The journey to serve as Guelph’s federal Member of Parliament (MP) in Ottawa has three stages. First, the Guelph Green Party chooses the person that will represent the party in the election. The selection process is called the “nomination”, and the person selected is the “nominee” (or the “candidate”). Folks seeking the nomination each submit an application to the Party and these are vetted to ensure each prospective candidate is suitable. The nomination hopefuls canvas Party members (and sign up new ones) in hopes that these folks will vote for them. The Party has a nomination meeting, all Guelph Green Party members are invited to vote on their preferred potential nominee, and whoever gets the most votes becomes the official Green party candidate. (Each other party selects their candidate in a similar way, assuming they are running a candidate in that riding at all.)
Next the “soft” campaigning begins, as does the waiting. The candidates seek support from the general public, in the form of both votes and donations – this is the campaigning part. As for the waiting part, at some point the government announces the start of the election campaign (called “dropping the writ“), which means the date of the election is officially set, parliament is dissolved, and campaign spending limits come into effect.
Last comes the official campaign period, which is typically about a month and a half (although the 2015 election was a doozy at 78 days). This lasts from the time the writ drops to Election Day, currently expected to be Monday, October 21st. Candidates pull out all the stops for their campaigning, spending limits take effect, and pollsters and pundits do their stuff. Come Election Day, ballots are cast, everyone bites their nails, and the winner is announced. To quote the narrator of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “and there was much rejoicing.”