Wikipedia describes riding associations as follows:
In Canadian politics a riding association, officially called an electoral district association, is the basic unit of a political party, that is it is the party's organization at the level of the electoral district, or "riding". Major political parties attempt to have a riding association in each constituency though, usually, these associations are more active in ridings where the party has an elected Member of Parliament or has a reasonable chance of electing an MP in the future, and less active in ridings where the party's prospects have historically been poor.
Most riding associations have an elected executive and attempt to have activities for local party members at regular intervals. At a minimum, riding associations hold an Annual General Meeting to elect its executive and meetings to elect delegates to national and regional party policy conventions. Riding associations are most active during election campaigns when they are responsible for organizing the riding's election campaign. In addition, the party constitution usually allows each riding association to hold a nomination meeting which selects the party's local candidate. However, some party constitutions allow the leader to bypass the riding association and appoint a candidate of his or her choosing.
The London-Fanshawe Federal NDP Riding Association is a very active one. We are proud to have supported MP Irene Mathyssen when she was first elected in 2006, and in her two successful re-election campaigns. We are accountable to our members, who elect our riding executive at an AGM typically held in January or February. Our main purpose is the election and continued on-going support of our member of parliament, but we are active all year in promoting the interests of the party, working to strengthen our community, and supporting other local, provincial and federal NDP organizations.
We typically have committees and task forces that organize and carry out specific functions such as fundraising, community events and social gatherings. Volunteers assist us in between-election canvassing and in various special events during the year. During elections we are dependent on our many committed and energetic volunteers to help us mount an effective campaign. There is much organizing and preparation to be done as an election approaches, and, especially when there is a minority government, we have to be election ready at all times.
Note that our riding association is run solely by volunteers. For some of us, such as the executive, this is a major time commitment, likely our most important way to give back to our community. Other volunteers help out during specific times, especially during an election, for whatever time they can give us. The NDP is proud of its dependence on volunteers. We are a fundamentally grass-roots party.
Are you interested in becoming more involved with the London-Fanshawe Federal NDP Riding Association? Go to our volunteer page, or send a message through our contact page. We would be glad to discuss how you can join us as proud members of "team Mathyssen".