TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 22, 2012) - In just days before the deadline to join the NDP and vote in the leadership race, almost 10,000 Canadians committed to join the NDP, Liberals and Greens to support an online campaign calling on opposition parties to cooperate before the next election to achieve electoral reform.
Leadnow.ca reports that before the NDP new membership cut-off, 5,500 Canadians had clicked through their campaign website to join the NDP in time to vote in the March 24 NDP leadership election. Approximately 2,000 clicked through to join the Liberal and Green parties, respectively. So far, an open letter created by Leadnow.ca calling on the parties to cooperate for electoral reform has garnered over 15,000 signatures.
Political commentator Ian Capstick said this influx of new members is unprecedented. "We know now that anywhere between 5 and 10 thousand of these new members, a lot of them in BC and Ontario, could be because of the efforts of Leadnow.ca." Capstick said the sign-up constitutes the largest new pro-electoral reform contingent in the NDP in several decades.
"We asked Canadians to sign the 'Cooperate for Canada' open letter and join political parties to prove that there are thousands of Canadians who support cooperation for electoral reform, and are willing to get involved and vote to support the idea," said Jamie Biggar, Executive Director of Leadnow.ca. "We are seeing people work together in new ways because they want to make sure the next government represents a majority of Canadians and reforms Canada's broken electoral system."
The Leadnow.ca campaign used social media and a decentralized online phone-banking initiative that organized 60 new volunteers to call 2,200 supporters over three days and encourage them to join the party of their choice before the NDP membership deadline.
A similar membership drive is planned for the Liberal leadership race. Leadnow.ca will compile a report card on the leadership candidates' positions on cooperation and electoral reform before both the NDP and Liberal votes. Leadnow.ca will not be endorsing a candidate.
"If this many new people are willing to join a political party to support cooperation for electoral reform, imagine what this idea could do to voter turn-out in the 2015 election?" said Biggar. "Now that we've shown the potential, we will report the results to all of the leadership candidates so they can see how much support there is for this idea and respond."
Leadnow is planning an outreach and education campaign around cooperation and electoral reform for the spring, featuring cross-country meetings to bring Cooperate for Canada supporters together with the grassroots of the NDP, Liberal and Green parties.