I decided to take an early weekend and continue working on my graduate thesis from the comfort of the parents’ home in Milton. The Halton CPC nomination was also on Thursday, so I got home a couple of hours earlier than I had originally planned.
I took a cab to the Kingston bus station on Counter Street only to discover that half of the streets on the way were being torn up, therefore the ride was to cost a bit more than usual. I asked the cabbie for his thoughts about the current political situation in Ottawa (cabbies are a good measure of the political chit-chat of the general public. Cabbies and barbershop employees are my top two for measuring the ‘public pulse’). To my disappointment, the cabbie was a “life-long” Liberal, but I asked him how he was going to vote anyways. “Well, Martin’s a crook, Harper scares everyone (my eyes roll), and Layton, well Layton will never get my vote… silly NDPers.” I asked him if he was going to vote for a crook and he responded by telling me that he wasn’t sure if he was going to vote at all.
I asked the cabbie, since he said that he was a ‘life-long Liberal’ if he’s a member of the party. “Oh no, I’ve just voted Liberal my whole life”. I shook my head to discover that he had such loyalty to a party that has given him nothing and Canadians little over the past 50 years. I guess you have to be one of those special “life-long / past-flirtation-with-separatism” types of Quebec Liberals in order to get any benefit. The cabbie indicated to me that he was probably going to stay home on election day. I believe that this will be the case with most ‘life-long Liberals’.
The bus was a pleasant ride, except that I forgot to charge my iPod. Damn. But we got to Toronto earlier than expected.
After getting to Milton, I headed over to the Halton CPC nomination contest. The hall was packed with members. A Halton CPC board member told me that this was the greatest number of members they have ever had out to a meeting since Otto Jelinek was running. The momentum is definitely on the side of the Conservative Party and I tried to imagine how an analogous Liberal nomination meeting would appear.
I’ve been to a couple of nomination meetings in my time and even ran in one of them. However, besides the free coffee, free cookies and supporter buttons, I noticed a few new tricks. Most notably, Garth Turner brought his own camera crew to give the appearance of press excitement in his potential candidacy. The other notable stunt was D’Arcy Keene who marched in after a flag-bearer and bagpipes! It made for an entertaining night.
Fellow Blogging Tory, Brent Colbert had the most honest and touching speech of the night (his young daughter broke free from his wife’s care and walked up the stage to grab her father’s hand). It wasn’t planned at all but I’m sure it got him a few votes!
The other candidates gave speeches which I thought were heavy on self-praise. Note to future nomination contestants: if you want people to know about how successful you are, let somebody introduce you and let them say that you’re the president of a bank / rich beyond our dreams and running to serve us instead of yourself / personal friend of Brian Mulroney etc. (just examples) When a candidate does this themselves, it reflects poorly.
When all of the ballots were counted, Garth Turner was victorious on the second ballot. He gave a great speech and convinced me that Gary Carr would have a tough battle on his hands to keep his seat.
Afterwards, I went out with Brent and his team to Ned Devine’s for a couple of pints to celebrate the nomination meeting and to celebrate another step in the Liberal decline in Ontario.
After attending Thursday night’s nomination meeting, Stephen Harper can be assured that ‘life-long Conservatives’ and indeed many ‘new Conservatives’ will not be staying home on election day but rather will be participating in restoring trust in our injured Canadian democracy.
A good night for Conservatives!