Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Planes, Trains, and Campaigns

Elizabeth May has been doing a cross-country train trip this week to drum up Green Party support in small towns. Being a sap for retro-campaigning, I've got to say I really like this idea - especially for a party trying to grab headlines and a leader trying to position herself as being different than other politicians.

This is something that I even think one of the major parties should look into for future elections as a way to kick off the first week or close out the campaign. Logistically, they'd need to script things a bit tighter than the Green whistle stop tour which has a certain ad hoc feel to it. But it would be a great way to get some media attention and position yourself as being "in touch with average Canadians" as you blitz through small town Tim Hortons from coast to coast.

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18 Comments:

  • Definitely -- this is the first impressive move she's made as Green Party leader, imo.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 7:09 PM  

  • I don't know, as Obama proved in his campaign, using technology to your advantage is much better then scaling back your campaign to the days when windmills were really in. just sayin

    By Blogger nbt, at 7:17 PM  

  • Jasper doesn't have a Tim Hortons and she stopped there. Actually that may be why she stopped there. The crowd at the Bearpaw Bakery is probably more likely to vote Green than your average Tims.

    By Blogger Marc, at 7:20 PM  

  • This poses a problem:

    If we have Sweater-Vest Jet, Profess-Air, and... uh.. whatever the NDP plane is nicknamed, what nickname do we give the Green Party's campaign train?

    By Blogger Mike514, at 7:30 PM  

  • Although, stopping in S'toon at midnight for 45 minutes probably wasn't the wisest move.

    By Blogger lance, at 9:11 PM  

  • To address the various "but they stopped at midnight in Saskatoon" and "ad-hoc" comments:

    The Green campaign train is merely a car on the only passenger train schedule that goes across Canada. Those unbelievably terrible scheduling choices? Via Rail made those. The Greens are very lucky that this train, so far, hasn't had any massive scheduling fuckups, because that's de rigeur, on Via. Hopefully this will -- besides being a cool retro campaign move -- wake some people up to the fact that we could use some real train funding in this country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:20 PM  

  • I agree, anonymous. I'd almost use "shocking" to describe Canada's train service - what happened?

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 9:44 PM  

  • Hmm...yes, clearly the train needs a name. And something more clever than locomaytive or Green Express.

    Ideas?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:49 PM  

  • Can you charter a train?

    That would be super cool. (And make for better scheduling.)

    By Blogger WJM, at 11:00 PM  

  • "I'd almost use "shocking" to describe Canada's train service - what happened?"

    Economics. It costs $150 to return from Ottawa to Toronto on Greyhound and $250 to take the train. It's even cheaper to fly return on Porter Air then to take the train. You can do it for as low as $200 if you book far enough in advance. Why would anyone take the train when it's the most expensive?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:16 AM  

  • "Train in Vain"?

    Given their scheduling and drug policy, "Midnight Express"?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:38 AM  

  • Talk about grassroots! :)

    By Anonymous eh, at 12:50 AM  

  • "... as being different than other ..."

    ... I'm sure you meant to write "different from", didn't you?

    By Blogger david watts, at 7:55 AM  

  • Yes, but I'm always confused why the train is so much more - maybe there's a reason that I just don't know much about, but I don't see why the train can't be more competitive.

    By Anonymous jason bo green, at 9:12 AM  

  • The passenger train service in this country has been cut waaaay back after the era of 'air' set in.

    While there is some vestige of commuter/passenger train business in Eastern Canada, the West's has evaporated except for small hobby lines and the sadly scheduled transmountain routes.

    I was astounded that the Greens would take the train just *because* the service has been so gutted I wasn't sure you could do cross-country anymore and if you could, it would be in the dead of night. A bus convoy makes more logistical sense than a train these days.

    If the energy crisis is some miraculous turnaround in rail service in this country, I'd be ecstatic. It isn't rolling us back to the stone-age. It's just putting us on the ground where we SEE the country we're travelling through, a country that was tied together by rail in the first place. Call me a retro-techie, but Europe has trains to everywhere. If this country doesn't have enough internal traffic to afford air routes anymore, perhaps we should look at rail travel again.

    That is of course if the routes are maintained at a level where there won't be constant derailments and/or delays. That always sucketh.

    By Blogger Niles, at 1:07 PM  

  • Good Point Dan, I think that the Grits may use it next election as a cost saving measure. Now if we could just get Dion to start using Morse Code to communicate the Green Shift we would really be on to something.....

    GPOitHotW

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:40 PM  

  • To anon@12:16: if you book far enough in advance on Via, you'll see a return trip between Ottawa and Toronto goes for $149.10. Your quote for $247.80 is for later-booking fares.

    And for that price you're traveling to downtown without having to check in an hour or more in advance, and with all the comfort the train brings. Personally, I like being able to stretch, get up and walk around, having food served to me at my seat, being able to use my phone, laptop, read, or just stare out the window.

    Still, for logistical reasons I'm surprised the Greens prefer the train over a charter bus.

    By Blogger paul.obeda@, at 4:18 PM  

  • Or the... Vain-Train

    As for retro CG, how about Dion trading in the gas guzzling jet for a gas guzzling RV and sending him on backroads to stop at whichever Timmy's he wishes? Staying away from the media for weeks at a time worked for Ralph.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:28 PM  

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