Toronto – August 25, 2016 – Over the years UFCW Canada has trained hundreds of activists to work on election campaigns. Election campaigns can be gruelling work with long work days (12 to 14 hours a day, 7 days a week), unhealthy diets, and high emotions. But one key thing UFCW Canada campaign workers have learned over the many years they been working on campaigns (both winning and losing) is that how you treat people – whether they are campaign staff, candidates and perhaps most importantly volunteers – is what makes a gruelling campaign a successful and awarding experience. Treating everyone with respect is the key. No yelling and screaming, no belittling. Listen to what people have to say, don’t be patronizing, do not tolerate sexism or homophobia, no throwing shoes. As managers, lead by example.
So it is disturbing to hear reports about a recent campaign training session for young party activists put on by the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Over 100 youth members paid $300-400 to attend the training. According to reports, the Ontario Conservative party received 40 complaints from participants and parents. According to the complainants, the tenor of the training was abusive and many of the trainees were shocked at how they were treated. Youth members were not allowed food or water in the seminar room – including a diabetic participant who experienced severe discomfort.
One official conducting the training actually threw a shoe and yelled sexist remarks at a young women participant.
Things were so bad that the PC party had to issue an apology. PC party leader Patrick Brown’s spokesperson said the alleged misbehaviour was unacceptable and that the party was launching an investigation – even though Brown had spoken at the training and had tweeted out a ringing endorsement of the event.
UFCW Canada election campaign training is very different with the key being how we treat each other during the campaigns and how we respect everyone. And if you want to get the most out of campaign staff and volunteers during an election campaign, don’t throw anything at them.