Young candidates in P.E.I. municipal elections found contradictions at the door

Joanna Morrison, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on Charlottetown city council, says they hope their candidacy will inspire more people from marginalized communities to run for office. (Submitted - image credit)
Joanna Morrison, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on Charlottetown city council, says they hope their candidacy will inspire more people from marginalized communities to run for office. (Submitted - image credit)

It's something young candidates in the recent municipal elections on P.E.I. heard over and over again: people want change, and if you want to get elected, you need to get out and knock on doors.

But the reality, they found, was that some voters would rather see that change come from familiar candidates, and many — especially the younger generation — would rather you not knock on their doors, please and thank you.

"It's a really tough topic because the first thing that everyone tells you is that you need to get out and knock on doors and of course I did that," said 27-year-old Joanna Morrison, who lost by just 85 votes in their bid for a seat on Charlottetown city council.

"But I found that a lot of people don't really like it. Like, you have the older generations that expect you to come to their doors, but I know myself I don't like it when politicians come to my door so it was hard for me to motivate myself to go knock on somebody else's door."

Morrison was also concerned about how they would be greeted at the door, they said in an interview with Island Morning's Laura Chapin.

'Layer of fear'

"I feel lucky that I didn't really receive any sort of negative feedback or anything for the most part. But I will say, like as a queer individual, it did add a layer of fear to talk to people. Not because I've received any sort of like threats or anything like that, but you never know, like when you're going to someone's house, if that's going to be something that they're not going to be OK with."

Submitted
Submitted

Sarah Doyle, 36, who ran unsuccessfully as a council candidate in Three Rivers, said she also didn't enjoy knocking on doors during the campaign.

"I also find people of my generation and younger generation don't enjoy random people walking up to the door so for that generation I did a lot of Facebook messages, communicating more through social media."

She said often people weren't home when she did knock, so she felt it wasn't always a good use of her time. When people did answer, they would often say they wanted new faces to step up.

It really does seem that everybody wants change, but they seem to want it from the people that are already in office. — Joanna Morrison

But when it came time to vote, they often chose the candidate they were most familiar with, especially in Charlottetown where five of the six candidates who reoffered were re-elected.

"It really does seem that everybody wants change, but they seem to want it from the people that are already in office," Morrison said. "They don't want to take a chance on voting for someone new."

Though they didn't get elected, Morrison hopes their campaign wasn't in vain.

"I had so many people coming to me that were grateful that I was running because we do need more representation from marginalized communities in city council, and I was really hoping that me stepping forward, you know, would allow people from the BIPOC community to feel more comfortable, or more people from the queer community to feel comfortable stepping up.

"But maybe in the next election."