(A joint blog by @crontynen and @ppilarski. PP will be in italics.)
I wanted to call this blog we’re back bitches. But Christina thought that that was too aggressive. What can I say … I’m like that!
Don’t get me wrong – you all know I can be aggressive too. I just don’t like to start out on that foot.
You probably haven’t been wondering what we’ve been up to since we often share our adventures online, but we haven’t done a lot of blogging as life simply got in the way. Hopefully you have been following us on Twitter and know that this past year can only be summed up as one wild ride.
Our passions are engagement. So it should be no surprise that we jumped in with both feet to the PC leadership race. That was an extremely wild ride for us. We wanted to support a candidate that clearly exemplified our #changefromwithin mantra. After backing away from one camp we found ourselves drawn to the Redford team.
In politics and in business, highly functioning teams are important. In the new world of social media, 24-hour news and shorter news cycles, a team’s ability to respond quickly and decisively often means the difference between success and failure. You can tell a great leader by the people they surround themselves with and everyone we met on Team Alison Redford was committed, focussed and passionate about the task at hand. I’m often amazed what a relatively small group of people can accomplish with proper leadership and clarity of purpose.
A leader recognizes the capabilities of their volunteers and makes it easy for them to incorporate their skillset into the team’s strategy. Stephen Carter did this for us. We became GOTV Co-Chairs and dug right in. I was drawn to the organization and communication side and Peter took charge of the overall strategy and the “political” side. I loved every minute.
What I enjoyed most about the role I played as GOTV Co-Chair was connecting with so many wonderful people within Alberta’s diverse cultural communities. As an immigrant myself I find interacting with new Canadians satisfying and I have a great deal of respect for their deep appreciation for the democratic process. No complacency, just hard work. Many Canadians have become too damn complacent –I have no time for complainers. The Quebec student riots come to mind. Don’t make me go there.
We were (as per usual) a perfect team. Peter with his eyes on the bird’s eye view while my eyes were on the ground.
We already know how the PC leadership race turned out and we certainly shared our opinions on the leadership race along the way. So then what happened? Well I went back to my day job as Vice President of Merit Contractors Association.
And I thought that I was going back to my day job at CAPP. But a few weeks later I received a call from the PC Party Campaign Manager, Susan Elliott. She needed a deputy; she needed someone to oversee the ground-game and organization of our PC teams across the province. It literally was everything I was passionate about and I was so thankful that CAPP saw that and granted me an unpaid leave of absence. Before I knew it, I was a full time campaigner for the next 6 months.
By January my job as a campaigner was about to begin again. Sandra Jansen decided that she would seek the PC nomination for Calgary-NW and she asked me to manage her campaign. I wasn’t planning to spend the election managing a campaign, but I’m glad I did as I learned a lot and made many great friends along the way. After a hard fought nomination battle we were victorious and off we went to fight battle number 2 – the general election.
Through all this campaigning some of our biggest learning experiences weren’t what we had expected to learn. But that isn’t a bad thing. We learned so much about people, about politics, about strategy and about ourselves.
Next time, next election, next campaign (no matter what it is) we are well equipped and have some incredible mentors willing to hear us out and provide advice. And we are so thankful for that.
We have been busy. And those are just the Coles Notes. Over the course of my next few blogs I’d like to share my stories, what I learned and, of course, who I met along the way. We also want to keep the PC Party accountable on its path to #changefromwithin.
While the PC Party pulled off an impressive electoral victory, we all know it was a hard road. I agree that the election gave Premier Redford the mandate she needs to move forward on an ambitious agenda of transformation, but the tightness of the race at times also signalled a clear warning – change or be changed. I’m confident and excited about the policy changes coming forward from an Alison Redford Government. #Changefromwithin is also needed within the PC Party. To this end, the Party has announced a process for a constitutional update which is critically important. I encourage all my fellow PCs to take the time to provide your input though your local constituency association.
There is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of unanswered questions. When we started into the leadership race things were put on hold. I have questions about the Governance Review, the PC Party Platform Development Steering Committee, a new executive team, a new executive director … frankly, there are going to be a lot of changes amongst all political parties in this province in the next four years.
And we will always have opinions about those changes. You will hear about them on this blog. If you don’t want to hear them, don’t read it! When I first met Christina and knew that we were a great match for each other, we had only one condition – I said “don’t stop me” and Christina asked the same. We ask the same of our readers. We live in a wonderful democracy that is only strengthened when we express our opinions. We look forward to engaging with you all!
Oh and we also got engaged.
I popped the question on May 11 and she said yes.
We are thrilled. I’m over the moon.
So stay tuned – because we’re back baby!
PP and CR