‘Peo­ple like you com­ing to the door’

Metro looks at ex­pe­ri­ences of cam­paign can­vassers

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - NEWS - He­len pike Metro | Calgary

Knock, knock. Who’s there?

Can­di­dates, vol­un­teers and con­stituents are all com­ing to­gether in a charm­ing process called door knock­ing.

This mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion cam­paign has weath­ered many sea­sons lead­ing up to Oct. 16. And dif­fer­ent ward and may­oral can­di­dates have con­tin­u­ously re­turned re­porters’ phone calls with a “sorry I missed your call, I was busy at the doors.”

But what’s it re­ally like to can­vass the city’s com­mu­ni­ties? Metro talked to a cou­ple can­di­dates about their weird, en­dear­ing and fas­ci­nat­ing door knock­ing sto­ries.

For starters, Ward 11 can­di­date Linda John­son has lost 10 pounds, de­spite the freezies and pop­si­cles she shared with com­mu­nity mem­bers on the hot days, or the treats and warmups she took for frigid weather.

“Peo­ple like you com­ing to the door, they’re hes­i­tant at first, but I’m al­ways sur­prised by the peo­ple who say I only have a minute and then 10 min­utes later you’re wish­ing you had more time with them,” said John­son.

Jeff Dav­i­son in Ward 6 said door knock­ing is about putting your­self out there as a can­di­date, mak­ing your­self ac­ces­si­ble and meet­ing peo­ple — but there are some in­ter­est­ing sto­ries be­hind each door.

“I re­mem­ber one guy, he was so thrilled to see me at his door he went in the house ... he brings out his wife and brings out moon­shine,” Dav­i­son said, adding he couldn’t ac­cept the spir­its. “I just started, I can’t have moon­shine at 10 a.m.”

Dav­i­son did go back later to try the moon­shine. He said there were times where peo­ple an­swered doors in tow­els, or un­der­wear.

“Why did you an­swer the door?” he said, adding that some­times peo­ple do want to have a con­ver­sa­tion while stand­ing be­hind a door. “You have this to­tally awk­ward con­ver­sa­tion with, you know, some­body who’s not wear­ing pants, or a shirt.”

John­son said since fil­ing nom­i­na­tion pa­pers she’s ac­tu­ally had peo­ple ap­proach her while she’s been in be­tween houses on the street, ask­ing her ques­tions and telling her about their vis­its to her web­site where they found more in­for­ma­tion.

But what sur­prised her most were the mo­ments con­stituents opened up about their strug­gles.

“I’m a stranger, and they’re will­ing to open up,” said John­son. “It just re­minds me to rep­re­sent all the res­i­dents.”

Dav­i­son said he’s been sur­prised by the level of en­gage­ment by con­stituents he’s met, and the level of pas­sion Cal­gar­i­ans have for their civic elec­tion.

John­son said the only thing she hopes is that read­ers will set aside two to three min­utes with a can­di­date at the door be­cause they’re sin­cere in want­ing to know what’s on con­stituents’ minds, and the odds of find­ing some­one at home are few and far be­tween.

i’m a stranger, and they’re will­ing to open up. it just re­minds me to rep­re­sent all the res­i­dents. Linda John­son, Ward 11 can­di­date

Jennifer friesen/for Metro

calgary elec­tion hope­fuls share some door knock­ing ex­pe­ri­ences from their cam­paigns for the oct. 16 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tion.

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