Ontario election 2014: Home stretch strategy varies by candidate

The campaign toolkit has pretty well been emptied by voting week, candidates say, with no new strategies saved for the last few days.

Not much, if anything, left in campaign toolkit by voting week

Ottawa-Orleans PC candidate Andrew Lister, left, speaks at a rally with leader Tim Hudak on Monday, June 9, 2014. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

The sleeves of individual candidates and their teams are pretty well empty of tricks in these, the last few days of the 2014 Ontario election campaign.

While parties as a whole try to see how strategic voting and new allegations stick with the electorate, Ottawa-area candidates CBC News spoke to are focusing on the simpler things as they try to firm up support and get ready for June 12.

"The most important thing you save for the last week of the campaign is as much energy as you can because everything comes down to Thursday," said Ottawa South Liberal candidate John Fraser on Monday.

"I try to get about seven to eight hours of sleep [a night]."

Fraser said he and his team have set aside more time to wave to passing motorists at busy roadways in this last week, and that it's one of the few changes he's making to his routine.

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry NDP candidate Elaine MacDonald said a difference for her this week is that time used to prepare for all-candidates debates and other mid-campaign events can be used for going door-to-door.

"It takes a lot of preparation to be on top of all the files, so now in the weeks that we have when we don't have to be doing homework and going to all-candidates meetings, we're knocking on as many doors as we can," she said.

"We're coming out into some of the towns that quite often, sadly, we just pass through rather than stop in… I think a lot of people never get asked for their vote, they never get visited." 

Some take all-campaign approach

Ottawa-Orleans PC candidate Andrew Lister hosted leader Tim Hudak for a rally Monday, a visit that rarely hurts a campaign.

Despite that, and radio ads he's been able to run for just over a week thanks to extra money from donors, he said there wasn't any specific focus on the final week.

Instead, he points to a continuation of work that started not too long after he finished second to the Liberals in the 2011 provincial election.

"I've been luckier than most I was re-nominated two years ago so since then I've been canvassing regularly," he said after the rally."As soon as the election was called we went into overdrive and frankly we haven't stopped since."

Ottawa South Liberal candidate John Fraser said his party's event at CHEO just after Hudak's Monday rally is an example of candidates being willing to change plans fairly last-minute. (CBC)
Fraser, who said he's been involved in around 25 campaigns as a volunteer, staffer and now candidate, said it's important to be flexible during the entire race.

"You have a plan for every day of the campaign and you adapt that plan on a weekly basis and sometimes daily," he said.

"You have to adapt to circumstance, you have to adapt to what your opponents are doing, you have to adapt to what people want to talk to you about."

Each candidate said the most important part of this week is preparing for and getting supporters to the polls on June 12.

About the Author

Andrew Foote

CBC Reporter

Andrew Foote has been with the CBC since February 2013 after graduating from Carleton University. He can be reached at andrew.foote@cbc.ca or @amkfoote on Twitter.