Election 2015 Recap: Mobilizing Your Base for Change

Sheryl Fink, Director, Canadian Wildlife Issues, International Fund for Animal Welfare
Res Krebs, Political Strategist, International Fund for Animal Welfare

Candidates are truly listening to their constituents during federal elections, and this provides a unique opportunity to bring animal protection issues forward and show that voters care about animal welfare.  By offering support for candidates that take a positive stance on animal welfare issues, and demonstrating the political power to direct votes towards those candidates, NGOs may increase the number of Members of Parliament that will take political action to advance the interests of animals.

In 2015, IFAW undertook a multi-pronged campaign during the election period. First, a national poll was conducted on Canadians’ attitudes towards animal welfare. Next, an online survey asked federal candidates to state their position on five animal welfare issues. The results were then added to an interactive online database that allowed the Canadian public to identify which candidates in their riding were most concerned about animal welfare issues. After sending a direct message to their preferred candidate pledging their support and thanking them for their favourable position on animal welfare issues, individuals could also choose to volunteer for those candidatesThe results of IFAW’s innovative use of interactive websites and crowdsourcing will be presented, along with notable trends and influences during the campaign.

Key Learnings:
1. Identifying and selecting key ridings and candidates
2. Tactics to engage supporters and mobilize the Canadian public
3. Risks and Opportunities of political activity during an election


Sheryl Fink
As IFAW’s Director of Wildlife Campaigns in Canada, Sheryl works to lead advocacy efforts against wildlife trade and the commercial exploitation of wild animals.  Her primary focus is for the past 18 years has been the campaign to end the East coast commercial seal hunt.

Res (Andreas) Krebs
Res Krebs is a political communications professional based in Toronto. As a campaigner and strategist, Res blends analytical chops and creative juices to produce persuasive and thought-provoking materials supporting IFAW Canada’s campaigns. Res has been instrumental in moving IFAW’s campaign against the commercial seal hunt into Newfoundland, approaching Newfoundlanders as potential allies in ending the hunt once and for all, and producing campaign materials that are palatable to the distinct political appetites of Newfoundlanders.