Last night at the CIJA dinner, I met former Liberal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and former leadership candidate Joe Volpe.
The conversation went like this:
ST: “Hi Mr. Volpe, my name’s Stephen Taylor”
JV: “[shakes my hand] Hello. [turns to return to original conversation after momentary distraction]”
JV: “[pensively] Stephen Taylor… Steeephennn Tayyylor…”
JV: “STEPHEN TAYLOR! SON OF A BI…!”
ST: “Sorry Joe, what was that? Son of a what?”
JV: “Son of a bee… yeah… son of a bee”
ST: “Yeah, nice to meet you too”
And that’s my general recollection of the words exchanged when I first met Joe Volpe. Not bad, eh?
We then chatted blogging, he complained how personally nasty some bloggers are to him (he acknowledged that I’ve always kept my criticism in the realm of fair comment), and we horsed around for a couple of pictures.
Volpe tries to put me in a headlock. I react defensively, but Volpe’s from the mean streets of Eglinton–Lawrence and he clearly is about to school me the art of gritty Liberal streetfighting…
A word of advice, never criticize Volpe’s donors…
(click to enlarge) “Punk blogger… this is for little Jimmy… this one’s for little Susie…”
Dion vs. Ignatieff on the final ballot. These are two candidates that we as Conservatives can run well against in the next election. Many thought that Rae was the preferred candidate but what I gather, Rae was the Conservative’s most feared candidate. It’s argued that it’s been long enough for Ontario to forget about Rae. Also, Rae would have polarized an electoral race left vs. right and right now, at least since the CPC is a minority government (elected with about 36% of the vote), the majority of the votes lie outside of the Conservative camp.
I’m certain that Ignatieff was Conservatives’ most preferred candidate to face as what makes Iggy controversial is indistinguishable from what makes Harper controversial to some Canadians (Afghanistan and anglospheric foreign policy). Ignatieff also suffers from foot-in-mouth disease and there are plenty of gaffes that he’s made in the past and will likely make in the future. Iggy is the most conservative candidate and you might as well vote for the conservative in power. Further, the Liberals have always played the anti-American card on the Conservatives. An Ignatieff victory would have nullified this old Liberal standby.
Out of the top four, Kennedy would have been the dream candidate due to his inexperience and alienation of Quebec (his lack of french and his “nation” position). Kennedy though was a bit of a long shot.
Out of the top eight candidates Volpe would have been our favourite candidate. It’s not even necessary to explain why.
Dion is the grassroots candidate that Liberal party members have promoted to tell the party’s old guard that they will not have another leader thrust upon them.
Dion’s schtick is the environment. This isn’t as big of an issue (yet) and it’s really the main thing that he ran on. Dionistas (or Dionkeys as their opponents here call them) are waving green Dion signs to contrast against the Liberal red. Green may as well be a safe apolitical colour that Dion could use. However, Dion’s record on the environment is mostly hot air. He banged that gavel at the UNFCCC to be sure, however, GHG emissions under the Liberal government rose over 25%. Further, conservatives won’t lose any of their base to Dion because of any claim of environmental credentials.
Dion also isn’t the type of leader that can charge a base of support and lead them into battle. Stephane Dion is a quiet intellectual who would seem to shy to be sucessful in rallying the troops and the swing voter.
The final ballot results are coming in. I’ll update in a bit.
I’ve heard that the Ignatieff camp is quite angry. Their delegates didn’t deliver. Iggy received just north of 29% of the vote on the first ballot. Ignatieff was expecting about 35% of the delegates and quite a few ex-officios. The delegates didn’t deliver and this may be because a few didn’t bother to show up to vote or they spoiled their ballots.
I’m also hearing is that Volpe’s people are going Ignatieff. Who would have thought that Volpe had the most disloyal delegates?
Martha Hall Findlay did much better than expected last night. It is rumoured that she received quite a few ex-officio votes so that she’d have a softer loss.