On election day, Nipissing–Timiskaming NDP candidate Scott Robertson, as he often has, reached out to thank his supporters via social media while calling his pandemic federal election campaign "a success."
In the first three years of his tenure as a North Bay city councillor, Robertson has mastered the Facebook Live approach, at times using the interactive video sessions as part soapbox, part sounding board, and a medium by which to deliver his signature "shout-outs" as a means of expressing appreciation to those who have helped out in the community. This has continued in the federal run.
Shortly after the election was called, Robertson opened his campaign with this message: "I want to start a conversation with you about making our communities safer, healthier, and more resilient. What's the most important issue for you?"
Through community engagement at the doorstep, social media messaging, and heartfelt declarations during the debates, the Robertson team can come away from this election feeling they accomplished all that and more.
As of late Monday, trailing Liberal incumbent Anthony Rota and Conservative candidate Steven Trahan, it appears Robertson will not represent the riding in Ottawa but he's got his chin up with an eye to the future.
"We had some big wins during the campaign and we also had some obstacles and barriers during the campaign," Robertson observed. "It's been quite the experience. This is something we are going to have for the rest of our lives."
He added, "We got to stand next to the Speaker of the House and talk about how the government didn't do enough. We got the chance to make powerful people feel uncomfortable — in the name of the people in this district who are suffering. That's something I will never forget, it's like a dream come true for me."
Robertson excelled during the debates, always prepared to speak on all the issues — with extra emphasis on NDP priority social issues such as housing, truth and reconciliation, and pharmacare.
Monday, he reserved the loudest of his shout-outs for the Robertson campaign volunteers and, especially, his "core campaign team," consisting of partner Lindsey and their son, Miles. The family enjoyed dinner at Cecil's on election night with some campaign volunteers, within walking distance of their downtown North Bay home where they returned to watch as results came in.
"We've had this amazing experience together," as a family, Robertson said. "We stuck together and we got through this and we worked hard the whole time. We tried to stay positive the whole time — even though it was an emotional roller coaster."
The quality family time was well-needed, according to Robertson, after a gruelling campaign that saw the NDP candidate travel to the outer reaches of the riding, visiting some municipalities multiple times along the way.
"When we started this campaign, what was important to us was the way we conducted ourselves and the way we maintained our composure," Robertson explained, "and whether Lindsey and I were going to crack under the pressure or whether this was going to cause problems in our relationship or in our household."
They've come out the other side of the campaign intact.
"That was the biggest concern for us, the only thing that indicated a failure for us in this project was if we didn't handle the pressure and let it beat us," he added. "That didn't happen, we're in good spirits."
Robertson is using his experience as a means to encourage others to get involved in the community and increase political engagement.
"It is really important that regular people do this. It's really important that we not just leave these spaces to be filled by the rich, the powerful, the famous. That's not going to help us get where we need to go."