It's been a pretty hectic week, so I apologize for not getting a more elaborate update up sooner. But, late is better than never, I always say. That, and blogging less than you planned is the blogspot way.
So, a summarry of sorts:
Last sunday, Ryan, his PM tour people, and I drove from Saskatoon to Regina. It was actually a really nice day, in the negative teens for temperature, but clear skies and lots of sun. Because of the vagaries of our trip west, it was also the first time I got to see the prairies during the day. I get the sense that the flat gives Ryan the same sense of home that the Atlantic Ocean gets me. I actually think that the flat is quite beautiful, in an odd sort of way. There is something that is really neat about the lack of anything on the horizon, and the huge skies are really a site to see.
But enough romanticism. The railroad runs along much of the highway, and so grain elevators dot the path. I didn't actually get to see any trains, nor was there any wheat, it being November, after all, so I feel like I didn't get the real Saskatchewan experience. We passed by Saskatchewan's excuse for a ski hill, which is literally just a pile of garbage covered in dirt. It looks sort of like a pimple on the horizon, and I got the distinct sense that Ryan was actually kind of embarrassed to describe it as a ski hill. I feel less bad about Martock now.
We stopped for gas in Davidson, which is in the riding where I am working. It has a gas station and an elevator, as well as the lonliest looking A&W in the world.
Since sunday, I've mostly been focusing on getting things going in the Riding I am working. Joel, with whom I am staying, and I are working full-time on the campaign, in addition to a campaign manager that works in the law office upstairs, and (obviously) the candidate. We are coordinating much of the logistical and organizational side of things, coordinating volunteers, mailouts, signs, and all the rest. The week was spent getting all of these things going, and all the pieces are now more or less in place.
Having the pieces in place is one step, the next is actually doing it. Today we set up a 56 day calendar, with genuine 3m Post-it notes representing everything we need to do between now and January 23rd. And this is just the stuff that we could think of today. Needless to say, it seems pretty daunting.
Some other bits and pieces:
Mid week we went to the opening of John William's campaign office. It was really good. John spoke well, and CPAC was there to document the whole process, including some really good shots of the four local candidates. I got to meet a lot of the people that are running the other Regina campaigns, and some that are working on ours. There was also free campaign pizza, and free food is always good food.
I knew that Co-ops were big in the prairies, but I never really got the sense of how big. There's Co-op taxis, Co-op Gas, Co-op Grocery and hardware stores, and I'm pretty sure that I saw a co-op strip club. There is a co-op grocery store in the mall across the road from the campaign office, and while the prices seem to be less expensive than at home, I factor that being because I am at the edge of Regina, not in the heart of Centretown. Apparently they keep track of what you spend, and when you turn 69 you start getting payments representing some fraction of what you had spent. It seems almost like a loyalty program, a la HBC rewards, except that there is a good chance you will actually accumulate enough to get something back before you die. Joel says that there isn't really any cost advantage to shopping there, but its more of a “Western Canada thing”. I should keep a track of when that is used as an explanation for something that doesn't seem to otherwise make sense.
I jaywalk across the road to get to the grocery store, hopping when traffic permits to the median, and then to the other side. I'm used to this in Ottawa, where it is a contact sport of sorts. In Regina, it seems, that drivers actually will stop for you as you break the law, actually giving you funny looks when you don't immediately dart across. I don't mind the deference, but shouldn't get used to it less I become another statistic at the Bronson entrance to Carleton.
It seems that everytown has its own quirky little local food institutions. Regina's seems to be a place called Nicky's, where I went for a breakfast meeting with the other Campaigns on friday. Unlike the Elgin Street Diner in Ottawa, which most of the time seems too cool for its own good, Nicky's is much more lowkey. The food was good and fast, and the owner came right out to cut a cinnamon bun for someone at the counter. It's going to places like these that makes visiting other cities really fun, and it's frustrating to think that because they are tough to discover without knowing locals, people default to the national chains that they are familiar with. To be fair, I am guilty of this.
I'm flying back into Ottawa on the evening of the 24th, though won't be arriving until after midnigt. I'm in town until the 3rd of January, so will be looking for something to do over New Years.
This week is going to be pretty hectic, but hectic usually means fun in campaigning. I'll post more as I can.