The May 2 federal election was an introduction to the political world for Sooke resident Shaunna Salsman and the experience has given her an appetite for more.
Victory is the obvious desire of all candidates but many find successful outcomes just by being part of a movement they believe in – that has been the case with Salsman, whose interest has since been piqued by the idea of taking part in November’s civic election.
“I’m going to check out who’s running, municipality wise,” said Salsman, indicating she may either decide to support a candidate or become a candidate herself. That has yet to be determined, however, though she says she’ll soon find out all about registration deadlines and conditions, etc.
Along the lines of the effort she has recently concluded, she feels the work was well worth it.
“It was amazing,” she described on May 7. Although the majority of attention on election night was likely focused upon the close race between New Democrat (and winner) Randall Garrison and Conservative Troy DeSouza, the Green Party representative said the entire campaign was memorable.
“I was astonished by the process,” she said. “My favourite part of the whole thing was going door to door, meeting people and finding out that everyone has the same concerns. As a whole we’re all looking for a good, stable economy. We’re looking to the environment. I loved hearing that we all have that in common.”
Salsman said this campaign was pretty much her debut as a public speaker and even though the paper sometimes shook in her hands, it was a stimulating, exciting time for her.
“I had something to say and I believed in what I was saying. So it became easier,” she continued, adding that a little more time would have given her the extra confidence to be more effective in her delivery.
She noted in hindsight the offers of support which had been offered by Green volunteers to attend debates etc. She said she hadn’t taken advantage of the vocal backing but noticed its presence on behalf of other candidates.
Campaign manager John Murray said he felt Salsman did well on the hustings. Like the rest of his party he was bouyed by the election of leader Elizabeth May in Saanich-Gulf Islands and said he had enjoyed being one of some 3,000 volunteers for the Green effort. Between now and the electorate’s next trip to the polls he hopes to see the volunteer base spread out somewhat.
“It would be good to get a solid base going in the community,” he said.
Salsman feels enriched by the effort just completed and potential work to follow. And she stresses the value of getting to meet and converse with candidates for public office at all levels.
“I started in Sooke and ended in Sooke,” she said of the methodical scheme of covering as much of the sizable Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca riding as possible during her campaign.
“I went to every area, including a whole day in Port Renfrew.”
Salsman is a committed Green and says she will do all she can to support the movement in any way she can. She expressed admiration and respect for the successful candidate, Garrison, plus strong support for the provincial work of Green Party leader Jane Sterk. Those bases being, for now, covered, she restated her interest in exploring the option of going after a seat on Sooke district council.
“I know it’s hard to get people involved sometimes,” she concluded on the topic of public service, “but (if they do) they might look at things a little differently.