A recently published how-to win an elections guidebook aims to help hundreds of campaigners vying for a spot on Alberta municipal councils this fall.
The Political Campaign How-to Guide: Win The Election, written by former St. Albert mayor Nolan Crouse, offers step-by-step instructions on how to get into public office.
Crouse was a St. Albert councillor from 2004 to 2007 and mayor from 2007 to 2017. He briefly pursued the leadership of the Alberta Liberal party but dropped out two days before the nomination deadline. Crouse told CBC Edmonton's Radio Active last week that his heart isn't in public office anymore.
"If you want to win, you have to plan to win and you can't really go into this thing half-heartedly."
Crouse campaigned in four elections and never lost. In his last election, he won 55 per cent of the mayoral vote.
He said one important part of a campaign that should never be undervalued is door-knocking.
"It's Campaigning 101," said Crouse.
"It's absolutely a wonderful time to get out and about and meet people. People are not rude. People are polite."
It's important to meet and interact with voters face-to-face, he said.
While COVID-19 put a damper political rallies and in-person debates for the last year, as shown with the B.C. provincial election last fall, Crouse said door-knocking can still be done safely in the pandemic era.
"When you ring the doorbell, back off the step. Ten feet away with a mask on. Just say you left a brochure in the mailbox and you're running for election and just you're here to ask for their vote."
His book is filled with stories from the campaign trail, such as the time he left a pamphlet at a home with a young child, only to have her run after him to return it, telling Crouse that her parents did not believe in democracy.
A mistake people make during elections is thinking it's important to know each topic inside and out, said Crouse.
"Taking a position on something isn't always needed. Showing that you care about somebody else's position matters more."
Listening to voters and acting on their behalf is the most important job of a politician, said Crouse.
He predicts turnout in the 344 municipalities across the province on Oct. 18 will be high due to the Alberta government's referendums on daylight saving and equalization.
Campaigners may struggle to get their platforms to voters, he said, as many community newspapers have closed. Instead, social media will become even more important for candidates.
His book is available on Amazon.