01.14.2012 09:40 AM

Saturday Grit Morn

It’s so cold here spit freezes before it hits the ground. It’s so cold here your skin hurts if the wind touches it for a moment. It’s so cold here you cannot believe it.

That’s not all. Yesterday’s snowstorm was really, really bad. One MP told me the 401 got shut down. People took hours and hours to reach Ottawa, over routes that usually take a fraction of that time. Me, I almost bought the farm on Highway 7 a couple times.

Why am I telling you this? What’s it got to do with a political convention?

Because the elements are part of the story. There are 3,300 Liberals here. For a policy convention.

Leadership conventions routinely attract lots of folks. But this is a dry old policy conflab. Why are so many Grits here, in the dead of Winter?

Because Liberals, from all over, want to keep the old party alive, I think. They don’t want May 2011 to be the obituary. They want to bring it back.

Sure, Bob Rae, Martin Cauchon, Martha Hall-Finlay and others are looking a lot like leadership candidates. Hospitality suites, knowing winks, offers of help: the usual. But regular Liberals aren’t here for that stuff. Over and over last night, they told me they were sick of that stuff.

They’re here for the Liberal Party, on the meanest weekend of the Winter you can imagine.

Truly – and forgive the breathless tone – it’s friggin’ amazing.


  1. Mark Hlady MB Liberal says:

    Sounds like a line-up at the soup kitchen, food bank, homeless shelter. Any cake?

  2. Kre8tv says:

    The gladhandling of hospitality suites is a bit like advertising. Plenty say they hate it and add that it doesn’t work on them, but it seems to do okay.

  3. dave says:

    It ‘s so cold I saw a farmer with his hands in his own pockets. ( I used to live and work in rural Manitoba)

    Crosses my mind that the Conservatives are getting new Canandians to vote for them so that the Conservatives can turn Canada into the kind of country that those new Canadians thought that they left behind when they came here.

    If you characters ever made Martha Hall Findlay your leader, maybe I would forego my leftiness for a while and support the Libs
    And I would persuade my neighbours to…er, nah, forget that. I live in the oil patch. I better stay not go overboard here.

  4. Roger Martin says:

    You hit the nail on the head Warren… That’s exactly why I’m here!

  5. Allisntwell says:


  6. VH says:

    you mean “Findlay”.

  7. Kev says:

    Lots of cancelled and delayed flights, too.

    I think you’re right that this is something. 10 years from now, you are going to have 10,000 people claiming “I was there, man. I was there.”

  8. David Imrie says:

    Good to hear about the party. Just drive carefully and suck the cold up! After 20 years in western Canada, this Toronto boy can handle the cold!

  9. George says:

    Watching the goings-on on CPAC this afternoon and I have to say what a pathetic show so far. Techno. problems in voting, people mad at not having been communicated with re: resolutions, not reading the resolutions for those with disabilities. As the new Liberal delegate from Trinty/Spadina just said if that’s how the Liberals operate then that’s not the part she signed up for.

    The worst part of it all is that it’s on TV for everyone to watch, and Warren, you might see strength in those 3,000, but all I see so far is frustration and really bad unification of purpose.

    • frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

      I disagree….I watched parts of the vote online, and I thought it went fairly well….all things considered…..its new technology for the party, and of course there are going to be glitches…I do agree that not making accomodations for those with disabilities is unconscionable, and I hope that situation never occurs again……

    • CQ says:

      Only for Cable / Satellite subscribers. The TVOs and CBC over-the-air transmitters could utilize subchannels. Bell Rogers Shaw forbids it via their defacto CRTC joint venture.

    • CQ says:

      p.s. I watched part of the local New Hampshire Primary detailed results show as transmitted by Buffalo PBS’s commercial free 17-3 channel this week, in live prime time. If it were the Spring or Summer, I’d might have tuned in to the Rochester PBS channel 21s instead – as they broadcast at greater allowed strength (than permitted Cdn broadcasters) across the downtown Toronto, past the skyscapers and CN Tower.
      Meanwhile CTV Toronto shut it down at 12:05 a.m. each night this week – no notice or explanations.

    • Unimpressed says:

      You’re a fucking idiot, George. Pack up your stuff and get your worthless self over to Blogging Tories. You’re not welcome here.

      • George says:

        Just sharing my opinion “unimpressed”, and you seem to have forgotten whose website this is….and it’s not yours.

        • Lexy Cameron says:

          George, your impression of the convention is inaccurate. I attended (my first Liberal convention, in fact) and the democracy in action was absolutely elegant. Moderators were patient, explained policy resolutions well, took the time to follow meeting rules. Re the technical glitch – it lasted all of ten minutes then was fixed. It didn’t slow things down.

          Re the person who had visual problems, I asked my friend about how that should have been handled. She has volunteered with CNIB for years and even knows braille! She said accommodation must always be made for disabilities. However, she also said that it is standard that ALL persons with any disability know the protocol to notify an event of what kind of accommodation they need. The disabled person at the Convention shares the responsibility then!

  10. Lance says:

    The electronic voting system just crashed about an hour ago. Really? *SIGH* Come ON!

  11. frmr disgruntled Con now happy Lib says:

    Having seen this wonderful turnout and the unbridled enthusiasm(one third of the delegates are under thirty…amazing) which is palpable, even from watching the convention online….Id like to echo Brian Mulroney’s words to Peter C. Newman……

    I hope the Cons are nervous…..they should be……This convention will mark the date the silent majority of progressive thinking Canadians started to take their country back….

  12. kre8tv says:

    A PS to my earlier comment. I hope the talk is right about Martha Hall-Finlay. She has a fearlessness about her that I rather admire.

  13. Philippe says:

    The municipality also threw in a whopping amount for the centre. Well worth it for our City I think – we’re at least attracting the big conventions now.

  14. Cynical says:

    “stimulus funds”= taxpayer dollars, regardless of how they get assigned. They did not come from John Baird’s personal pocket, no matter what he might like us to think.

  15. newfiecaper says:

    For those who are trying to find a ray of hope from the convention you may not want to read Wells’ take over at the Macleans’ blog.


    • Newfiecaper is a Numbskull says:

      We’re not “trying to find a ray of hope”, newfiecaper, we’re basking in hope. Take your passive-aggressive, pathetically pithy attempts at advertising elsewhere.

      • newfiecaper says:

        Bless your heart, if you are that sensitive and upset because I pointed out what Paul Wells had to write about the convention then you are in for a very tough 15 years.

    • George says:

      he’s right!

  16. Lexy Cameron says:

    The Liberal Convention was pure magic! The unfortunate weather conditions made it tense and dangerous getting there…Hwy 7 was white knuckle and getting into Ottawa amidst icy rain even worse.

    The mood at the convention was exciting and invigorating. I felt I was truly where I belonged and amongst such an inclusive group of people. We were a bunch of inquiring minds, seeking and sharing information, learning and listening.

    As for the 3,300 people who attended, I hadn’t realized that the numbers exceeded that of the CPC and NDP convention, added together! Woo hoo!

    I am so glad to have been able to attend! It exceeded all my wildest dreams and I thank all the organizers and all of my fellow attendees, for making it such a memorable event.

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