If you live in BC – or watch the rough-and-tumble sport that is BC politics from anywhere in Canada – Thursday, June 29 was a big day.
After 16 years, BC has a new government led by Premier-designate John Horgan. The new government will be sworn in soon – and will get to work on the myriad problems that Christy Clark’s administration left behind.
But with a conservative government out of office in BC, every progressive movement and cause should be asking itself how it’s going to recalibrate its campaign strategy to get results with a friendly government that has so many issues competing its attention. Here are three recommendations that should make the task easier:
1. Pick one simple, clear ask
Start by choosing a simple, clear ask for your issue – something you can clearly explain to the newly appointed cabinet minister, and to your supporters to get them excited about. If your ask is easy to understand, free of jargon, and backed up by solid research, it makes it easier for a government to act on than a wide-ranging call for action.
Remember: with so many issues now demanding attention, the solutions that are simple, and that anMLA can easily pitch to their cabinet colleagues is more likely to make it to the top of the list.
2. “We love it – now make us do it.”
The reality of the current NDP caucus is it’s a group of 41 amazing progressive activists from labour, the environmental and social justice movements. They believe what we believe, but at the end of the day, they’re politicians who are subject to public pressure.
By moving public opinion in support of your issue through effective communications, and building and mobilizing a community of committed activists in support of your cause, you’ll “make them do it” – put the kind of community pressure on this new government that will make it act.
Just as importantly, it gives your allies in government ammunition to convince their colleagues and other stakeholders that your issues is an important one that British Columbians care about. It also gives them a reason to prioritize it when faced with countless issues and causes.
3. It’s not just about TV ads – it’s about community engagement
Rich coming from an advertising agency, we know. But it’s the truth. Two decades ago, progressive causes could move public opinion with a TV ad alone. Those days are over. Everyone from xxx to AirBNB have recognized the importance of community building, communications designed for mobilizing, and using innovative advocacy tools alongside traditional advertising to build public pressure.Progressive causes have a history of movement building, and a friendly government means it’s time to marry our organizing skills with great communications and modern digital tools.
It’s an exciting time for British Columbia, but things are moving fast.