Winning a nomination contest at the provincial level is far more complex than at the local one.
As at the local level, you will need to file the proper documents on time, pay the appropriate dues, and name the required nominators and the Official Agent.
You will also need to determine the best time to start building your support base, create lists of volunteers, lobby your party association’s leaders and members, build your financial strength, and gather intelligence about all your known and potential opponents, among other things.
But, you will first and foremost have to deal with the riding association of your party of choice, unless you decide to run as an independent. If that is the case, you will not need to go through the hurdle of a nomination meeting, though your election campaign will most probably be much more challenging.
Timing of a provincial election
As in all parliamentary systems such as Canada’s, the privilege of setting an election date lies with the party that formed the government. Usually, if this party won a majority of seats in a general election, it will govern for the full four to five years it is entitled to before calling an election. So, the election will most probably take place a few months after the fourth year is completed.
On the other hand, if the governing party did not win more seats than the combined opposition, it forms a minority government, and will most likely call an election in less than four years. This is because a minority government will hope to gain a majority by returning to the polls or is forced to call an election by the opposition forces, for one reason or another.
The best way to evaluate the possible date of a general election, and therefore the count-down time for preparing to challenge a nomination, is to follow the news very closely and to keep in close contact with members of your party, locally and provincially.
The same applies to any by-election that may be called when a seat becomes vacant in the legislature between general elections. Several by-elections may be held on the same day. This may be a good time to test the waters as a candidate. Keep in mind that the governing party often loses these by-elections if voters want to protest any of the government’s policies or actions. This does not mean the government will be defeated in the next general election.
Time requirements if elected
Each provincial legislature determines the length of its fall and spring sessions, which can run from a few weeks to a few months. It also determines the number, and mandates, of committees and standing committees, while the committees themselves set their agenda. When in session, the legislature usually sits most of the week, allowing time for the members to return to their riding every weekend.
The time required for riding activities must not be underestimated. The citizens of your riding will come to you for all kinds of reasons, and expect you to find a solution for them. It is also through these activities that you will maintain and strengthen your power base in order to be re-elected in the next general election.
You must also keep in mind the time you will need to set aside to travel to and from your riding. This can rapidly add up if you are living in a rural area that is not easily reached by plane, or if you live in a more remote area where travel conditions are sometimes difficult. This can be particularly difficult for women who still have a family at home.