For a solid week and a half, I have been trying to get an interview with Conservative candidate Marty Burke... And success on this front has been continually elusive.
Shortly after the start of the campaign I sent a short e-mail to the four major campaigns. It basically said who I was and my interest: an interview with the candidate for my blog Guelph Politico, and my column in Echo Weekly. Within 48 hours, three of those four campaigns got back to me. Can you guess who number four was?
When I came back from interviewing Frank Valeriote last Wednesday afternoon, I put in my first call to the Burke campaign office where I reached a volunteer with whom I left my information for Burke communications director Michael Sona. On Thursday I called again and actually reached Sona and asked again for an interview. He said that he would look at the schedule and try and find some time with his candidate. When I again had heard nothing for three days, I started calling again Monday, and I called everyday since.
By the time I called yesterday, the volunteer I talked to on the phone recognized me as someone who had called previously. Well, at least someone remembered me, I thought. I did something else on Thursday to grease the wheels, I posted a message on Andrew Prescott's Facebook wall. Prescott is working on the Burke campaign, and somebody I'm on friendly terms with... At least I thought I was. He didn't respond to my post and seemed to out and out ignore it. Exasperated, I today took the unusual step to visit Burke's office in person.
The York Rd office did not exactly strike me as inviting. I knew where it was easy enough, it was in the building on the corner with all the Conservative campaign signs. The entrance to the office itself is a non-descript blue door (apropos) with a single campaign sign in front. If I had been a more oblivious person, I might have missed it seeing as how most campaign offices you see are in store fronts. Out on York Road, aside from the airstrip, Marty Burke's office is literally the last notable stop on your way out of town. And accessibility? Fuhgeddaboudit! No sidewalks, no obvious entry into the parking lot, and no obvious door into the office.
When I arrived there, I was greeted by an older lady, one of the volunteers, and once again did my pitch. She said she would make sure that Sona got my message, and I left her with one of my cards. I have no reason to doubt these people who I continually leave messages with, this volunteer even flipped through the message book to see that I had indeed phoned on April 13th and left a message. The pink copy was there, the white copy had been torn out and presumably given to Sona.
Before I left the office, a bulletin board caught my eye. Campaign volunteers had pictures on this board and were separated into two categories: one's who have voted already, and one's who have not. The volunteer I had talked to was in the "not" category, and we had a bit of a laugh about it. Sure, I left empty handed again, but I wouldn't call my trip a waste. I met a lovely woman who was giving back to the political process as a campaign volunteer. She's part of the solution, no matter what you may think of the politics of the man or party she's campaigning for.
So I once again return to my office, one candidate short of set. After a solid week and a half of effort, I feel like I should call off my pursuit of a Marty Burke interview, although there's a part of me that wants to keep trying till election day.
To be honest, at this point, I don't even want to interview Burke, but I do however want to be acknowledged. Even if Sona called me and told me to "F*** Off" it would at least be something to talk about. But by not retuning my calls and e-mails, ignoring my requests for an interview, Sona, his campaign, and by proxy Marty Burke himself, are showing me and my readers disrespect and a lack of common courtesy. I know Guelph Politico is not a major media outlet like, say, the Guelph Mercury, but then again, why am I treated as such by other Guelph candidates? I wish I knew the answer. If only I had someone to call who could comment...