Why I’m volunteering for Joyce Murray

joyce screengrab

I think Joyce Murray may be the Liberal Party’s last, best hope. She’s certainly the only candidate running for leader right now with a vision for Canada that I want to be part of — or a strategy to get there that makes sense. And so, at her request, I’ve put my work as a commentator on hiatus and stepped in to offer what help I can.

This is the video I directed for her showcase last weekend in Toronto:

Working on this piece — following Joyce on the campaign trail, interviewing her supporters — I got a glimpse of something most of my friends in the media are missing completely. After the first debate in January, I thought many of the same things about Joyce’s candidacy: she doesn’t have the public speaking chops, she’s too much of a policy wonk, her appeal is confined to BC.

I was wrong.

Having had the chance to get to know her better, I’m deeply impressed with Joyce’s wisdom, integrity, and resilience. She has what it takes to lead a federal political party — and I wouldn’t have poured so much time into her campaign if I didn’t see a mathematical avenue to victory. Despite the press gallery consensus (and the favouritism of some of the party brass), this race is not over.

Registered Liberal voters have until Sunday, April 14 at 3pm Eastern Time to cast their ballot. A few minutes ago, I voted for Joyce as my first choice for Liberal leader. I strongly encourage those who are registered to take five minutes and do the same.

How did this happen?

I faced some blowback when I discarded my journalistic “objectivity” in 2011, upon leaving CTV — though I remained non-partisan, and subsequently declined work with three different political groups. I caught more flak when I signed up to participate in the Liberal leadership race, back in December — though I hadn’t yet picked a candidate. Naturally, I anticipate some people will be disappointed to hear that I’ve stepped completely away from journalism to volunteer on a campaign.

What I’ll say is that I’m a voter driven by my values, not allegiance to any partisan brand. Joyce Murray’s focus on sustainability — via democratic renewal — speaks directly to my core priorities as a citizen. And as a citizen, my involvement in democracy is driven by the question: “how can I most effectively advance the goals connected to my values?” Up until recently, I believed I was most useful as a commentator (and, every few years, a voter).

Getting involved in Joyce’s campaign was another experiment. Having taken the time to reflect, it’s a decision I’m proud of.