That’s good news. I would pray for you if I believed in that b**t. But I will direct the good vibrations from the geostationary satellites that I have launched into earth orbit over the past thirty years towards you (just kidding). Best of luck.

  7. Carlos Beca says:

    Hi Susan
    I had no idea that you were this close to go for it. I am thrilled and amazed that you take up the Liberal banner in a city like Calgary. I hope that once you become an MLA that you do not let that Legislature ebola virus get in your system. I will be here making sure I will remind you when I see something weird 🙂
    I could not be happier, I wish you the best. I will visit the Legislature to see you get your MLA job and invite you for lunch. I hate the door to door visits, not just because of the dogs and cats, but once you work here I will be happy to help despite the fact that I am not big on Liberals, they have been in bed with big business as much as our wonderful PCs.
    Congratulations. I would like to see Mr. Soapbox face these days!! Amazed? Surprised? Disappointed? Happy? Cannot Believe he is in battle? 🙂

    • Thank you Carlos! I would be delighted if you came to the Legislature to see me sworn in (or whatever it is that they do on the BIG day). Then I could take you to lunch in the Leg cafeteria, wouldn’t that be cool.
      I definitely want you to continue to let me know if I’m off doing something weird. And as I said, the Soapbox will continue so there will be plenty of opportunity for us to discuss the issues.
      About Mr Soapbox…you nailed it with your very last comment—he “cannot believe he is in battle”. Nevertheless he’s pitching in all over the place. Today we had 11 doorknockers and data people converge on the house. He sailed through the day without batting an eyelash (unlike the dog who collapsed in a heap between the front door and the kitchen/command centre). 🙂

  8. Susan, I’m so glad to hear that you’re going into politics. I received great advice from a fellow years ago, he said either stop complaining about something and figure out how you can deal with it, or change the situation. Other words, stop complaining or be proactive. I love that you’re being proactive. I wish you were running in BC. Your face and your attitude is refreshing. You’re not the same old politician trying to pull another fast one. You represent change and as a voter, I take notice. Way to go. I wish you the best of luck and much success.

    Your father suggested you take up golf…Hmmm. ..I’ve played golf, I’m on the fence as to which one is harder: golf or politics…or, are they similar? A golf game can turn on you, even if you think you hit that golf ball the same as you always do…and sand traps…There are definite similarities. Cheers.

    • Thanks for the support Champs…I smiled at your comment about golf. I had golf lessons when I was 13 so I could play with my father but in the end we were both happier with me being his caddy. Then when I started work I participated in the typical summer round of Texas Scramble and other goofy golf games. It was excruciating. So I’m with you, golf is worse than politics! (Brace yourself…here come the golfers to set us straight!)

      • GoinFawr says:

        First the came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out,
        Because lefty don’t golf.
        Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out,
        Because they lower the tone at the clubhouse.
        Then they came for the Liberals, and I did not speak out,
        Because once a Liberal shot 3 under par, and I was 2 over.
        Then they came for me,
        While I was enjoying a pleasant 18 holes by myself.
        -No reason

      • Jane Walker says:

        …. too many lone golfers out there in Alberta. Go find ’em, Susan!!

      • GoinFawr and Jane…thank you for the witty comments. I need people like you writing my 10 word slam dunk responses to the impertinent media! Just kidding. The media (bless their hearts) deserve complete answers just as much as the public does.

  9. Julie Ali says:

    Hi Susan,

    I am absolutely thrilled you are entering politics.

    I think you will be so WRIGHT for political work since you have a good grasp of so many issues that are pretty much ignored in Alberta.

    The transition from the soapbox of the blog to the soapbox of the legislature will be interesting to watch. You have a lot of guts. Not only in terms of meeting with grumpy voters at the door but also those lurking ghostly cats and go for the jugular dogs (I went with Dave Colburn in the last municipal election where he tried to get a councillor job —-and I know about attack animals).
    It takes so much effort on the part of the candidate to get known and trusted.
    After the quality candidate it depends on the candidate’s team.
    I think we were an inexperienced team and this is why we didn’t reach the voters we needed to reach in Dave’s campaign. Also, the incumbent councillor usually wins (name recognition factor).

    Have you looked at the way Mr. Iveson got elected as mayor? He was the underdog but he got volunteers to the door who talked up his vision and he won. This is so important. I think volunteers are key. Mr. Iveson even got my older son and his teenage friends to help him with the brochure distribution in our neighborhood. Teenagers at high schools are so useful. If you have enough of them you can deploy them to speak about your take on politics and public service. This way you are able to reach more people. The personal contact at the door is so important. Even if the contact is through a volunteer who speaks about your platform and vision.

    Here is a bit from Mr. Iveson’s campaign work. I think he won because he got the volunteers he needed to win. And the money. Good luck!

    http://doniveson.ca/2013-campaign/
    2013 CAMPAIGN
    Entries relating to Don Iveson’s 2013 campaign for Edmonton’s mayor.

    IVESON’S INDEX
    posted October 28th, 2013 in 2013 Campaign, 2013-2017 Term
    It takes a lot of time and dedication from volunteers (and financial support from donors) to win a campaign. Members of my team took a look at some of the numbers and compiled them for you here. These stats are be no means the only ones, but they’re the ones the team and I felt were the most relevant or interesting, presented in the style of the Harper’s Index.

    Don_signage

    900+: total number of volunteers who lent a hand
    3,125: number of small election signs deployed on private property
    0: number of small election signs deployed on public property
    215: number of large election signs deployed on private property
    0: number of large election signs deployed on public property
    460,000: number of flyers printed and distributed
    10,000: number of buttons distributed
    44,000: number of doors knocked
    10: number of events hosted by the campaign
    100+: number of events attended by the candidate
    4,500: estimated accumulated sleep deficit of core campaign team, in hours
    3,750: estimated litres of coffee consumed at the campaign office
    1,500: estimated kilograms of food consumed at the campaign office
    243: number of stories written about Don, according to Google Trends
    50: minimum number of hours of strategy meetings
    306,297: number of toonies required to fund a campaign, rounded
    10,000+: number of phone calls made
    3: minimum number of animals available for pet therapy
    4: number of custom software applications/websites utilized

    619,138: total number of eligible voters (estimated)
    213,585: ballots cast, unofficial
    132,162: number of votes earned, unofficial
    34.5%: voter turnout, unofficial
    1: number of Edmonton election records broken, for number of votes earned

    • Julie, thank you for the support and the terrific information on Don Iveson. It sounds like Don did the same thing as our Mayor Nenshi the first time around. Naheed did an amazing job of connecting with people, particularly young people who liked what they saw and created a buzz on social media and with their friends. Soon their parents were wondering about “this Nenshi guy.”

      Your point about volunteers is bang on. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the people who’ve come to me out of the blue because their friends support me.

      The fund raising aspect is critical but we’re on our way.

      This is going to be a very interesting race. Our door knocking experience demonstrates that Albertans are well and truly done, fed up, had it, and want a change (particularly in Calgary Elbow which was represented by none other than Alison Redford), it is my fervent wish that I’ll be instrumental in making that change happen for them and all Albertans.
      .

  10. Richard Powell says:

    I hope you win; it would be nice to have a sane politician in the legislature!

  11. Jane Walker says:

    Susan, you have (once again) my utmost admiration! Elbow will be so lucky to have you and I KNOW that you will find the constituents ready to respond to your genuineness and your informed enthusiasm for the issues so important to Albertans and their grandchildren’s children!! I am so very anxious to hear of the issues of importance to your constituents … and what a liberal advocate will do to address these challenges.
    I’ve been a Liberal in Alberta for forty-five years (I was a precocious child! lol) and have seen some wonderful Liberals come and go. I believe that this is the time that countless Albertans will finally realize that they are truly liberal at heart! From what I’ve seen of you (how I wish you were my neighbour!) ….. I am thrilled for all of us! Good luck to you and thank you!!

    • Jane, what we’re hearing on the doors is what Albertans have been saying for months now…they want transparency and integrity in government, access to healthcare and good seniors care, public education that is truly “public” and not subsidized by parents because the government doesn’t provide predictable, stable funding, etc.
      Interestingly we’ve also heard the comment that last time the voters were stampeded into voting for the PCs out of a fear of the Wildrose; but they’re not going to make the same mistake twice.
      PS You must have been the youngest Liberal in history if you were a card carrying Liberal 45 years ago!

  12. Elaine Fleming says:

    The best of luck, Susan, holding the nomination, and then with the upcoming provincial election! It is so good to see a candidate with your intelligence, values and honesty seek a seat in the legislature to represent their constituents. (And, all of us, really.) You have many fans in Edmonton and we will be following your campaign closely, and with what support we can offer. Rock on!

  13. GoinFawr says:

    Well well well. Impressive. You’ve talked the talk Ms.Soapbox; time to walk the walk! You certainly have the minerals, no doubt, and the reason. I hope Calgary’s Elbow appreciates the opportunity that you represent. Best wishes!

    • GoinFawr, I’ve met so many people in Calgary Elbow whose eyes light up when we start talking about the need for better balance in this province. For too long the government tilted in favour of industry at the expense of everything else. Ralph Klein put us on the banana peel and we’ve been sliding downhill ever since.
      We all want that to change. I’ll be doing everything in my power to “make it so”. (I must say I love that Star Trek line).

      • GoinFawr says:

        At the risk of mixing metaphors:
        May the Force of Lester B. Pearson be with you (conscience by T Douglas™)

  14. Mike Priaro says:

    Congratulations, Susan, but I am not surprised!

    I do hope you win the nomination because you will make a fine candidate and an even better MLA.

    Though my provincial riding is Calgary-Fish Creek, if I can help in any small way, let me know as I am with you. But it does sound like you have all your ducks in a row.

    Mike Priaro

    • Mike, thank you for your kind offer of support. I really appreciate it. The guidance you, Fred and Joe have given me on energy matters is absolutely invaluable. It will come as no surprise to you that it has significantly influenced my thought on energy.

  15. F McDougall says:

    Way to go Susan. I admire all of those that are prepared to put it on the line in an election-it takes courage-as well as a lot of hard work. You will make a great MLA-you actually listen and work to fully understand issues and problems-something almost no one in the PC government has done for many years. I wish you every success in this great new endeavor. Best regards. Fred.

  16. Thank you Fred. The amazing thing about this experience is that I’m meeting wonderful, caring and intelligent Albertans (like you Mike and Joe) who want the best for our province. Alberta has tremendous potential but it’s been squandered by PC governments who’ve drifted well away from the fundamental principles set out by Peter Lougheed. It’s time to set things right again…one step at a time.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      You got that right Ms Soapbox. A lot of work ahead of us that is for sure. I am tired of people telling me that it is hard and blah blah blah… well like you said – one step at a time. Stop the entitlements and this complex of superiority towards other citizens first of all. Then just apply the existing law to everyone the same way instead of allowing crooks like Alison Redford getting away with murder. This will take any province a long way right off the bat. What is so hard about that? Lack of will? Lack of interest? Lack of motivation? I would really like to know because none of the candidates displays that lack of anything when they are trying to get to the perch. They all know everything and they all promise to clean up the government and they all love us so profoundly that makes me cry sometimes.
      We need much better democratic processes rather than a stagnated and stale Legislature that is not even respected by the premiers. Klein use to openly talk against being in the Legislature and more than once made it clear that as far as he was concerned it was a waste of time. Well no wonder we are going nowhere. He was one of the biggest abusers of our planes. Alison and company were just doing more of the same. The problem for them is that the political environment in Alberta is changing and people are finally waking up from a 43 year coma including the auditor general that was supposed to have written a report in favor or neutral on everything just like before.

  17. Liz says:

    I was absolutely thrilled to hear you are seeking the Liberal nomination in Calgary Elbow….wow!!! Lots of luck to you and I wish you every success in your endeavours. The many preceding comments capture my sentiments too!

  18. David Grant says:

    It is good that Susan did something constructive here. Most people in this city and in this province, complain, complain and compalin about what is wrong with their city and province and do nothing about it. I am not a Liberal myself, but I would have voted for her if I lived in her riding. I am considering doing this in Calgary Confederation, the new riding I am apart, and consider electing Matt Grant for the Liberal candidacy. While I have been disappointed in the lack of policy from the federal Liberals, they have the best chance of reducing the Conservative majority.

  19. F McDougall says:

    If this scenario plays out and persists through the winter months, we are in for higher oil prices next year (April 2016).

  20. Eeerie …. thanks for the response!! “They” have us monitored …. doo doo doo do! lol

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