B.C. Green Party candidate Chris Istace talks to residents while campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)

B.C. Green Party candidate Chris Istace talks to residents while campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)

Campaigning different, but proving productive for candidates

Nanaimo-North Cowichan’s three hopefuls still pounding the pavement and utilizing virtual options

Campaigning is different but proving productive, say the three candidates running in Nanaimo-North Cowichan in the provincial election.

The NDP’s Doug Routley said the campaign is going “really well,” though it’s very different from any other election he has experienced.

“Of course, COVID-19 has changed things, but this is also my first time running for re-election after having served in government, rather than opposition,” said Routley. “In past elections, I promised voters, ‘if you support us this is what we will do.’ This time, I can say ‘this is what we have done, and this is what we will continue to do.’ We have made a lot of progress in three years and the feedback I receive from voters every day in this campaign continues to be positive.”

“Campaigning is going pretty well,” added the B.C. Liberals’ Duck Paterson. “I’ve never done one this big, though. The COVID pandemic has made it very difficult to connect with folks as the campaign made an early decision to not go door knocking, so we’re having to rely on getting our messages out through social media, print media and just getting out where folks are present in small groups.”

The B.C. Green Party’s Chris Istace echoed the sentiments of the other two about campaigning.

“I’m humbled by the outpouring of support I’ve received,” he said. “I appreciate all the conversations I’ve been having with people in our community. Hearing their thoughts and concerns, but also their hopes for the future. It’s energizing and inspiring.”

The candidates are reaching voters both by conventional and unconventional means during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has changed the way we campaign in so many ways, and this affects how we interact with voters,” said Routley. “During a typical campaign I would be door knocking every day and attending community events, but now we are using virtual events, conducting meetings through Zoom and I have been on the phone every day with people. In so many ways it is different, but the main goal is very much the same and that is to reach voters with our message and to hear from them what priorities they want to see addressed.”

“I’ve never done a provincial election before so I’m not familiar with what’s supposed to be normal, but for me the social media emphasis is a bit unconventional. I’m more used to speaking with people one-on-one,” Paterson said, adding that his team has used a truck with large signs attached to try to “raise our profile at the neighbourhood level.”

As far as conventional means, he said the team has been phoning and taking out newspaper ads.

In Istace’s case, he said the Greens are doing a lot of the same things one might expect during a normal campaign but adjusted for a pandemic.

“We don’t have an office, so we’re meeting with all of our volunteers on a regular basis through Zoom. It’s nice to be able to see everyone’s faces and connect that way,” he said.

He has been doing door-knocking in the riding, using walking sticks to rap on doors.

“We are being respectful of everyone’s bubbles. We stay back 20 feet after knocking. Everyone has been welcoming and appreciative of the thoughtfulness we put into our canvassing safety protocols. The walking sticks are a hit with the volunteers, too,” Istace said.

story continues below

It’s a challenge for the candidates to best utilize their time during a quick campaign.

“This is another thing that has changed due to the pandemic, particularly around the large events and meetings,” Routley explained. “Now, instead of travelling from one event or meeting to another, I can go from one to the other in two minutes (through Zoom and phone). In this respect it is easier to manage my time, but one aspect that I am really enjoying is that I have more time for one-on-one calls with voters. All that said, nothing replaces the face-to-face understandings we achieve by meeting people face to face.”

Paterson said his focus right now is on trying to identify supporters and getting out to meet people under the COVID protocols.

“As well, I work on a farm in North Oyster, and the cows don’t care what I’m doing. They want to get fed and we also have to start putting equipment away for the winter so I’m trying to fit all of that in while also doing fundraising for the public washrooms project in downtown Ladysmith. I have a lot on my plate but that’s OK, I’m used to it,” he said.

Istace said the snap election has made for long days, but his team has come together to support him and he’s grateful for the work they’ve been doing.

“I spend my days safely meeting as many people as I can. I meet people on the streets and at the markets in our local communities. I make phone calls and go ‘distanced’ door-knocking. I’m very grateful for the warm welcome I get when I’m out and about,” he said. “Around 6 p.m. every day I do a live campaign update on Facebook. It’s an opportunity to talk about issues, to let people get to know me better and to answer questions. It is great to have so much support and encouragement, and that there’s so much interest in this election.”


BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP and public health inspectors will be out looking for homes and businesses violating provincial health orders Saturday, Oct. 31. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo RCMP hope for Halloween safety and COVID-19 safety this weekend

Police and public health officers will be patrolling for households violating COVID-19 restrictions

The cover photo of an emergency food and nutrition strategy prepared for the City of Nanaimo’s health and housing task force. (Maddy Koch photo/City of Nanaimo)
City of Nanaimo will consider the creation of a food policy council

Working group says new arm’s-length body could help with food security in the region

Clockwise from top left: panelist Jacomien van Tonder, moderator Kerry Slavens and panellists Paul Shorthouse and Ross Blackwell discussed the concepts behind the circular economy during a session at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Wednesday. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Island economic summit panellists discuss sustainability based on ‘doughnut’ model

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance summit panel examines modern production of goods

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Thomas, of Nanaimo, who is accused of throwing a “spear-like object” at a vehicle. (Photo submitted)
Warrant out for Nanaimo man who allegedly threw ‘spear-like object’ at vehicle

Brian Thomas failed to make court appearance, say RCMP

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Nanaimo and Victoria

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Commissioner Austin Cullen looks at documents before opening statements at the Cullen Commission of Inquiry into Money Laundering in British Columbia, in Vancouver on February 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
RCMP lacked dedicated team to investigate illegal activities at casino, inquiry hears

Hearings for the inquiry are set to continue into next week and the inquiry is expected to wrap up next year

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Court approves money for B.C. foster children alleging harm from Kelowna social worker

The maximum combined total award for basic payments and elevated damages for an individual is $250,000

MMFN First Nation has said that it will restrict access to portion of Highway 28 that passes through the Nation’s land until a road use agreement is reached. (Black Press file photo)
Vancouver Island First Nation blocks highway access to logging trucks in Gold River

Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation restricting access for Western Forest Products pending road deal

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never-before-seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Most Read