Sunday, March 18, 2007

In the Eye of the Political Storm

Well, it's not everyday that I get an opportunity to be a witness to front page news.

Last night my twenty-something daughter and I joined the massive throng of Conservative supporters in Mississauga to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper rally the troops for a possible election which the opposition could force at any time.

The crowd estimates ranged anywhere from 2000 to 5000 depending on the bias of your media source. (Interesting that CBC seems to have picked the low end there.)

I can assure you that there were so many enthusiastic, sweating bodies packed in that massive hall like sardines, that everyone was peeling off as many clothes as possible to cool down. The Prime Minister was visibly perspiring from the heat. I don't recall ever being in a closed environment with that number of fellow human beings at one time.

But no one complained.

There was an excitement in the air as the evening started with Jim Flaherty and Josée Verner warmed up the audience. The Finance Minister is a tremendous speaker; full of Irish wit and charm. Flaherty has definitely not reached his full political potential yet.

The Prime Minister's speech is well documented on various news sources, but I can tell you that he seemed energized by the boisterous crowd, which was showing approval with cheers and applause, and the banging of thundersticks almost nonstop.

His remarks were targeted at the average Canadian; the hard-working silent majority who "didn't have the time to stage protests or the money to hire lobbyists." (CTV)

There was also a tone of humility:

"We cannot worry about what they say about us around boardroom tables but we must care what they talk about at the kitchen tables.''

In any case, it was a most enjoyable evening. The icing on the cake was the opportunity to meet some fellow bloggers; notably Sandy (Crux-of-the-Matter), and the Stephen Taylor! What a great guy! Stephen, if you're reading this, I hope we didn't embarrass you too much. ;)

Our meeting up with Sandy was quite "serendipitous" as she referred to it. Perhaps she will elaborate at some point.

Anyway, Sandy and her husband are warm, friendly people whom my daughter and I were very happy to have met. We ended up sitting together, which was great. In fact, it was due to Sandy's brilliant strategic skills that we were even able to find a seat. She is very clever about dealing with line-ups, and how to get around them. I highly recommend that you ask her for tips if you ever plan to attend an event like this.

After the rally, there was a large reception with various MP's milling about, but my focus at that point was more on grabbing some cheese and cold meat, since we were starving. As my daughter and I settled in against a wall to devour our snacks, I noticed Jim Prentice advancing in our general direction. He stopped to chat to a couple of men beside me. I glanced over and noticed that one of them was Jason Kenney!

Didn't get a chance to talk to them (especially with my mouth full of food), but it was fun to be in the same room watching MP's mill around like common folk - which they are, and which we all are.


* * * *

Who else was there? Sandy and Stephen of course. Also Christian Conservative. Anyone else?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this, Joanne....you are so lucky to have had the chance to be there.

I saw PM Harper wiping his brow (on television) and I wondered if he was nervous or maybe having a hot flash??? :-)....now I know. Glad that there was such a good turnout.

raz

Joanne (True Blue) said...

lol! Raz, that's what I was afraid people might be thinking! Obviously the MSM neglected to mention that little fact about the heat. When you cram that many bodies in one room, you don't need to burn any fossil fuels.

They couldn't leave doors open either; due to security which BTW was tight!!!

molarmauler said...

Well, it was sort of mentioned. Scott Reid in the after show says Harper was sweating like Dom Deluise going after a doughnut. Such a nice man.

I got home after 10pm from a playoff game (my son's Atom team is in the finals and he is the goalie- they won 8-6 and will play again today)so I never got to start watching the PM speech till around midnight. I was very impressed and I wish I could have been there, heat or no. I so wish we lived in that world where there are no sound bites. Every Canadian should do themselves a favour and watch it in its entirety.

Best PM ever.

Brian said...

Did you leave from Kitchener on the bus. My wife and I were supposed to go, but both kids have been sick this weekend and, although they were fine last night, we made the last minute decision not to leave them to their own devices for six or so hours.

Sounds like it was a good night, although I don't like crowds, so maybe it was better this way.

Ron said...

Hi Joanne
I attented the training sessions which where excellant to be capped off with PM,s address. He has set the table ready for a possible election soon.

Sandy said...

In spite of the heat, I wouldn't have missed it. As I said on my comment on your link at jacksnewswatch: Great time. Great company. You go girl!

Anonymous said...

So - how are you liking your new "Conservative principles", which apparently contradict your old "Conservative principles" in almost every major way?

How do you like the opening of the floodgates of financing every conceivable special interest in an effort to buy Canadian's votes, just like the Liberals before them, or again is that ok because they are your party of choice?

How about announcing the same money 4 or 5 times?

I guess power is power, and so whatever they say or do is absolutely fantastic to partisans.

We had been led to believe that this would be a government of principle - which I guess it is:

Say and do anything, no matter what, in order to try to maintain power.

molarmauler said...

Nice unreality check there anon.

Shameless plug for my place follows...
Harper wants to win every seat he can.
Elizabeth May doesn't even want to win one.

tori said...

wow...I'm so totally envious!

raz, did you hear scott "beer and popcorn" reid saying that harper was sweating because his speech bombed?? puhlese

Anonymous said...

So, molarmauler, you basically like the approach the Liberals used for years to stay in power?

You don't mind tens o billions of dollars sprinkled here and there to buy votes?

I am personally disappointed that the party has dropped basically all of its principles, but many of you don't seem to mind.

I guess for some politics is about fun and parties and meeting really, really important people (formerly and soon to be once again irrelevant).

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Did you leave from Kitchener on the bus.

Yes, Brian. That's too bad about your kids. It would have been fun to meet & talk.

But if you have a problem with crowds, best that you didn't come for sure.

Anonymous said...

'So - how are you liking your new "Conservative principles", which apparently contradict your old "Conservative principles" in almost every major way?'

So - how do you like supporting a silly useless opposition party that is scrambling (I just had scrambled eggs, so that's why I'm using that word)....for votes and at least some attention???

'raz, did you hear scott "beer and popcorn" reid saying that harper was sweating because his speech bombed?? puhlese'

No, I didn't. It's the most mysterious thing. My remote automatically goes to the "mute" button when Reid is mouthing off. He's funny to watch though. I'm going to have to get my eyes checked though, because all I see when he's on is one big kernel of popcorn where his head should be.

He's not too swift at times though. On Mike Duffy, the Conservative pundit (can't remember his name right now) made a comment about Scott Reid and beer. Scott came back about "well, you know a lot about beer yourself."....thinking that it was an implication about "drinking" beer. The Conservative guy (what the h is his name???) said something to the effect of beer and popcorn. When Scott "got it"....his smile diminished. A bit slow about something he wishes would go away? Well, it might, if he showed himself to be different than the person who would actually make a comment like that.

But, he hasn't....told ya, popcorn head....very fluffy, no substance, and millions of kernels in the liberal party just_like_him.

Interesting point, Joanne, about security being so tight. I'm glad, but it seems that our government might be taking threats seriously....remember the plan to behead out MP's and Prime Minister? It's never stupid to be cautious.

raz

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Ron, you must be having an interesting time there. Yeah, the PM's speech was awesome! I saw him a few times during the last election, but never saw him speak as the 'Prime Minister' before. The whole event was quite a thrill.

If you want to email me any juicy tidbits, my addy is on my profile. I promise to keep it all to myself! ;)

biff said...

There were really some great quotes from Harper's speech. Inspirational-perfect for the setting.

My wife and I met the Harpers at a Rally the day prior to the last election, they were very nice and commented on how adorible our baby was. Good, down to earth people.

The Room was nuts then too, but it sounds like the crowds are getting significantly bigger.

You can almost taste the momentum building.

Compare to Dion's cross country dud.

Let's get on with the election!

Roy Eappen said...

I am upset I couldn't go to the rally. I was working last night
It sounds wonderful. The energy of 5000 Tories must have felt unstoppable.
Next time you guys are in Toronto on a weekend email me! I have met HM PM Stepehen Harper twice before at fundraisers. I would have loved to hear the speech live.

vicki said...

Joanne...I know we should ignore the trolls,but this poor wee one(12:07) needs the explaination that putting our tax money back to work for us (infrastructure means jobs) is a lot different than money wasted on the 'gun control' or lost at HRDC, or stlolen by the Libs.

Anonymous said...

"Joanne...I know we should ignore the trolls,but this poor wee one(12:07) needs the explaination that putting our tax money back to work for us (infrastructure means jobs) is a lot different than money wasted on the 'gun control' or lost at HRDC, or stlolen by the Libs"


Just point out to this anon that when Harper makes an announcement he follows through and delivers. That alone puts him head and shoulders above the Liberal's under Chretien, Martin, and now Dion.

Candace said...

I got to meet Jim Prentice at the Edmonton rally, and we talked about the SK lawyer & his $50 mm bill - apparently, he allowed the auditors in for 2 days then kicked them out. I'm guessing when he signed on (Liberal gov't) he was expecting a quick & dirty glance, but not an actual audit. Unfortunately, if this isn't settled by the fall the victims' payouts may be affected. I'm not a lawyer, but in class action suits, the payout is through the lawyer. The gov't won't cut a cheque until they know who is getting what. I hope his clients are banging down his door!

I've seen PMSH twice at rallies prior to the election (I even have a picture of me with him at the summer BBQ), and again last week. It's a whole different ballgame live vs. on TV.

Deepthinker said...

Hey Joanne! The rally was absolutly AMAZING! I was bussed down from Ottawa then bussed back up again. The best part of these things, away form hearing an awesome speech which I pretty much agreed with was seeing all of my friends from around the province. I met Jim Flahrety (who I met before), Myron Thompson (My old MP), Diane Finley (An AMAZING lady) and Steven Flethcher (very cool guy). It was an awesome event and my friend speaks french so I had a human translator right beside me! After that I was ready to go on the campaign trail. I cant not wait!

RGM said...

Sounds like you had a pretty great weekend! Reminds me a little bit of the old days when I was still with the Liberals and got to go to a number of similar meet-n-greet festivities. The last time I got to go to one of these type of events was last summer, long after my Liberal membership had lapsed. I heard that Joe Volpe was in the building and immediately felt dirty, as it was about 3 or 4 days after the kiddie-cash scandal came to light.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I was bussed down from Ottawa then bussed back up again.

Deepthinker, that is quite a distance! Yes, even with the heat, it is an experience I will never forget.

I met Jim Flahrety (who I met before), Myron Thompson (My old MP), Diane Finley (An AMAZING lady) and Steven Flethcher (very cool guy).

Lucky you! I saw Steven Fletcher, but didn't get a chance to talk to him. So much going on. Apparently I also missed Peter McKay and Rona Ambrose, but c'est la vie. It was just so exciting. If something like this ever happens again, I'm going to try to schmooze a bit more. ;)

Sandy said...

Joanne -- I left this note at Jack's place and my place. I remembered today that I actually saw Peter McKay earlier in the afternoon. We got to Toronto and the Congress Centre around 4:30pm and just walked in. Delegates were just getting out of meetings and that's when I saw Peter McKay. We just sat down and watched the goings on. Then left and went around the corner and had supper and came back for 6pm. Just thought I would clarify. I didn't see him at the rally itself. I don't know if that helps. LOL

Joanne (True Blue) said...

. I don't know if that helps. LOL

No, it doesn't help at all, Sandy. I'm still jealous. ;)

Anonymous said...

Doesn't take much to impress you does it?

I'm sure the farmers would appreciate that they aren't hard working and don't have time for special interest rallies...hmmm.

Harper just showed he "DOESN'T CARE.

Anonymous said...

Mississauga? Don't you mean Congress Centre in Toronto?

Zac

Candace said...

Anonymous, wtf? What didn't the farmers like about the $1.0 billion in funding announced last week?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mississauga? Don't you mean Congress Centre in Toronto?

Yeah. Did I get the geography wrong? Near the airport.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I'm sure the farmers would appreciate that they aren't hard working and don't have time for special interest rallies...hmmm.

What didn't the farmers like about the $1.0 billion in funding announced last week?

Just for the record, there was at least one large group of farmers there. They wore yellow t-shirts that said something like 'Farmers feed cities'. Yes, farmers like the CPC.

Now the major cities are warming up to Harper because they are starting to realize that he means business about crime. Hug-a-thug policies just don't cut it anymore.

Swift said...

Sorry I missed both of you at the rally. I don't know how they processed the buses, but I was surprised by the lack of security present. There were few uniformes visible, although I imagine there were some security people that were not in uniform.

There were three or four Metro police cruisers at the Congress Center on Thursday when twelve to fifteen protesters showed up. I What they were protesting about I don't know, as they had left before I went over to register. Couldn't be a very popular cause if they could only find fifteen supporters in the GTA.

My heart goes out to the poor Star reporter who couldn't get into the training session and was left out in the cold. Where is global warming when you really need it? If it had been a Liberal training session surely he would have been invited in. Do the Libs run training courses for reporters? Or does the Star run in house training programs? Either way we know someone who must have passed with honours.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Swift - Sorry we missed you as well!

I don't know how they processed the buses, but I was surprised by the lack of security present.

Very strict security for those coming by bus. And I found the security tight the whole time. They were always checking for the security tag each time I moved from one room to the next. Maybe I look like a Liberal? lol!

Too funny about the Star reporter. Are you referring to this?

Swift said...

That's what I was refering to. I didn't naoice the byline when I first read the story. Just imagine a woman reporter trying to crash a Taliban meeting. Being thrown out into the cold would be the least of her worries.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Swift, if that's their best talent there at the Star, no wonder they're having issues.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Did I get the geography wrong? Near the airport.

Its technically Toronto.

I was there, got dragged by some zealous Tory friends and my parents. It was interesting to say the least, but your right about the security. A few people pointed me out as a Liberal and they wanted to take my cell phone until it was over (as it has a camera in it). My mom told the guy to relax a bit though and he left me alone.

Zac

Anonymous said...

I will say this though about the rally - It was by and far, the largest Conservative rally that I've ever seen. I've been to tons (due to my parents involvement in the party) and it was the biggest that I've ever seen.

Zac

Joanne (True Blue) said...

A few people pointed me out as a Liberal and they wanted to take my cell phone until it was over

Ha! You were recognized as a Liberal in a Conservative rally??? Too funny.

So your parents are still Conservative, eh?

will say this though about the rally - It was by and far, the largest Conservative rally that I've ever seen.

Well, this is very interesting. A mole at the rally. But seriously, I love hearing your POV of it! What did you think about Harper's speech? Did you get a seat? Did you find it hot? Did you meet any Conservative MP's?

Steph said...

I really enjoyed the evening. The odds were against me enjoying it because I hadn't thought to wear layers and was wearing a long sleeve sweater, and I was exhausted, but in spite of that, the PM's well-received speech overcame the odds and inspired me. While there I was reminded of why I took an interest in politics a couple of years ago. I was also encouraged to stay focused on informing others about the reasons to vote Conservative when the time comes.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the evening, Steph. ;)

One thing I learned from that event is to wear a short-sleeved cotton shirt with removable layers over top, as you say. It was such a cold day, that dressing cool was the furthest thing from my mind when getting ready to go. I am just thankful that I changed from a turtleneck to a scoop neck at the last minute or I wouldn't have made it through the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Ha! You were recognized as a Liberal in a Conservative rally??? Too funny

I'm not to hard to miss. The tories know me, especially the university crowd.

So your parents are still Conservative, eh?

Oh yeah, they were at the founding meeting of the reform party when we lived out west. They're conservative to the bone and I'm their dirty little Liberal secret. It's rather amusing actually.

But seriously, I love hearing your POV of it! What did you think about Harper's speech? Did you get a seat? Did you find it hot? Did you meet any Conservative MP's?br/>
Harper's speech? Very good, considering his crowd. He was speaking to supporters so overall it was a pretty good "rally the troops type speech". I do admit, he does seem very prime ministerial these days.

Seat? I didn't sit, I stood at the back with some friends, who were wearing their "Elect Peter Kent" shirts and their "this is unfair" kyoto buttons.

Hot? Unbearably. Perhaps a national air conditioning plan would be a good CPC policy next time around. But seriously, I was sweating like a mule.

I didn't meet any MP's this time around. I've met a lot of common sense revolutionaries from the Mike Harris years though. Mostly through my parents. In fact, I have a picture of me from back in high school at an event with Stephen Harper when he was Alliance leader. It's quite a sight. Him with that god-awful helmet hair and me with a nice smattering of zits. It's a keeper for sure.

Zac

Gabby in QC said...

I forgot to tell all you nice folk that visit here about Joseph Lavoie, a blogger who was voted Canada's Next Great PM on CBC yesterday evening.

If you want to drop by, he's at
http://www.josephlavoie.com/

PS.: I have no connection whatsoever to him; I just found him a nice young man.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I have a picture of me from back in high school at an event with Stephen Harper when he was Alliance leader. It's quite a sight. Him with that god-awful helmet hair and me with a nice smattering of zits

Ha-ha! Your parents must treasure that one!!

Thanks for the amusing and candid background information. Really interesting to hear a Liberal's impressions of the evening.

liberal supporter said...

Most interesting, zac. Very balanced indeed. So the Liberals in attendance were respectful, since it was not their event, and there was no troublemaking. It's only what I'd expect, but it's still good to hear!

The Congress Centre is notorious for being hot during the winter (little or no A/C then). Even when the security is simply to ensure everyone paid admission, they try to keep the doors shut. I was there in a suit years ago and broiled.


Joanne, the CBC reported 2000 "MPs, candidates and volunteers". CTV listed CPC "members", which would include more people. Probably the 2000 is the people at the "candidates school". (Interesting the CBC gave a better rendition of Steve's St Patrick's Day snakes joke.)

Joanne (True Blue) said...

I forgot to tell all you nice folk that visit here about Joseph Lavoie, a blogger who was voted Canada's Next Great PM on CBC yesterday evening.

Wow. I completely missed that. CBC though. That would be the reason. Kudos to Joseph anyway.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

L.S. - ...spoke at a campaign training weekend for more than 2,000 party nominees, MPs and volunteers.

I actually was confused about exactly what they meant there. A very ambiguous statement.

Really, you could take that either way - that the MPs and volunteers were included in the 2000 figure or not. I guess one would have to know how many nominees there were to sort that out.

Poorly stated, in any case.

I'll give you that about the snakes. CTV was more biased there.

And isn't our Zac the most balanced young man ever? I'm so proud of him.

vicki said...

joanne...you posted a comment at 7:42 pm ...and not a word about the budget...???

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Vicki - lol!!

I'm still alive. Just taking it all in. I will weigh with my two cents worth soon. Just trying to calculate if I actually might have three cents worth after the budget. ;)

ON said...

Harper stole the "kitchen table" line from Layton. He doesn't have any humility or humanity ... just political strategy.