Nothing like door-knocking

By: Andrew Swan, MLA for Minto

As published in The Metro

July 22, 2014

Andrew Swan, MLA for Minto, out canvassing this summer in front of one of his favourite homes on Victor Street.

People usually expect political candidates to show up on their doorstep during an election campaign.

More and more, candidates try to use telephone canvassing and social media to get their message out, but there really is no substitute for meeting people face-to-face.

That is even more true between elections. This summer, I will continue to knock on doors in the West End—not as a candidate, but as the elected provincial representative for Minto. It’s a good way to get fresh air — and even a tan — but it’s an even better way to hear what people have to say about building a stronger community and province.

Most neighbours don’t raise any specific concerns — and if they do, they are often civic issues like back lanes, trees, and sidewalks. Some people have told me they are angry about Canada Post’s decision to stop home delivery. Sometimes there are immediate provincial issues involving health care, family services, or immigration that I can take back to my office to seek a resolution. Other times I receive some general advice, or even a question, that helps me serve our community more effectively.

The generosity of West Enders is touching — if not always the most convenient for continuing to visit neighbours. Many times I return home with a pocketful of tomatoes, a zucchini, or containers jammed with pancit. I have been invited into homes for a glass of water, pop, Ethiopian coffee, and sometimes been offered something even stronger (which I must decline, but appreciate the hospitality!).

Sometimes the best part of an afternoon of knocking on doors is just learning more about our neighbours. The growing family who just bought their first home, the incredible artists producing music or painting in their living rooms, the retiree who has lived on the street for decades, the neighbourhood activists who keep watch over the street, or the new Manitobans who have just arrived and are staying with family until they can get established … all have ideas on how we can make our province even better.

I hope you and your family enjoy a glorious Manitoba summer. We deserve it! And don’t be surprised if your six-foot-six Member of the Legislature knocks on your door to chat about how we can keep on building Manitoba.