Feline Politicians: An Advocacy Success Story

SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 1:45-2:30PM

SPEAKER: Joseph Popovitch, The Tuxedo Party of Canada

In June 2012, the Tuxedo Party of Canada (a new 'political party') was formed to address the plight of homeless cats in Halifax, Nova Scotia and to advocate for action to help them. To raise awareness, a feline called Tuxedo Stan ran for mayor of Halifax. The campaign engaged discussion/support locally and drew attention worldwide, resulting in financial and political support. Since that time, the Tuxedo Party has also run Earl Grey (Tuxedo Stan's feline brother) in provincial and federal elections to raise awareness on important issues related to animal welfare and to highlight the need for change. In Nova Scotia, the Tuxedo Party was instrumental in having cats, and specific issues related to them, included in the province’s new Animal Protection Act. The Tuxedo Party has gained tens of thousands of followers on social media and continues to raise funds to support the spay/neuter of cats, and speak out on animal welfare issues.

Three Key Learnings:
1. Considerations and campaign planning when running an animal for political office
2. Effective communication strategies for media, candidates and the public
3. How to gain support and allies

Joe Popovitch is a professional presenter, with experience as a health educator and a sales/marketing specialist in medical imaging. He is an animal lover and volunteers for various cat rescue groups. He is also on the Board of Directors of SpayDay HRM and is the designer of the Tuxedo Party graphics and materials.