Political parties are large organizations often including hundreds of thousands of members, hundreds of thousands non-members who donate and millions more who vote for their candidates.
The whole purpose of a political party is to have their candidates elected in an election in order to advance their agenda. In this age of instant news-sourcing and social media, being on top of the political game is a herculean task.
Political parties try to organize themselves to ensure that they can be electorally successful. So how does it all work? If you join a political party, where do you fit in?
The base is the foundation
What we mean by that is that political parties are driven by their members. The membership of a federal political party will include hundreds of thousands of people from all across Canada.
The membership is divided into riding associations. So for example, if you lived in the riding of Brampton East and joined the Conservative Party of Canada, you would belong to the Brampton East Electoral District Association (EDA). An electoral district is just the legal term for riding.
So what is the electoral district association?
The EDA is composed of all the members of that political party that reside in a particular riding. So in our example, you could be one of 600 Conservative Party members in Brampton East. Together, you and the other 599 Conservative members make the Brampton East Conservative EDA.
What is the EDA Board of Directors?
The EDA Board of Directors govern the party’s affairs in a particular riding. They are responsible for:
- Increasing membership to the party in the riding
- Fundraising to transfer funds to the next federal candidate to win the next federal election
- Increasing the profile of the party in the riding by attending events such as religious celebrations, summer fairs, sporting events, amongst other like-events
Membership to the EDA Board of Directors is voluntary and unpaid. EDA Board members’ terms are one year and the EDA Board is elected at each Annual General Meeting, which are usually held sometime in the spring.
While EDA Boards run the affairs of the party in the various ridings across the country, the National Council will run the affairs of the party at a high level across the country. Think of them as the board of directors of the party.
Each province will have a specific amount of national councillors. They are elected at party’s national convention, held about once every 2-3 years. They are elected by the delegates to that national council from their province.
Leadership and staff
Between National Council and the Leader of the party, they will hire staff to run party affairs at a national level. Party staffers are hired to:
- maintain the database of members and potential members
- run national marketing campaigns
- engage with EDA boards to ensure proper membership levels and governance
- conduct voter contact campaigns and voter research to win the next election
So why does this matter to pro-lifers?
The governance of a political party that wins government is a reflection of the people who make up the structure of the party. What we mean by that is, if most of the party members, EDA board members, national councilors, staffers and especially the leader are not pro-life, then when the party is in power, they will not govern from a pro-life perspective.
Often times, pro-lifers are discouraged from losses to engage in political parties. We often think that just because a party is currently not pro-life or has officially not pro-life policies, that it will be that way forever. The only way it will be that way forever is by pro-lifers having that attitude and not engaging.
Being part of a political party is like being part of any organization, team or even a family: there will be arguments and you will not always win those arguments. However, if we can collectively begin to have more wins than losses, then we, as a movement, are heading in the right direction.
Join RightNow today and to find out more on how you can engage with your political party and start making it more pro-life!