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#SKVotes is now #SKVoted

Time to update your 2011 Saskatchewan election hashtags: #skvotes is now #skvoted.  And honestly?  I feel pretty good about my results this year.  Every election I’ve ran in has given me something new to be proud of.

In my first national campaign my message resonated with youth, and I came in second place (by a small margin) in the mock youth vote done throughout Canada’s high schools.  I also heard from a number of individuals who chose to vote for the very first time in order to vote for me.

In the provincial by-election I accomplished something no other Provincial Green had ever done before.  I actually won a poll (in a landslide I might add).  And in a very strong NDP riding too.

This last election saw me running in my home riding – which was pretty amazing.  And as before, I encouraged people to vote who had never done so in the past.  I also stuck to my campaign messaging (equality and anti-bullying) in spite of a narrow focus on corporate politics by the media.  But here’s the big one:  I came in third, beating out the Liberal candidate.  And I have to say, it feels pretty good not being last.  😉

Saskatchewan isn’t ready for a Green MLA yet, an I knew that going into this election.  But I’m in this for the long haul…  slow and steady and all that.  And when ya’ll are ready, I’ll be here then too.  We need an alternative voice in the Legislature, that much is clear.  And I’m ready to be that voice, when you’re ready to have me.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan fielded candidates in every riding, 43% of which were women.  I’d say it’s high time the other parties took note.  They may preach gender equality, but they hardly practice it.

For those of you who enjoy a look at hard numbers, here are a few for you:

Party Candidate % of votes Votes
SP Parent, Roger 53.9 3,767
NDP Quennell, Frank 42.0 2,934
GRN Smith, Tobi-Dawne 2.3 159
LIB Jeffries, Nathan 1.8 128

That’s up from 1.66% of the vote in 2007.  Small steps?  Maybe, but they are steps forward just the same.  And I am proud knowing that the message is getting out, and it’s bringing voters out too.

Today I got a message that read:

Hey Tobi! I live in the River Heights area and your name was on my ballot when i went to cast my vote. I wasn’t voting NDP as I usually do. And Sask Party was out of the question!! So, when I saw your name for the Green Party I smiled to myself and put my X to the right of your name!! :-) Just thought I would share.

My thanks to Tom Fournier, both for his vote, and for writing to share.  It’s not too often than casting a vote brings a smile to a person’s face, and I’m glad to know this particular vote did just that.  I have to admit, letting my daughter find my name on our ballot, and marking our X beside it, made us smile too.  🙂

Congratulations to all my fellow candidates.  You all ran excellent campaigns.  The life political is not an easy one.  Thank you for all your hard work during this election, and for all the work yet to come.

Saskatoon Meewasin, MY riding.

This is my third election.  And I’ve had ties to each riding I’ve ran in…  but this is the first time I’ve had the honour of running in my home riding.  Saskatoon Meewasin is my riding.  So when I was asked to take part in a bit of a photographic essay, sharing sights from within the riding, it was an easy task.  Four of the five images were taken within a three block radius of my home.  The other is in Meewasin Park – where I spend a lot of time working.  So, have a peek into MY Meewasin:  http://www.leaderpost.com/news/5661216/story.html

A post political or piratical.

So, apparently the media did not like my photograph of choice for this provincial election.  It was one I chose with purpose.  But the decision has come down – give them a different image or they won’t include one at all.  A frustrating state of affairs if you ask me.  So what else is there to do?  I ran outside this evening, right before it got too dark to do so, and had Damon take a photo:

Tobi-Dawne Smith for Saskatoon Meewasin 2011

 

Now…  being the type who enjoys fighting injustice and ignorance as I do…  and being as intolerant of the misuse of power as I am…  well…  I do have to admit to a certain idea crossing my mind.  I actually did entertain the notion of sending in a photo of me in my Halloween costume.  After all.  If a photo of me, in the riding, holding a baby snake we came across while out at a photo shoot, teaching my daughter about it and encouraging her to value all life is inappropriate?  Then maybe me as a pirate is exactly what they need to see.  😉  But, I behaved.  As seen above.  After all, there’s a time and a place for all things.  Take this blog post.  Me as a pirate may not be appropriate for election night coverage, but here?  Heck ya!  So, here you go.  Me and my family – The Last Saskatchewan Pirates (as photographed by my younger sister Jewles).

Oh!  And yes… my election night photograph will show up again in the slideshow.  I couldn’t see a simple way to remove it, and I didn’t feel it was enough of a priority to spend a bunch of time digging around for the solution… so I just left it there.  LOL

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It’s almost over…

Very honestly, these last few months have passed FAR too quickly.  And along with the passage of this last month, we are almost at the end of the election campaign.  It’s been almost surreal this go ’round.  In the past I’ve always had several media requests throughout my campaigns.  I’ve had TV, print, radio, web – media of all sorts.  But this time, in my third election, not so much.  And part of me can’t help but wonder if it’s because I’ve chosen to focus my efforts on an equal rights and anti-bullying campaign.  Are these issues that the media simply doesn’t want to touch?

The one story I have been asked to contribute to, surprise surprise, is actually a photographic assignment.  And hopefully it will be live on the website for the Star Phoenix soon.   A few candidates, in key ridings, were asked to take their cameras out and photograph things within their riding that held meaning for them, and that would highlight those unique aspects of the riding.  It was a pretty easy assignment for me…  but even in there, I managed to share an anti-bullying message.  😉  I promise to share a link once it’s available.  Until then, my earlier question stands.

Is the issue of equality and bullying just too hot for the local – let’s face it, CONSERVATIVE – media to handle?  What are your thoughts?

Tobi-Dawne Smith for Saskatoon-Meewasin

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her daughter, Lily-Ann, experiencing the joy of finding a baby snake out in the green of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne Smith and her Daughter Lily-Ann

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Tobi-Dawne Smith is proud to be running in her home riding, a riding that boasts incredible diversity. As a member of a multi-racial family, she believes in the strength found in an open sharing of cultural and religious traditions. An open and honest dialogue is the best way to bridge gaps and bring understanding. The candor found in a quiet moment of respect is something all people should seek.

The search for authenticity isn’t something that ends when Smith, a professional photographer, puts down her lens. It’s a part of everything she does. Whether she’s busy in her most important role as mother to an incredible four year old, helping families create a legacy through photography, or cultivating initiatives to create safe spaces for at-risk youth.

Ms. Smith spent the last eight months working with Camp fYrefly, which celebrated it’s third year in Saskatchewan with it’s retreat this August. Camp fYrefly is a life changing program designed to help foster leadership skills and resiliency in gender variant and sexual minority youth, youth who are at the greatest risk of bullying and suicide. Now that Camp has been wrapped up, she has accepted a role on the Board for Breaking the Silence – an annual conference in support of the LGBTT2QIA community at the University of Saskatchewan.

Tobi-Dawne’s role as a mother has strengthened her resolve to be socially responsible and to help build a better future for her daughter, and all the children of Saskatchewan. She recognizes that our children depend on her to fight against inequality, and to help create with them a more genuine safe future for our province. TD also realizes the only political party within which she can truly achieve these goals is the Green Party of Saskatchewan.

The Green Party’s six guiding principles: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity.  Guiding principles we should all strive to uphold.

Start your Engines Saskatchewan!

It appears we are again, off to the races.  For me, this will be my third election campaign.  I ran for the first time back in 2008 for the Green Party of Canada in Saskatoon-Wanuskewin.  My second election was a provincial by-election in Saskatoon-Riversdale in 2009.  And I am now running in my home riding of Saskatoon-Meewasin.

I spent my afternoon out on the door-steps of my neighbours.  Unlike many who enter the muddy floor of the political arena, I actually really enjoy getting out and talking to folks.  Door-knocking is a chance to listen to the real concerns of my fellow community members, and I enjoy hearing their stories (and getting to share a few of my own).

This is the first year I am campaigning in my own neighbourhood.  I have ties to both ridings where I’ve run in the past (I grew up in, and my extended family still lives in, Saskatoon-Wanuskewin) but it feels different to be able to walk your door, and walk straight over to the first house on the left.  It actually felt really good.  And it was nice getting to introduce myself to a few neighbours that I haven’t had a chance to visit with before.  It was great seeing so many familiar faces.

I’ll admit, my biggest political failing is that I’m not a politician – mind you, that’s also one of my greatest strengths.  Where it hinders me though, is in my fundraising ability.  I’m not comfortable asking people for money.  Yet any successful campaign requires funding.  I just can’t do it though.  So my campaign this year (unless someone sees this blog post and decides, based on it and their knowledge of me, to donate – you’ll get most of it back come tax time) will be run on left overs:  old campaign signs, and brochures.  Things I knew I kept around for a reason.  Most of them say Green Party of Canada, but I’m sure it’s a small thing my constituents will forgive (as long as Elections-Saskatchewan does).  To be honest, I’d rather reuse these things than have new ones printed anyway.  These types of things can contribute to a rather large amount of waste and it just makes sense to use them again.  Where I would like to have some funds to spend would be on a new leaflet and perhaps a mailing – simply to ensure that something gets to each one of my constituents… as I know I won’t make it to every door, or have a chance to speak with every family.  So here it is…  my one and only plea for contributions.  I could use them, and would very much appreciate anything you’d be willing to send my way.  It would definitely be put to use.

Anyway…  😉

It feels good being back on the doorstep.  In our communities these days, we don’t often gather like we used to.  And going door knocking reminds me of all the good that’s here.  We are a strong community, full of amazing people:  families, seniors, students just starting out.  It’s a diverse neighbourhood, and one that I’m proud to call home.

Please feel free to drop me a line to talk about your hopes for Saskatchewan, the messages you hope the politicians will take away from this election.  I’d love to hear from you.

saskgreen@puregreenius.ca

And to the other candidates in Saskatoon-Meewasin?  Good luck with your campaigns!

Back to School (and then some)

Today I’d intended to write about the girlie heading back to school…  and nothing else.  I mean, honestly.  That’s big enough a topic, isn’t it?  But then, like everything in my life the last few weeks, it just seemed to be one thing after another today.

Ever since Camp fYrefly wrapped up, it really has been one thing after another keeping me from finishing up camp associated work.  It’s a little frustrating.  And today was no different.  Just one more thing added to the heap.  Today I got the news that Larissa is stepping down from the provincial Greens.

I don’t know all the details, but I imagine it is health related.  Larissa and I have many of the same diagnosis, and for her age and maturity level, she has handled them better than I did at the same point in my life.  Today most of my physical issues don’t weigh very heavily on me – but it’s only because of years full of coping experience.  Six or seven years ago, I wasn’t in the same place I am now and I know Larissa must be drained.  Being the leader of a provincial party can take a lot out of a healthy individual, and it can have a brutal effect on someone who’s health isn’t tip top.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan is losing a great leader today.  Larissa’s passion, vigor, and knowledge served us well for these last years.  Her dedication and dreams of a better Saskatchewan inspired many.  Thank you Larissa, for everything.  You will be missed.

The executive will now have to gear up for a special leadership race and election – in addition to gearing up for the provincial election coming in November.  As the President of the party, I can assure you, we will all be working very hard to ensure every member of the party has a chance to voice their concerns, and to have their thoughts heard.  If you are interested in possibly running, do let me know.  I’ll make sure your name is brought forward to the board.

So…  back to school.  LOL  It would have been plenty to attend with today.  But that’s just not how the chips fell.  Here’s the girlie on our walk to school today.  Sling pack on, and ready to go.  And yes!  We totally glittered up and embellished the pack – just how she wanted it.  😉

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