The Coronation

Ray Rivers was seen pontificating with a bunch of Burlington Liberals Saturday morning before he headed into Toronto for the Liberal Party of Canada Showcase where the six candidates running for the leadership of the party were giving their final speeches.  We asked Ray to give us a first person report on the event.  Ray, still with a belly full of fire for politics, reports:

By Ray Rivers.

TORONTO,ON. April 9, 2013  I could feel the mood as I descended the stairs from old Union Station to the near vacuous bowel of a structure, that is the Toronto Convention Centre.  Trudeau volunteers were everywhere, waving their skinny balloons, and making rallying noises.  They were mostly young people, which was so delightful to see.  The woman on the TV the night before, told us the Liberals would have trouble filling the seats at this event, and she was right.  The rows of seats were dispersed as best they could to disguise that the attendance was not what had been hoped.

At $150. per ticket, for which didn’t even get a bottle of water, let alone coffee and a doughnut, the low turnout was not a surprise but a disappointment.  There was this overly lengthy tribute to departing interim leader Bob Rae – sure, he deserves  recognition, but hey, I thought we were coming to listen to the candidates.  Then the organizers allowed twenty-five minutes for each of the butt-numbing speeches.   They were all good, of course, though I have to admit that I ran off to an ad hoc meeting and missed the last two speeches.  But then, like the rest of the crowd there, I was pretty sure that it wouldn’t matter.  Somebody in the Party needs to take a serious look at how they plan these events.

Joyce Murray had the most effective video and gave a very good speech.  She cautiously and slowly walked the crowd through her vision of co-operating with the NDP and Greens in order to beat Harper at the polls next time.  But it is a complicated matter, and so innovative, that I doubt some of the regular folks got it – or felt comfortable with it.  Joyce spoke of her commitment to small business and the environment and I couldn’t help thinking what a brilliant environment minister she would make in the next Liberal government.

The country watched as another Trudeau headed towards the leadership of a political party

Then came Justin, with a huge gaggle of groupies, Trudeau scarves casually around their necks, clapping their skinny balloons and chanting, as their hopeful gracefully climbed onto the stage and proceeded to inspire everyone with his speech.  He was confident and positive and delivered his well-written speech with passion and power.  Knowing the question was in everyone’s mind he commented about his father, saying that his campaign was about Pierre, then added just as it was about all of the parents (of the younger of us, I guess) – that it was about restoring Canada to the glory days before Stephen Harper screwed it up.  Perhaps he was just anticipating the Tory attack-ads coming the Monday following the vote count, but it certainly struck a chord with me – nice twist on a theme.

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