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NDP suspends door-to-door campaigning in Guelph, other parties to continue

The local NDP party has suspended door-to-door campaigning and will not open a local campaign headquarters during this election
20210824 NDP
Guelph's New Democratic Party campaign leader Aisha Jahangir will suspend door-to-door campaigning until further notice.

The Guelph New Democrat Party is suspending door-to-door campaigning for the foreseeable future due to concerns over COVID and the current heat wave.

Other local parties say they will continue with the traditional door-to-door campaigning.

The NDP cited the rising number of  COVID cases in the Guelph region and the heatwave rolling through the region as matters of concern that pose a double-sided health and safety risk to campaign staffers and volunteers.

“We decided yesterday to suspend all outdoor canvassing for the interim for two reasons: One is that the COVID pandemic is clearly getting worse, the numbers are going up every day, and secondly, because it’s just too hot and humid,” said David Josephy, NDP campaign manager.

“We’re not knocking on doors right now, we hope to get it started up again once the heat breaks and if the pandemic looks a little more under control. It’s all day-to-day at this rate.”

Guelph’s Liberal party confirmed it would still be campaigning door-to-door, however, within the last week, they have upped the safety measures to include online safety training and maintaining a social distance at doors.

“We have an online campaign safety training that I have taken, and we are asking all our volunteers to take the online safety training,” said Longfield. The party has also implemented a six foot buffer zone for volunteers who approach potential voters to ensure the physical distancing can be maintained.

Longfield said when the staff member or volunteer approaches the door they will knock and immediately retreat six feet.

When it comes to vaccines, the Liberal campaign workers will be fully vaccinated if they are interacting with the public.

“We are going to confirm with them they will be fully vaccinated before they knock on doors,” said Longfield. “It’s the same with volunteering in our campaign office, we are trying to do everything outside, but you definitely can't go inside unless you have been fully vaccinated.

Green Party candidate Michelle Bowman said the Green Party will continue the door-to-door canvasing within Guelph, but will also be in constant contact with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health to monitor the COVID-19 cases.

“We will be monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases in Guelph daily, we will be consulting with Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health before we make a decision,” said Bowman.

The party is prepared to switch from door-to-door campaigning to a phone canvas if they hit the threshold they have set out with WDGPH.

When it comes to vaccines, the Green Party campaign in Guelph has moved from encouraging its staff to get vaccinated to mandating all staff and volunteers interacting with the public are double dosed.

“In Guelph, all staff and volunteers that have any interaction with other staff or the public will be required to be fully vaccinated,” said Bowman.

Bowman said she is still encouraging all staff and volunteers who do not interact with the public to get vaccinated.

Conservative candidate Ashish Sachan, nor his campaign manager, were immediately available to comment if their party had altered the campaign.

Last week the Conservatives said everyone is vaccinated on the team, and "we will still follow social distancing guidelines and masking guidelines and door-to-door canvasing was planned."

Of the four major parties, the NDP is also the only party that has decided against the opening of a physical campaign headquarters in Guelph and will instead have staffers working from home.

With the campaign headquarters traditionally used to bring people together and share the parties’ platform, Josephy said this is not the right time to be bringing people together.

“We are working from home, it is work from home time, it is a pandemic There are a lot of advantages to it, but it also just gives us concern,” said Josephy.

If the NDP does resume door-to-door campaigning, they said vaccinations will be required for all volunteers and staffers that will be interacting with the public.

“We’re asking for them to ensure to us they have been doubly vaccinated. We’re not going to demand medical papers, but we are asking they ensure us,” said Josephy.