We had a post rally debriefing meeting last night. We put together the following statement for our Facebook supporters:
Our rally outside Mr. Harper’s office this past Saturday was a solid success. Over 350 people attended (based on the 357 signatures on our petition as well as the estimates of the police and news crews!) and we had solid coverage from 3 English television networks, one Chinese network and a wide variety of local papers. The tone of the gathering was polite and positive, attendance exceeded our expectations despite the weather, and we are very happy with how everything turned out. Thank you to everyone who took some time out of their day to come out and make their opinion known!
Here is a link to a video of the event,
plus a link to the delivery of the signatures today,
The steering committee had a debrief meeting on Wednesday to discuss lessons learned and the possibility of future events, and we agreed that much remains to be done. We don’t want this issue to fade or to get lost in partisan posturing! As a result we will begin working on events dedicated toward increasing civic engagement and educating people about our system, as well as a second rally to be held close to the actual sitting of Parliament in March. The fact that concern over the erosion of our representative institutions got over 350 Calgarians out in the January cold seems to us to indicate that there is work to be done before the next election!
I thought the debriefing meeting was a little intense as everyone shared their thoughts about the things that worked well and the things we could have done a better job on. There were a lot of things we could have done better. Generally, I think every one felt the rally was a great success. We got a turn out of about 350 people. That may not seem like a lot, but consider that it was -10c with blowing snow, and we were in the most conservative federal riding in all of Canada.
I thought the Calgary media was really good to us in terms of coverage and reporting the event fairly. I really didn't know what to expect from the media. The 3 or 4 Calgary Police Officers assigned to the event were really nice to us even though we spilled out onto the road due to a lack of room on the sidewalk.
We feel we picked the right location in front of Stephen Harper's constituency office. I had some off and on worries that the location might not work.
Another thing that totally impressed me was the attitude of the crowd and the atmosphere. Everyone was really happy and friendly. Everyone I talked to agreed that it was a fun atmosphere.
While it would not be fair for me to divulge specific comments of other committee members, I can tell you the list of "learn from" issues that I brought to the discussion:
- Not enough time to recruit volunteers. Five people did all the work, and among us the work wasn't really distributed properly.
- Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and Blogs has mixed results for generating interest. This may have been due to the compressed delivery time, or we just may not have been messaging properly.
- I thought people with key tasks should have some redundancy or backup in case they couldn't deliver their responsibility for some reason.
- If we had more time we could have identified people's skills and interests more and mapped tasks a bit better.
- There was no real project time line to see where we were in the planning. Again, due to compressed time frame.
- Our petition should have gone out much earlier.
- We should have had some type of hand-out at the event. (There were about 4-5 other groups that showed up and handed out their stuff.)
- I would have liked to live blog the event, or video stream it. We didn't have the time or resources
All of our self-criticisms seems to come out of not having enough time and people. Nonetheless I am personally very happy with the way the event turned out. And I also am in awe of my fellow committee members for their smarts, determination, and passion.
We now look forward to planning another event that we hope will be even more successful. Stay tuned. Please recommend this post