Guest Post: Jackie Bonisteel

One week to go until Election Day, one more week to get candidates talking about Darfur! You may have heard Dion mention Darfur briefly during the leaders’ debates. It can be disappointing to constantly see the crisis tagged on as an after-thought to discussions of Afghanistan, but at least it seems to be the primary after-thought.

In truth, Darfur has the potential to be much more than a backburner foreign policy issue. I’ve been convinced of this after seeing the overwhelmingly positive response to our Speak the Name election campaign.

In recent weeks, Stand emailed packages explaining our goals to all candidates across the country. Since it’s so easy for email to get lost in the inundation during such a busy time, we’ve been extremely impressed by the volume of response. Candidates of all stripes (though Liberals, Greens and NDPs in much larger numbers than Tories…) have expressed support, explained their Party’s platform, and asked how they can help. The names of all these individuals are continually being listed on – check it out to see which candidates in your riding are speaking the name.

The election is a prime opportunity to push Darfur onto the political agenda – let’s use this last week for all it’s worth. Here are some ideas on how to contribute:

– Attend all-candidate debates (there will be tons of them this week!) and try to get a question in on Darfur (or even just one on foreign policy going beyond Afghanistan!)
– Call up the campaign office of a supportive candidate and offer to volunteer for a few hours on election day. Be sure to mention that you’re willing to help out because of that candidate’s vocal support for Stand and Darfur.
– Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper and explain that you think Darfur ought to be an election issue.

Many thanks to everyone who has been supporting Speak the Name. The hard work is paying off, and hopefully we’ll continue to see the effects post-election.

PS. Check out Much on Demand tomorrow at 4 PM to see a Stand’er from Ryerson asking Mr. Dion a question about Darfur!

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