A true rite of passage when covering an election is going along with a candidate to "doorknock".
It really does take a lot of guts for a candidate to allow a reporter tag along with them and have a television camera shoot and record their conversation with the person lucky enough to answer the door.
It's expected that a candidate will openly welcome the reporter to see how well they are being received, or, if they are really bold, let them see what voters actually think about a range of issues. If a candidate doesn't automatically rearrange their day to fit you in, it raises questions about the vitality of their campaign.
I called around to a few PC campaigns to see who I could meet up with.
Bob Maskell in Edmonton-Meadowlark answered the phone at his campaign office. We had a nice chat, but Bob was going to be out looking for campaign contributions, so he'd gladly go out with me some other time.
My next call was to PC candidate (and former cabinet minister) Gene Zwozdesky. Gene has never met a camera he didn't like, and will almost do the Hopak to get to a live television truck.
An out-of-breath Zwozdesky took my call and apologized up and down for not being able to meet up with me that afternoon. He was frantically re-writing a brochure, and running it to the printer. (I believed him).
Finally, I reached David Dorward, who is running for the PCs in Edmonton-Goldbar. Dorward — no stranger to political campaigns — ran unsuccessfully in Goldbar in the last election. He came second in the race for mayor in the last municipal election.
Dorward eagerly met me and my cameraman near Ottewell School. We trekked up and down the streets, looking for folks to answer the door.
Dorward gave his best pitch. At one house, a woman listened politely and responded with a definitive, thanks, but NO thanks. On he went.
You never really know what will happen at the door. Such as the case when I met up with Wildrose candidate Linda Carlson.
The Wildrose don't have a big presence in Goldbar, but Carlson is hoping to capitalize on the popularity of leader Danielle Smith.
Carlson was joined by a volunteer and her sister from Calgary. The team was ready for anything — or so they thought. Linda strapped on the mic and headed off to door #1.
Remember, it's 3:30 in the afternoon in the middle of the week.
Carlson rings the bell and is greeted by a man wearing a housecoat and slippers who smirks when Carlson starts to talk.
He nods his head and says in no uncertain terms, "Ya, I've heard of her, and I'm not interested in the Wildrose. I'm a PC guy." "Okay," Carlson says. "If I may ask, um, what is it about the PC party that draws you in?"
The man looks her up and down and replies: "Your leader's got a big mouth, so, simple as that."
Carlson says thanks and almost runs off his doorstep. She is horrified, but not deterred.
On to the next door, where she gets a much warmer response on a cold day.
And me? I get a good laugh, fodder for a blog, and yet another reason to go out door-knocking with a candidate. I do live for moments like that during a campaign.