In this episode, our guest is Ryan Singh, who is a Senior Consultant at Temple Scott Associates where he provides government relations advice. Prior to this he worked at Queen’s Park in the office of the Chief Government Whip. He has served as the Secretary and Regional VP for the Ontario Liberal Party and managed a number of political campaigns including 3 provincial campaigns in 2011, 2014 and 2018.
We discuss a number of topics with respect to how to run for office in this episode, specific topics can be found at these timepoints:
Nominations - 7:26
Better engaging STEM with political parties - 17:28
Legislation - 24:50
Campaigning - 31:10
Chris Caputo 00:11
This is periodically political brought to you by Elect STEM, we bring you stories of where politics intersects science. My name is Chris Caputo, and I'll be your co-host today along with Darren Anderson.
We'd like to welcome our guest Ryan Singh. Ryan is a senior consultant at Temple Scott associates where he provides Government Relations advice. Prior to this, he worked at Queen's Park in the Office of the Chief government whip. He has served as the Secretary and regional vice president for the Ontario Liberal Party and managed a number of political campaigns, including three provincial campaigns in 2011 2014 and 2018. Welcome to the show, Ryan.
Ryan Singh 00:58
Hey, thanks for having me. I really looking forward to our conversation today and also talking about the good stuff that you guys are doing.
Darren Anderson 01:06
Wonderful. So at Elect STEM, we seek to demystify how scientists and engineers can get involved in policy and politics. So our first questions is about you your origin story. So why did you decide to get involved in politics?
Ryan Singh 01:22
Well, I think we should make sure that all your all your listeners here know, I'm not a scientist by trade, I'm a political operative, some people would probably call me, but I do support diversity and politics and do support having different backgrounds. And you know, we will talk about that later on. I got involved at a very young age, I was I think, 10 years old. That's how you are, how old you are in grade five, we had a government that was not cooperating with teachers in the province. And there were strikes, and I remember very pale green ribbons being tied on trees. And that's what really spurred my interest in politics. I think what it came down to, and as I matured, and took Poli Sci in University and worked in politics, it's about the impact government has on people and your everyday lives. And I find it really disappointing sometimes that people don't realize how one small decision by government can have such a huge impact on your everyday life, whether it's an exit to a highway to get to your house, or transit stop, or how much money you know, you're being taxed for your property tax or when you go pick up a bag of milk at the store. But essentially, I've thought about the politics because of the power associated and I don’t mean power in terms of control. But I mean, the power in terms of the impact and the positive influence you can have on somebody's life. So you know, I see it as a means of contributing, giving back to society a little bit in my own way and some of my community involvement. But that's sort of my story in terms of how I got involved in it. But yeah, 10 year old Ryan Singh.
Darren Anderson 03:08
that, that's fascinating. And in a lot of ways that's very similar to why Chris and I and Monika, our other co-founder founded elect stem, it was about having more of an impact directly in how political decisions are made. And also, again, giving back and really contributing to the awesome country that were a part of, and trying to make sure that folks that want to get engaged in the political process are able to do so. So that that's really, really interesting. So based on your experiences, I'd be interested in understanding, you know, you've been involved in all different levels of government, could you tell us a little bit about each level of government and the differences you found between them from a political or policymaking perspective?
Ryan Singh 03:55
So policymaking? It could vary at some stages, or you could just say, it's sort of the same trend line, you know, and I think we're going to talk a little bit on later on about, you know, how legislation is crafted. But, you know, that sort of differences, obviously, federal and provincial politics is very much based on partisan politics, you have political parties that are represented either at Queen's Park or at Parliament Hill. Municipal level, you know, you tend to have more local advocacy type issues. And, you know, people aren't necessarily tied, although a lot of them are, but they're not necessarily tied to political parties. I would say at the end of the day, political decision making at all three levels does have a similar sort of string in terms of a pattern of responding to people, responding to the needs of people. You know, there's clear cut distinctions between what the federal government oversees versus the provincial government, vs municipal government. That's the clear sort of distinction, but at the end of the day, you know, politics, getting elected, responding and creating policy for People - Um, yeah, there might be some ideological poll, but people are responding to issues and, topical items of that day to make their constituency happy. I mean, I don't know a politician who gets elected and wants to make policy to upset people.
Chris Caputo 05:20
So you've seen, I guess you've been on the inside of government and all of this and based on these experiences, do you think we need greater representation of scientists and engineers in elected office? or what have you seen on the inside?
Ryan Singh 05:35
So the answer simple answers yes, I'm a huge advocate of diversity in politics, and, you know, diversity, when a lot of people hear that word, they think, you know, racial diversity, or ethno cultural diversity, and don't get me wrong, that is really, really important. But politics shouldn't be just a bunch of lawyers, because that's what it was, at one point in history, a bunch of making decisions, I do think better decisions are made, when you have people who bring different perspectives and different outlooks in lives. So we need more scientists. Absolutely. And I think everything we've seen since March, February, March is here, especially in the United States, you know, but our chief medical officers there, they've become household names. And we've always had chief medical officers, right. So people are really seeing the impact of science. But imagine, if those people were actually, you know, around the cabinet table, or, you know, part of the policy staff to those ministers to the Prime Minister making those decisions. Um, you know, I tell people all the time, we need teachers around the table, we need doctors around the table, you need women, mothers, you need people who come from the engineering sector, it's just because politics and I said this politics can impact so many facets of everybody's everyday lives. This is why it's important to have all of those lives reflected around the table when those decisions are being made. So absolutely, we need scientists at the table, I think, and I alluded to the events of this year. But I think this demonstrates even more why we need more scientists, at the policy decision making table and our legislators working hand in hand with other people who bring other interests and other expertise to the table.
Chris Caputo 07:26
That's great to hear that you also see that from the political point of view. But obviously, there's, there could also be a disconnect, or there is a disconnect a lot of times between, you know, scientists making the jump to political parties. And I think there's a lot of kind of mystery surrounding this and how we actually go about this. So let's try to demystify a few things, shall we? And let's start with, I guess, political parties first. So how would one, you know if someone is interested in running? How does the nomination process generally work for a political party?
Ryan Singh 08:05
So generally speaking, and you know, I full disclosure, I'm part of the Ontario Liberal Party. So I could probably speak a bit better about our nomination process, somewhat the same across the board and most political parties. A nomination process is comes down to putting your name forward, recruiting people to vote for you and making sure they show up to vote for you. It's a numbers game, you need to make sure you have more people at that meeting. Now I know the Ontario Liberal Party is doing virtual meetings. So instead of going to a physical location, because we're in the COVID era, so having more people sign up online, signing in during the voting period and voting for you. It's, it's as simple as that. There's a lot of stuff that leads up to and building up that process. But that's essentially what a nomination process is. If somebody is interested in running, the first thing I'd advise them to do if they haven't is visit the political parties website. I know there's a section on the Ontario Liberal Party's website about the nomination process. There's a nominations Commissioner, it tells you a little bit about her role and what she's doing. And then there's the package. So there's an information package about becoming a candidate. There's also an application form. I think it's about 50 something pages, it's a fairly lengthy form on sign up, but that's definitely your initial steps.
Darren Anderson 09:31
So Ryan, am I to understand that the decision about who gets nominated isn't made by people smoking cigars in a back room, but it's a pretty transparent process, and folks should feel a little bit more comfortable engaging with it than maybe what they think about when they think about this, this component of potentially considering running for public office.
Ryan Singh 09:54
No, politics has changed significantly. I mean, don't get me wrong. There are at times When the leader can add his or her discretion, appoint a candidate to a riding and we can talk about that. But you know, in the majority of cases, it's an open democratic process where if Ryan Singh wants to run in a nomination, and he signs up 1500 people and 1000 people show up, and that's more than his opponents, he wins that race. So it's simply It's hard work. It's about going out there recruiting people. And I mean, good luck to the candidates knocking on doors right now. Because I can imagine on a trip Well, I know for a fact, typically people don't like to open their doors, but during this period, it's a lot more challenging. But yeah, in my view, it's a fairly democratic open process. Not a lot of guys sitting in the back rooms anymore with cigars.
Chris Caputo 10:52
So along this nomination campaign, so it's clearly you're signing up members, potentially new members, or convincing current members of the party. How in your experience, how does this nomination campaign different from kind of the general election campaign,
Ryan Singh 11:08
so it is, it's absolutely completely different, I don't even call it a campaign. In my view, it's a recruitment drive, you're recruiting people to come in and vote for you. If you simply have more people that will vote for you on that day. Because you've signed them up part of a membership, a part of this club, the political party, then you when. Whereas a campaign, you knock on doors, and you're trying to talk to all voters in a general election, and you're not necessarily signing them up to join the political party, they're a Canadian citizen, they have the right to vote. What's also a little bit different about that, too, is, you know, when you sign somebody up for a political party, you kind of know that they're committed, they're probably going to come out and vote for you, they fill out that membership form. Whereas if you're knocking on a door during a general campaign, and somebody says, you know, week one of that campaign, I'm voting for you and voting for your political party. But then a big news story breaks, you know, their thought, their perception, how they plan to vote on that might change dramatically. So you know, and your bucket of people that you're going to reach first, in a general campaign versus nomination campaign is two completely different buckets. One thing I do want to point out about the Ontario Liberal Party, because I was involved in this - is membership. So the Ontario Liberal Party eliminated membership fees on July 1 of this year. And that was in an effort to get more people involved. I actually chaired consultations across the province to discuss, you know, how do we break down barriers? How do we get more people to not just sign up to participate, but to also put their names forward. And we heard from a lot of young people, a lot of women and a lot of people from ethno cultural groups and people who we want to attract to be candidates in the party. And the biggest thing was, if membership was 10, or 20, or $30, that was a physical barrier for some people. You know, there might be some people where $10 in life might not seem like a lot of money, but for some people that is, and that shouldn't be a limitation for their involvement. So we decided, when I was on the party's executive, that we would move forward with eliminating membership fees. And I think the response has been really good. A lot of new members have joined the party and participated. And we've elected a lot of youth and a lot of women so far to, to the party's list of candidates for 2022.
Chris Caputo 13:46
Well, that's great to hear. And let's say you're not acclaimed in a riding, and you do have a number of people competing for force for position, give us an idea of how much it might cost a potential candidate to run a successful nomination.
Ryan Singh 14:05
So, you know, this is a really tough question, narrowing down cost of the campaign, because I really think it's about where you are, geographically how competitive your party's gonna be. So if you are running in the Liberal party nomination in a Scarborough riding Markham Peel Region where the liberals have a tendency to win, you're probably going to be one facing more people, you're probably going to have to do more outreach, you're probably going to have to, you know, feed more volunteers, you know, get more flyers at doors, sort of all the costs associated with running a recruitment campaign. So you could be looking, I know, one campaign in Scarborough would be about $80,000 for the nomination alone. Whereas if you're running in, in a contested race, in a riding where the Liberal Party, for example, might not be, you know, one The top two parties might not even ever have a chance of winning, but you're still in a contested race, you're probably going to spend far less, really, because you need less resources, you will need to recruit less people. So it varies in terms of how competitive it is. And of course, there's caps in terms of how much you can spend and raised during the campaign period.
Chris Caputo 15:26
Darren Anderson 15:28
So, Ryan, you know, one of our listeners listens to this podcast says, Okay, I want to run they run they successfully get nominated in a specific riding. What happens then? What support do they get from the party? I mean, they don't know how to run a campaign. Is there training available? Like what is the party do if anything, to support a candidate, particularly a candidate that might be running for the first time?
Ryan Singh 15:53
Yeah, it that varies very much based on the party and its ability to function. So if you're a smart, smaller political party, you're not going to have that many resources to support your candidates. If you're a larger political party, if you're in government, you're going to have not just a lot more resources and a lot larger party apparatus. But you're also going to have, you know, a number of political staff who are also going to support those candidates. Generally speaking, most parties do provide, you know, sort of the bare necessities messaging, some tools on fundraising, you know, they might provide them some insight in terms of what they can do. I know with the Ontario Liberal Party and the federal party, they do candidate college. So, you know, they take away all the candidates, I don't know if they're going to be in person anymore. But you know, they come away, locked them in a room for a few days, and they go through everything from door knocking, to talking about policy to managing and running your campaign. A lot of candidates will find that once you are nominated, and let's say if you went through a really easy nomination process, you will have to likely spend a lot of time and effort setting up your own campaign infrastructure. So finding a campaign manager, getting a campaign office, building a local team, all of that is up to you. I mean, essentially, if you want to run to represent the community, you should be trying to build and establish your own little organization in that community to continue building and outreaching further to voters.
Darren Anderson 17:28
That's really interesting. That makes a lot of sense. Okay, so turning, turning a little bit. So many folks with a stem background, honestly tend to feel a little bit disconnected from political parties, Chris mentioned earlier seems kind of opaque and we want to pull back the curtain and make it a little bit more approachable. If somebody wanted to start dipping their toe into party politics, how would you suggest someone start to start to get engaged with a political party.
Ryan Singh 17:57
So there's, there's so many different ways you can get engaged with a political party. And, you know, I've done a party executive. But prior to that, I simply just went to a campaign office when I was, you know, 15 or 16 years old and said, I'm here to knock on doors. And that was my first experience, I went with the candidate, we knocked on doors for a couple of hours. And that's how I got involved. And that's how I realized I enjoy politics, I enjoy going to the door, and talking to people. So you know, I think some people get into politics and think that they need to start sort of at this very high level, you know, policy development, let's have conversations and don't get me wrong, that's really important. But if you really want to have a good sense of things, and a good sense of how, you know, the basics of politics, go in and just say I'm here to volunteer, give me anything you want me to do. And whether that's putting up signs on a front lawn, getting a list and doing phone calls, making donor letters, these are all elements that are really critical to successful campaign, and they need to be learned. And they make you a better candidate if you've done it yourself for another person. So I would say I can't even think when the next election is at the top of my head, we'll probably have a Federal Campaign next year. But don't quote me on that. But if we do if anybody's interested in running, I would say go help your local candidate. The other thing I'd advise to a lot of political parties have partisan seminars, conferences, go as a delegate. Now, you can't do that in person. So a lot of them are turning to online sessions. As I said, when I was a secretary for the Ontario Liberal Party, I chaired consultations across the province. And we actually had a lot of people who said that that that interaction was their first time seeing how a political party operates or participating in a political party meeting simply because It was online, it wasn't in a city center at a conference building. But they were able to sign on from the comfort of their living room. So I would advise people to look out for opportunities in the political party that they're, they're affiliated with, or want to be affiliated with, and connect that way. Another method, I would suggest that people is, if your local MP / MPP is associated with a political party, you wouldn't get involved with reach out to them, you might not be able to do so through their community office, which has to remain nonpartisan, but most of them have EDAs, those are electoral district associations. In the Ontario Liberal Party, we actually call those PLAs, provincial liberal associations. That's another way you can get involved. So those are local boards, they're sort of essentially chapters of the political party in every riding, they have a president, a secretary, a treasurer, and you know, and they build that infrastructure between elections, to then make sure that hopefully, they are successful next campaign. So taking on a role by sitting on that board, signing up to be the secretary, fundraising chair, these are small ways that you could get involved and get a feel for things. I know people who, who test that sort of stuff out, and they realize this is not for them. And then I see some people who, you know, and some of my friends from university, I remember dragging them to some of my young liberal meetings, and they really got involved and they really got engaged, and some of them went to work on for cabinet ministers and prime ministers. So it's, um, you know, if you start a very small stage, get a taste of it, you can build up and work your way up.
Chris Caputo 21:46
Yeah, that's, that's a lot. There are a lot of opportunities to get involved. No, no, that's good. That's, it's great for our listeners, you know, there's, there's not just one singular path, you can, you can, you know, make your own path to whatever party you are interested in. But I do want to flip the script a bit. And we asked, you know, previously, how can people with a stem background get engaged in parties? What do you think different political parties can do to better engage with STEM educated folks are scientists and engineers?
Ryan Singh 22:21
Well, I think the party leadership, the party as a whole has to embrace science. Um, you know, if you have a political party, that sort of adverse to taking science advice and, and listening to scientists, then you know, they're definitely on the wrong path for that. I think most political parties in Ontario, or Canada, tend to want to listen to scientists, in terms of how they can practically open up the doors a little bit more. And we talked about this, you know, opening up doors and politics, they need to actually find meaningful ways of interacting and engaging with members of the STEM community. So whether it's policy consultation, stakeholder involvement, you know, I think it's I think it, I think the onus on the party here is to set up meaningful dialogue that's non partisan and not political. Talking about real issues that might affect people. You see with Joe Biden, for example, in the US doing that on, you know, when I saw his COVID-19 Task Force, I was expecting a couple of political persons on there, but it was it was all doctors on and many of them who are leading on different fronts, whereas the outgoing president had, he had his vice president. So it was a very political mindset to begin from in the chairman. So I think it's about how do you engage? How do you listen and the respect you show to people in the science community. I guess there's no easy answer to how do you bring people into the political sphere, who might not see it as a place for them, right. So just establishing if you want to call it a safe space, a safe space where they feel comfortable to share their views, share their perspectives and expertise, and know that that expertise and that vision, and that knowledge is actually going to lead to something because I'm the type of person that if I'm going to place and I'm going to offer my advice or expertise, but then the door is going to close and it's not going to go anywhere. You sort of not you don't really see that as being useful. So, you know, making sure that that conversation carries through and actually trickles down to policy decisions. I think that's one first step that political parties can and many of them are taking, but can they do better than absolutely everybody can do better on that front.
Chris Caputo 24:50
Yeah, thanks for that answer. Ryan. That was really insightful. So again, I want to change topics just a little bit and talk about your time at Queen's Park. As you've mentioned, you know, you've been heavily involved with the Ontario Liberal Party. And so some of our listeners are curious about, you know, actually how legislation is crafted and how, you know, could having more elected scientists and engineers impact, you know how this legislation is crafted.
Ryan Singh 25:21
So we could probably do an entire show on how legislation is, is crafted. So some people might know or you said at the onset, I worked in the whip's office. But just for your listeners who don't know what the whip's office is, what we do, essentially, is we manage the legislative agenda of the house, the chamber. And we also work with all the MPPs and ministers to make sure that they carry through on their legislative responsibilities. So it's knowing who's on which committee, you know, who's speaking of the house, to what Bill, coordinating all that making sure everybody knows when there's a vote, because especially if it's a confidence vote, you don't want to be short members in the house that could cause an election. Um, but my current job as a Government Relations consultant, you know, I work with organizations all the time who want to either turn an idea into policy or legislation, or they want or they see a policy or legislation, and they want to either impact it by changing it in a certain way. I guess, policy, legislation, regulations can stem from a number of areas. So whether it was a campaign commitment, so you know, the leader was traveling the province, they saw an issue, and they want to tackle it that made it into that party's campaign document. Sometimes there's mandatory regulatory reviews built into legislation. And that trigger is mandatory review consultation, new legislation to update and modernize with the times. Sometimes you have an ad hoc issue or crisis. We're living in one right now, how much policy was just created last few months that we probably never imagined would have happened in our lifetime. And then, of course, there's lobbying from organizations, advocacy groups, etc, lobbyists themselves, working with people who have different interests. So you know, once the idea is out there, the concepts out there from whichever place it comes from, that those concepts, those ideas, let's say it's accepted generally by the political decision makers, it's likely it's going to go through a process of consultation at the appropriate ministry, they want to do their own reviews, they have to do cost analysis, they have to do stakeholder impact, because policy could positively benefit some people in some aspects and in that sector, but other people could be negatively impacted. So good government would actually want to know both sides before they made a fulsome decision. Once let's say we get through that process, and that process can take months to a year. It then goes to the minister's office, the Minister of the day has to make sure he or she likes it. It jives with their political agenda goes through Premier's office, the Premier's office or Prime Minister's Office also has to they'll do their political checks. They make sure it fits into their timeline, their government's narrative. There's a number of cabinet committees that legislation would go to and legislation as a concept before it's drafted into like, what it actually looks like. So if you go to a policy Cabinet Committee, and just for your viewers who don't know, a Cabinet Committee is made up of members of that government ministers, a few backbenchers or it could just be a cabinet committee of just ministers, they review it, it then will probably go to caucus, then we'll give their input. These are the elected officials that are part of that government. So they want to have some say. And, you know, as you're going through all of that, I mean, again, I said it could take couple months to a few years. Or it can happen in a couple of weeks, depending on the urgency and need of legislation. You'll have changes, amendments, you'll have input, during the consultation process to there's going to be opportunity likely for stakeholders to also give their input, you know, so if somebody Elect STEM, for example, sees a piece of legislation, or an idea that they don't like, you know, you guys could write, go to an oral presentation, participate in a consultation and give better suggestions. So that's sort of the evolution how you go to concept to sort of action and then it goes to the house.
Chris Caputo 29:44
I like the Poli Sci 101 lesson we just got. Thank you.
Darren Anderson 29:49
And it sounds like there's an opportunity for scientists or engineers to impact the process all the way through not just as elected officials, but as you note, scientists that are interested in science specific political issues on the personal side or that, you know, have a particular insight due to their training or background? It sounds like it's a pretty collaborative and participatory process if folks want to get involved.
Ryan Singh 30:12
Oh, absolutely. I mean, there. I mean, first and foremost, any every government, every ministry will have the appropriate personnel to review files. So, you know, the Ministry of Health, it will have, you know, a team of doctors that will also work with the minister's office to develop that policy, you know, it goes when it goes to the consultation stage, you know, they're going to consult with the appropriate you to hope at least they would consult this maybe times when they don't, but they should consult with the right persons from the different sectors that would be impacted. So, you know, if it's something that requires a true scientific lens, when you're making a decision, yeah, absolutely. One, the government does have embedded those people throughout their ministries throughout the bureaucracy, but then to there is opportunities for people who are outside of the government that might have that background, to also offer input at different stages.
Darren Anderson 31:10
Okay, great. So we've covered the nomination process, we've covered the impact that scientists or engineers can have on the political process. Now, we'd like to spend a little bit of time talking about the campaign. So you know, if you've got if somebody is running a campaign for the first time, in your view, what are the top three or four things that a candidate should really be focused on in order to have the best chances of success?
Ryan Singh 31:35
So I manage a couple of campaigns and I tell every time I meet with a candidate, there's three things you need, volunteers, voters and funding. If you don't have one of those components, you can't have a successful campaign. You need volunteers to go knock on doors, drop flyers, make phone calls, raise money. Simply said, one candidate can't do that all in themselves, there is a lot of onus on the candidate to lead that. But you need bodies in there to help you to be supportive. You need voters, which is obvious, but you need to go out you need to identify who's supporting you, you need to make sure that they're going to go vote, they're committed to vote on election day. And then you need funding. So elections aren't cheap. You know, there's a lot of talk about the money in politics, and I was watching a documentary about the money, American politics, it's unbelievable, how much is spent. But you do need money. To have a campaign office phone lines, internet, print flyers delivered flyers, I mentioned earlier, you got to feed your volunteers, you don't want people coming and helping and then you can't even give them a bottle of water. So there's very simple basic things that you need money for in politics. That would be my three top things, every candidate every prospective candidate should make sure that they have,
Darren Anderson 32:57
okay, and on the funding piece in particular, I mean, obviously, probably similar to the nomination, it'll vary depending on the riding and how competitive it is, but can you give us a sense of how much money somebody is going to need to raise in order to have a successful campaign.
Ryan Singh 33:13
So again, it depends on where you where you are, and what your population is. So in Ontario, um, in the in the election financing act, there is a ratio in terms of how much you can spend. So it's $1 35 times the amount of voters you have. So if you have I wrote this down, if you have 80,000, voters times $1.35, you can spend $108,000. So you know, you know what your max cap is, you strive to raise that much money, you strive to spend that much money, because you're putting all your efforts in, I would say generally in a competitive race, because I've managed a couple that were fairly competitive, somewhere between 75 to 90, is reasonable. But if you have the cap, and you have an ability to spend a little bit more, and you have the ability to raise that money, then then do it. I always say to my campaign teams, and my candidates that we have a set amount of days, usually 28 days in a provincial writ period. And during that time period, we are going to do everything possible to win. Because I don't want a 9pm on Election Day, have any regrets or to say we lost by 10 votes, because we didn't canvass this one street or because we didn't put up this one extra flyer. Of course, you have to manage a campaign within your means. The number of people you have the number of the dollar amount in your bank accounts, but you give it your all.
Chris Caputo 34:50
You touch on these three important things, volunteers, voters and funding is the candidate solely responsible for these things, and this comes back to the topic of campaign staff to like, does the party at this stage of the game help with, you know, appointing a seasoned campaign manager or provide some volunteers or funding or things like this, or are you all on your own?
Ryan Singh 35:13
It very much varies. It depends on your party and their status at that time. So if your party's in government, and they have a team of political staff, likely a lot of that political staff will be given leave, and they'll be out campaigning, if your party doesn't have that option, your candidates are likely going to have to go out and find their own their own campaign manager, their own team. I mentioned earlier about provincial liberal associations PLAs, you know, they they're essentially the body the institution between elections, as should be building up towards that building up in terms of funding, building up in terms of volunteer base, potentially recruiting a campaign manager recruiting that campaign team, a lot of candidates will come with people that they know, whether they went through a contested nomination process or not. But you know, I've been approached by a couple of people through word of mouth that oh Ryan Singh manages campaigns. So, you know, a little bit of the onus, especially if it's a smaller party or party that doesn't have a lot of resources will be on the candidate to bring that together. That's, that's definitely one of the challenges. But in my view, it's also one of the sort of tests that it takes to be to survive in politics. Can you build that team? Or that team and it's successful? Then yeah, you'd probably make a really good MPP.
Chris Caputo 36:41
The last thing I want to ask about the campaign portion is, you know, you mentioned you've been door knocking since you were 15 years old. To me, that seems like door knocking is quite daunting, and like anxiety builds up inside me when I think about this. So how did you get over any anxiety related to this, like, what any advice on this,
Ryan Singh 37:03
so if you can't tell by now, I have no issue who talk I have no people, but I can totally understand that, you know, for a lot of people, especially when you don't grew up doing that from a young age, or you work in a sector where, you know, you might be a scientist working in a lab, and you don't necessarily have to talk to strangers and, and present yourself. The one tip I will say is, practice makes perfect, nobody's gonna be good at it necessarily the first time, but the more you do it, you become better and better. you refine your message, you know, what you want to say, when I train candidates or campaign volunteers, I tell them, you have about 10 seconds, when the door opens, to make an impression. Don't waste that time. Hopefully, you're lucky enough that the person's not gonna say, Okay, thanks and close the door, you'll get a little bit more time out of it. You have to there's three things I always tell people, you have to stay, when you knock on a door, you have to see your candidates name, the political party, and the date of the election, because of the door closes. If that voter knows that, you know, a volunteer for john smith, of the Ontario Liberal Party came to my door about the election on September 15. That's all they need to know. That's all you want them to know, essentially, go vote for john smith, Liberal Party candidate, September 15. So it's about refinement. But it takes some practice, between elections when I go back to knock on doors. And even when I'm managing a campaign, and I'm stuck in the office, you do become a little rusty, and take a little bit of getting back out there. If you just have to think about it as a normal conversation, a normal person. And I always say to people, you know, we're not selling you anything. We're just simply informing you, we're here to inform you about a candidate who you could choose to represent you, which is your democratic right. You know, I think it's the power of what you're doing at that door. That's the ultimate driver, the ultimate importance, is you're not asking them to sign up for anything, you're not asking them to buy cookies, you're not even getting them to sign a document in petition of something, you're just saying, here's one of your options. And when people say they're not interested, I say that's fine. But I just want to make sure you're informed. Or if somebody says I'm voting for the candidate of a different party, that's fine with me, I actually prefer hearing that and hearing that somebody is going to go out and vote. But I also say to them, I just want to make sure you have information about my candidate, because you might take the time to review it and you might realize my candidate is better than who you actually might be intending to vote for.
Darren Anderson 39:48
This has been incredibly inspiring Ryan and certainly I hope makes the political process and getting involved a lot more accessible to our listeners. So really, really appreciate your insight. So you know, we'll turn it over to you. Is there something you want to tell us about that you're currently working on that you're excited about today?
Ryan Singh 40:09
Well, the one thing I'm working on that I'm excited about is my Christmas shopping. What's good about it, I can do it from the comfort of my living room now more than ever before. But I do want to say what you guys are doing is absolutely important. I mentioned this earlier about diversity and politics. And I truly believe that when you have more perspectives around the table, more viewpoints, it just makes better policy, better decisions for the people, it's going to impact. And, you know, I was talking to a friend about doing this podcast prior to this, and I'm not going to take credit for this analogy. But she said, if you think about it, all of those alien sci fi movies with all these military generals around the table trying to decide what to do? Well, when the scientist comes into the room to give advice, or when the scientist is there saying this is how we're going to blow up the asteroid, there's a bit of a relief, there's a response, there's an answer, there's a trust factor there. And I've seen it time and time again, in my work, when we've had a doctor, for example, speak on a piece of legislation in the house. They bring a level of not just experience in and knowledge on that topic, but it's a level of credibility. Right? So Ryan Singh can talk about the health impacts of wind turbines. But I'm not a medical scientist, I'm not a medical doctor. But if a doctor who was a physician who was on, you know, leading a regional health unit, can speak to that, I would actually trust her insight a lot more than my own insight. You know, I bring my own expertise on different topics, but that person brings their own expertise to so it's absolutely important that we encourage more scientists, more people from the STEM community to run, it's more, it's important to encourage a lot more people to run from all different groups, all different organizations. But for your purpose. I think what you guys are doing are great is great. And I'm looking forward to potentially working with you guys some more and, you know, getting some more scientists elected in the next election.
Darren Anderson 42:19
Wonderful. Well, thank you, Ryan for spending time with us today on Periodically Political. It was fascinating, and we really appreciate all the insight that you've given our politics, curious listeners. For our listeners. If you liked this episode, we encourage you to rate and review this podcast wherever you get your podcasts. It really helps new listeners discover this show and for us to get the message out to people with a STEM background that are interested in politics in Canada.