Even though the tone on Parliament Hill has cooled since summer, the Ottawa Centre candidates are nevertheless making sure to be ready — just in case.
“We could still be into an election in a few weeks’ time, so you have to be prepped for that,” says newly-minted Liberal candidate Scott Bradley.
Bradley won the nomination on Sep 9 against Telus executive Janet Yale.
“It’s just preparing for the need, if we have to go quickly that we’re ready to go — which we are — but certainly recognising that we might be six months away from an election at a minimum,” Bradley says.
Of the four major parties running in the riding, three now have candidates in place — incumbent Paul Dewar of the New Democrats, Bradley of the Liberals, and Jen Hunter of the Green Party.
As of yet, the Conservative Party has not yet finalised a date for their nomination vote.
“The national party hasn’t given us a date yet,” says Charlyne McNeil, chair of the riding’s candidate selection committee. “We’re not the only riding. There are other ridings in Ottawa that are in the same boat.”
McNeil says that until they have a date set, they will continue to actively search for candidates.
“We still have three or four candidates that have expressed very serious interest and have requested nomination papers, but I haven’t received anything back,” McNeil says. “In my mind, until I receive nomination papers, we’re continuing to search. And until we have a date, we’re to continue searching.”
Paul Dewar says that while his focus is on getting results from the Parliament, he is nevertheless ready to go.
“We have a campaign team that’s always ready to go,” Dewar says. “They’ve met just in case we end up in an election.”
While Green candidate Jen Hunter echoes Dewar’s sentiments about not wanting to go to an election just yet, her party’s election team has been meeting in order to prepare.
“We’ve also had some campaign strategy sessions,” says Green Party riding president Kevin O’Donnell. “We had two sessions at the Clocktower Pub, which were drop-in nights for the core team. Some people are returning, and also some new volunteers that have been, over the past six months, submitting themselves to say they want to get involved.
“We’re much more grassroots than I think most of the parties in terms of how things get done locally.”
O’Donnell adds that they have been refurbishing their website and scouting potential office space.
“As far as actually signing leases and stuff, we can’t actually do that until the writ drops,” O’Donnell says. “You can’t incur expenses. That’s where the incumbent has the advantage, because they have an office.”
Bradley has also been keeping an eye out for potential office space.
“One of the things that happens after you win a nomination is you can’t walk around the riding or drive around without saying, ‘Oh, that would be a good place,'” Bradley says. “Again obviously, you run with a plan A and a plan B — plan A being we could go in two weeks, and you see spaces right now that you might think might make for a great campaign office. But you also have to recognise in the Plan B scenario that the place might not be available six months down the road.”