On the GO

Elizabeth May

I am writing from the GO train in Burlington, Ontario. The clever acronym “GO” means it is a Government of Ontario transit system. The double-decker green train is still parked at the platform for the late trip back to Union Station in Toronto. It is a bright and cheerful train inside. Almost impossibly clean after a day of ferrying commuters back and forth from Toronto to Oakville, Bronte, and Burlington.

I just finished an afternoon and evening of events in Hamilton, ferried about by our candidate from Hamilton Centre, John Livingstone. He is retired from the armed forces after 22 years of service and managed my schedule with military precision, which in my life is a good thing!

The event at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce was great. I always love taking a long time in a question and answer session. Tonight, however, I was stumped by a question. The first part was easy: “What can we do to help make sure you win?” I answered, “Please help me get into the televised leader’s debate…” and I explained how to go on our site and sign the Demanddemocraticdebates.ca petition. Then I mentioned that we also need money and that donations would be a very big help. I explained that even though our campaign budget was only 10% of what the Conservatives would spend, we had not raised it all yet. (The Conservatives are reported to have $15 million in the bank, even after spending $3 million on those despicable attack ads against Stephane Dion. We want to raise about 10% of that $1.9 million.)

Here was the question that stumped me. The kind lady in the audience asked: “How will we know when you have enough money?”

I realized we needed some sort of public chart of fundraising. So I suggested we should put a big thermometre on our web site, like a community United Way campaign. Another, younger woman piped up, “No, use a rain gauge, not something mercury based!” Right, said I, let’s not measure success by a neuro-toxic that can never be removed or destroyed once in our environment!

So, now I should follow through and see about putting up a fundraising challenge to see if we can get 10,000 Canadians to each donate $150, or 20,000 to donate $75, or even better 100,000 Canadians to donate $15 each. Should be easy, now that we are on the GO. .