OTTAWA—As part of its commitment to supporting the development of a new generation of Canadian campaigners, the Broadbent Institute is launching Camp Progress Plus -- a hands-on, intensive training and campaign placement opportunity for Canadian organizers and activists.
The program, offered in collaboration with 270 strategies, a firm founded by senior strategists from U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, involves a five-day intensive training retreat in September, during which participants will learn from the architects of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. Following the week-long training in Barrie, Ontario, the Broadbent Institute will place participants in volunteer leadership roles in Democratic election campaigns in the fall of 2016 or in a progressive campaign in Canada.
Posted by NationBuilder Support · October 03, 2014 5:06 AM
OTTAWA—As part of its commitment to supporting the development of a new generation of progressive leaders in Canada, the Broadbent Institute is pleased to announce the second phase of Camp Progress Practicum -- a new hands-on, intensive training and placement opportunity for Canadian campaigners.
Recently I had the chance to participate in Saskatoon Change Makers, one of the Broadbent Institute’s first events to enhance capacity for people to work for positive change. This emphasis on training and leadership recognizes that it’s not enough to have the best ideas; winning campaigns, electoral or issue-based, requires the organization and skills to do so.
Posted by NationBuilder Support · January 31, 2014 6:51 AM
Lasia Kretzel January 31, 2014 This article originally appeared on CKOM Newstalk 650.
Barack Obama’s top swing state strategist is coming to Saskatoon to talk about how everyday people can bring about the social changes they want through grassroots action.
Mitch Stewart directed the American president’s successful 2012 campaign within 10 of the 11 swing states votes. He was also involved in Obama’s 2008 campaign and several organizations.
“To say (the campaign was) magical probably doesn’t do it justice,” Stewart said.
“The thing we really learned during the campaign is the nexus of using better data and analytics on one end and probably more important is this relationship or community based organizing.”
Saskatoon Change Makers is co-organized by left-wing think tank the Broadbent Institute and two-time provincial NDP candidate Ryan Meili’s UpStream.
“Mitch brings that real on the ground experience on how to win campaigns and we look forward to hearing what his advice is for folks in the local context,” Graham Mitchell, Broadbent Institute training and leadership director said.
Stewart will talk about the tactics he used in the 2012 campaign to usher in a second term for Obama including building social networks.
“Teaching how you can build those relationship structures and teams … making sure groups have that information, how powerful it can be and guide them through that process,” Stewart said.
Through his organization 270 Strategies, Stewart has also spoken at other Canadian venues including Ottawa and Vancouver. He was also brought in to stress the importance of grassroots movements and "progressive change."
“The important thing about grassroots movements are everybody has a role to play in making change. “
(The Broadbent Institute is) pushing for people to take seriously the opportunity to get involved in politics,” Mitchell said, adding what progressive means changes depending on the community.
“For different organizations and different communities it means different things, that’s partly why we’ve pulled together other local communities and working with UpStream to identify challenges that local communities face.”
Stewart will be joined by co-speakers Meili, University of Saskatchewan student union president Max FineDay and Idle No More co-founder Erica Lee, at the Roxy Theatre at 7 p.m Friday.
Stewart has been involved over the years in numerous organizations and campaigns, including several that were important to the success of the U.S. president. He was Battleground States Director for Obama's 2012 campaign, and his strategy led to wins in nine of 10 battleground states.
"It was a life-changing experience," Stewart said about working with the president. "It's been a fantastic professional experience for me, but more importantly, from a personal perspective, it will go down as one of the greatest accomplishments of my life."
The tactics Stewart used during the campaign will be part of his discussion at Saskatoon Change Makers, which takes place at the Roxy Theatre at 7 p.m. Friday.
"We want to share those lessons, share those strategies, with other like-minded organizations that are trying to bring positive social change to their communities," Stewart said.
A model of building and organizing relationships has been important to his success, he said.
"This team structure that we know works, this very intentional relationship building, is probably the biggest lesson that we've learned," Stewart said, noting 10,000 neighbourhood teams across the U.S. performed various roles for Obama's 2012 campaign.
Building relationships is "the best vehicle that progressives can have to enacting change," he said.
Part of what he wants to do with Friday's speech is explain "the long arc" of facilitating social change, he said, noting that while change is never easy, it is important to have a clear and concise theory of change that can be easily explained and related to people's personal lives.
His efforts in Canada - he is speaking elsewhere in the country, too - will focus on advocacy work and not Canadian partisan politics, he said.
The event in Saskatoon is co-organized by two leftleaning organizations, the Broadbent Institute and Upstream. The director for the latter is Ryan Meili, a Saskatoon doctor and two-time former candidate for the provincial NDP leadership.
Graham Mitchell, director of training and leadership at the Broadbent Institute, said the organizations are bringing Stewart to Saskatchewan to share the message that grassroots efforts can lead to change.
"What the Obama campaign managed to do in terms of mobilizing regular people in support of a broad, progressive agenda is really remarkable and amazing and we're hoping that people hear that message that there is something that you can do," Mitchell said.
"There is hope, and there's a good reason to get involved, and one of the most highprofile examples comes from the American presidential election in electing Barack Obama, but it can be done in your local community on smaller scales."
Other speakers at the event will include Meili, as well as Max FineDay, president of the U of S Students' Union, and Erica Lee, one of the founders of the Idle No More movement.
Posted by NationBuilder Support · January 27, 2014 11:57 AM
SASKATOON--Barack Obama's 2012 Battleground States Director, Mitch Stewart, is coming to town with the message that positive change is possible through people-centred grassroots action. Stewart will speak at Saskatoon Change Makers, an event co-organized by the Broadbent Institute and Upstream that will enhance local community organizing.
"Mitch Stewart has a proven track record as a cutting-edge campaign strategist," says Graham Mitchell, Director of Training and Leadership at the Broadbent Institute. "The Broadbent Institute is proud to support emerging leaders in Saskatoon, and across Canada, by learning from some of the best campaigners at home and abroad."
"We are delighted to be working together with the Broadbent Institute to bring positive change to Saskatoon," added Upstream Director Ryan Meili. "This evening is a great example of the kind of evidence-based, people-centred approach to change at the core of Upstream's work to build a healthy society."
Other speakers will include Ryan Meili of Upstream, Max FineDay, President of the University of Saskatchewan Student Union and Next Up alumnus, and Erica Lee of Idle No More.
Posted by NationBuilder Support · January 18, 2014 9:05 AM
Rosemary Barton January 16, 2014 This article originally appeared on CBC News.
Canada's newest "progressive" think tank is getting ready to train new foot soldiers for the battleground of the next election, which will be held no later than October 2015.
In turning its attention to training and electoral literacy, the left-leaning Broadbent Institute is attempting to become as influential and successful as the conservative Manning Centre, founded by former Reform Party leader Preston Manning in 2005.
The Broadbent Institute, created in 2011, has a ways to go, but Rick Smith, the current executive director, said it's time for the left to get moving.
"The right, the conservative movement, to its credit, has spent a lot of time over the last few years, training up a new generation of leaders and the progressive side of the spectrum needs to start doing the same thing or we’re going to be in some significant trouble down the road," Smith said.
Officially, the Broadbent Institute says it is non-partisan, though it is chaired by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent and its board has other NDP members. Smith said the organization wants to be a "big tent" to allow all progressive Canadians a place to come and think about ideas.
But part of that is also about getting a political movement more organized.
Making politics personal
The Manning Centre and various other programs led by Preston Manning train hundreds of Canadians in an effort to improve democracy, but also to strengthen the conservative movement long-term.
Robert Gibbs, left, U.S. President Barack Obama's former press secretary, stands with Broadbent Institute Executive Director Rick Smith and chair Ed Broadbent. The institute is looking to U.S. Democrats for help in training progressive election workers. (Broadbent Institute/Flickr)
The Broadbent Institute wants to do the same. In the months ahead it will roll out training sessions, one in Saskatchewan later this month and one at its first “Progress Summit” in March. It has tapped some former Barack Obama campaign organizers and other American Democrats to help develop the training.
Smith said part of it is about getting progressives to tell and sell a better story to Canadians: less based on the nitty gritty details of policy, and more on personal values.
"Conservatives in the last few years, on many issues, have told a more convincing story than progressives have," Smith admits. And he said while there is much to be admired with the Manning Centre, it is also a mistake to draw too many parallels. For instance, he said the Manning Centre can depend on more corporate money while the Broadbent Institute is more "people powered."
Olivier Ballou, the Manning Centre’s director of communications, has no problems with the comparisons and said, “We are flattered the Broadbent Institute tries to copy us.”
On at least one front, though, it is hard to compare.
The Manning Centre had money in the bank before it was even started, with some reports pegging the amount in the millions of dollars. And while it is a non-profit organization, the centre does disclose its annual revenue, which in 2012 was $1.3 million.
The institute won't give any financial details, except to say it has "less than the Manning Centre" but did recently meet a goal to bring in 1,000 new donors before the end of 2013.
Smith said he has been surprised at the response.
"It's coming from right across the country, it’s coming from the broadest possible spectrum of people and you know what, it’s coming from a lot of people who at the end of the day might not even define themselves as progressives."
Linking politicians and ideas
Much of the attraction may be because think tanks offer a place to consider ideas and a place for politicians to find them.
Jim Armour, a vice-president at Summa Strategies and former director of communications for Preston Manning, said Manning always warned about politicians running out of new ideas.
"When you enter political life you’ve got only so much gas in the tank in terms of ideas. You're coming in to do something, to further some idea or a policy, but once you’re in politics it’s very difficult to refill that gas tank. There's no kind of in-flight refuelling system."
Armour said that's the benefit of organizations like these: they can generate ideas. And while he admits the Broadbent Institute is a "sophisticated operation," he also thinks it is far more partisan than what Manning is doing.
"[The Manning Centre is] not out there shilling 24/7 for Stephen Harper. It's very much, 'here are some really big ideas, why don't you follow.' That's very much what Manning was all about as head of the Reform Party and the Canadian Alliance."
What both organizations are are trying to do is improve democracy. Smith said Manning has put "his money where his mouth is" and said that is to be admired.
The hope of the Broadbent Institute is to make progress on some key issues and help fight back against the conservative movement. Meanwhile, Smith said, the Conservative government is injecting his organization with "a kind of fierceness to get a move on."