Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Beating The Orange - An All-Round Success

Last night I attended an exciting event. I previewed it here.

In the summer of 2006, I watched all 7 seasons of The West Wing, never having watched it when it originally aired. It grabbed me for the behind-the-scenes look at the White House, but also at political life and all it entails. Since then, I have rewatched the series at least 4 times. The writing is excellent, the storylines gripping and the acting bolsters the compelling characters created for the show.

I wasn't even interested in politics when I first watched that show, but when I revisited it, I had already begun my journey into understanding that world, and was further educated as to the inner workings of political life.

It isn't that I hadn't believed I could be personally involved in a political world; it's that I didn't know I would.

I have already discussed my heretofore limited experience with political events. Before last night, I'd had the pleasure of attended Valérie's launch party in November, and an energizing meeting just a few weeks ago. Both events inspired me beyond anything I'd imagined when thinking about politics.

But Tuesday, February 10, was an event of a different sort. And I must say it was a smashing success.

I arrived early, and, already tasked with live-tweeting the event, I set to getting a feel for the area. It took place at a brasserie in the neighborhood, and a section at the back had been dedicated space for our evening.

As attendees began to arrive, I felt very much like a hostess, and had been embraced by the campaign as part of the team. I've learned that when you are devoted to something, that energy becomes contagious. In this case, it has been mutual; I have been energized by the campaign, and have given that back. In turn, I have been welcomed as a team member and continue to cycle that enthusiasm back.

Last night, I met with others who have been inspired to support Valérie's campaign. I also met with people who had heard about her, or had been recruited to come, and who all began to exhibit the same facial expression I know I've worn: deep interest, a growing excitement and that sense of empowerment you feel when you know that something you're doing can - and will - make a difference.

I was able to speak with many different people, and what was even more heartening was that there were guests who didn't even live in the district Valérie represents, but who were there because they believe in the values she stands for, the voice she has, and the quickly snowballing effects she is having on the electorate.

It's at this time I should tell you all a little about Valérie and why I admire her; I'd outlined, in my last entry, the roles she plays in her life and how strong she is. But one thing I failed to mention, something that shows how one voice can make a difference, is how she became the candidate for our riding (for my non-Canadian friends, a "riding" is a district).

The last time there was a Conservative MP in our riding was the popular Gerry Weiner, who left office in 1993. That's 21 years ago. Along came Valérie, who saw a hole in the district and made the decision to become the candidate and run for office. She's taken the district by storm. And to me, someone who sees a need and takes it upon herself to fulfill that need is definitely someone I want speaking for my district in Ottawa.

That's the kind of go-getter Valérie is. When she spoke yesterday evening, it was a quick speech - it wasn't an official campaign event, so she spoke to her game plan instead of to the issues. That's okay, though, because I was looking around the room. I saw people who were with her, on every level. I saw people who were listening and nodding and erupting in applause when she promised to be a strong voice (her campaign slogan) and to listen to us.

Even more heartening was the response to the deserving praise she heaped upon our Prime Minister; Stephen Harper is doing a fantastic job for Canada, and the rousing cheers when she talked about him renewed my pride in my country and our leader.

Tuesday evening was my first foray into political events as an active, committed member of the team. And like I told a couple of conversants tonight: I truly did hit the jackpot for my first time out. The team "behind the scenes" is so dynamic, so goal-oriented and so focused, it's hard not to pick up on that electricity. But from the candidate herself, to her family, and her team, everyone is so likeable and so easy to work with, it inspires me to do more.

Which - as they know - I will. They can count on me to do what I can in order to continue to appeal to supporters and get the message out. I truly understand what it's like to be a member of a campaign now, and I have to say - The West Wing made it look fun. Valérie 2015 is the real thing and it is fun.

What I'd like from my readers is this: consider your life, and consider your view on politics. I welcome a dialogue with any of you who feel it isn't your "thing", or has let you down in the past. This time, it's different. We live in a world filled with complexities. We aren't going to solve every problem all at once, but from what I have seen, and what I know now, Valérie is committed to helping DDO-Pierrefonds on this level, and in the future, contributing to our government's effective running of our country. I believe she's headed for big things in the very near future, and I don't say that lightly. For those of you who know me, I don't trust easily, and I don't support every person who knocks on my door. I do trust Valérie and I trust in her.

I'd love to talk with my friends in the area, because you're the ones who can cast your vote in October and you're the ones who can say you got on board from the beginning. Give me the chance to introduce you to a woman who will stand up and fight for the things we all value. And in the end, isn't that what we're all looking to achieve?

Postscript: Following the event, the Habs beat the Flyers; being the superstitious soul I am, I would say that's a very good sign for the campaign.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Beat The Orange - A Must-Attend Evening

**While only those in our riding can vote for Valérie, this event, open to all, can help open anyone's eyes about the values of the CPC; we in DDO-Pierrefonds are the lucky ones to be able to vote Valérie Assouline in (and proud to do so).

What comes to mind when a Canadian, in an election year, hears "Beat the Orange"? For most of us, that would mean beating the NDP, whose signature color is orange.

Well, on February 10th, it will mean that; in part, anyway. Because on February 10th, Valérie Assouline, Conservative Party candidate for the DDO-Pierrefonds riding, hosts a 5-7pm evening to casually meet with voters in a get-to-know-the-candidate event (at Les 3 Brasseurs on Brunswick Blvd).

However, the second part of that evening, at 7pm, will unfold as the Montreal Canadiens take on the Philadelphia Flyers - whose signature color (yes, that's right) is orange.

The slogan is just one of the campaign's brilliant marketing strategies to engage voters who might otherwise avoid anything political. Pulling in the political atmosphere with our beloved Habs in a double-entendre is sure to catch the attention of smart, informed voters who enjoy the play on words that clever campaigns employ. I'm one of those.

I'm also a staunch supporter of Valérie and the Conservatives. My political views have been honed over the past 2 or 3 years, and as I've become more informed, more committed and more aware than ever that my vote counts (as EVERY vote counts), I have seen a pronounced converging of my personal values with those of the CPC.

So, what is it that Valérie can offer?

First, a strong female presence in office, a woman who not only practices law, and follows a rigorous campaign schedule, but who is the dedicated mother of four young (and gorgeous, I might add) children, a devoted wife, and a proud Canadian.

DDO has not had a Conservative MP in many years. Gerry Weiner was our last one, and he is a mentor Valérie has drawn from; his speech at her launch party was inspirational. That evening was my first true political event, and my first time hearing Valérie speak publically; I was swept up in the excitement, and fired up to get involved. She's that powerful a voice.

Having only 3 real choices in my riding in past elections, I've had to go with Liberal, to preserve Quebec's presence in Canada. But as I've embraced my conservative side more and more, I've lamented the lack of a CPC presence in the province and in my riding. Valérie is changing that.

Valérie offers what the Tories do: less government. More economic growth. Family values that speak to every family's needs of raising kids, maintaining income, and living well.

But you know what? I'm not going to speak for Valérie. She's more than capable of speaking for herself, and she is offering you the opportunity to listen on the 10th of February.

So, why not join us? Coming to the evening, even if it's for 30 minutes, or an hour, is your chance to listen. Are you a Liberal Party supporter? NDP loyal? I urge you to give Valérie a chance. Listen to her. The 10th is NOT about campaigning. It's not about party. It's about the woman who can represent DDO in Ottawa come this fall, the woman who just wants to help her constituents, her province, her country. And trust me, when she speaks, she'll get, and hold your attention.

I've learned something, in my political awakening. I've learned to listen to the issues, not be swayed or turned off by Party. I see too many people instantly tune out when they hear the word "Conservative". I candidly admit, the old me used to do the same. But the reason so many people stay away from "politics" is because the word is so vague and - to some - intimidating or off-putting. As I stated here, politics embody the down-to-earth, personal issues that affect us all.

But when you dig deep, you find issues that speak to you. And in politics, you don't have to dig too deep - you just have to listen. Try and find something that matters to you, and do a comparison between what each party is offering. Time and time again, the Tories will offer you more autonomy and isn't that what we all want? Do we WANT to live in the Liberal world of Big Government, where they think they know what's best for our money? Do you enjoy being controlled by your government?

I don't.

But I want more. I want to be involved in helping to change this province, and keep our country strong. That's why I volunteered to be on Valérie's team, and am not only deeply honored to help play a role, but am profoundly, personally invested in making her election a reality.

So here's my proposition: follow the information here, and come by on Tuesday night. You don't have to stay for the game, if you don't want to (but what better way to celebrate our amazing Habs than to cheer along with dozens of other fans at the top of our lungs?).

But give Valérie this opportunity to allow you to get acquainted; with her, with her commitment. When she says "A Strong Voice" she means it. She is dynamic, articulate, and when she speaks, you can feel her integrity. It's a casual evening, you'll get a free drink, and snacks, and the chance to mingle with people who might just help you decide what role you'd like to play from this point forward. People who - led by Valérie Assouline - might just energize you to follow a new path.

Come get to know her. Coming to this evening isn't a huge commitment on your part, and who knows? You might just start to get as excited about the political climate as I am. No one is going to sit you down for 2 hours and make long speeches. It's a meet-and-greet. And then, when she's making waves in Ottawa to help us improve our way of life, you can say, "I knew her when..."

Future blog entries will deal with the choices we have, as Canadians, this October. And yes, I will strongly state my position as to why Stephen Harper is the best choice for our country (don't take my word for it - Canadians feel the same way). For now, I'm inviting you to join us on Tuesday.

Be the change you want to see in the world: Gandhi got it right. It starts with us. We have the ability to hire Valérie to do the job she wants to do for us in Ottawa, as our representative. Come by on Tuesday night - I'd love to see you there.