Quiet but hard working
Today, Ken Gray of the Ottawa Citizen blogs about local Conservative candidates skipping debates, The Case Of The Missing Tories. He cites MP Cheryl Gallant (Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke), MP Royal Galipeau (Ottawa-Orleans) and candidate Elie Salibi (Ottawa South) as Conservatives who have decided not to participate in local debates. According to Salibi who was asked about this at yesterday’s Editorial Board meeting for Ottawa South candidates, his answer was clear. He would rather go door knocking that put aside the time to prepare and attend a debate. Those hours are better spent knocking on doors and meeting voters.
Salibi is right. Unlike leaders’ debates that get national press coverage, riding debates garner very low turnout and very little press coverage. None of the city wide publications cover them and the weekly’s come out far too long after the debates happen to make a difference. In the time a debate takes a campaign team to prepare, it is much more advantageous for the candidate to be out conferring one-on-one, winning one vote at a time.
This point cannot be lost on the Ottawa Citizen itself. It is now broadcasting live on their website their editorial board interviews. The high for the viewer counter of Ottawa South editorial board session yesterday peaked at 21. Salibi and the other candidates could have met with more voters than that in the hour they spent at the Citizen.