Musings —01.13.2012 05:47 PM—
Drove up from my sons’ retreat in the woods along Highway 7. Weather was wild! Almost wiped out a couple times, but my determination to deny conservatives the satisfaction of my early demise kept me on the road and heading East. Quick takes on what I’ve seen and heard so far:
- There are going to be more than 3,000 Grits at this convention. That’s a convention in the middle of January in Ottawa, folks. Congrats to Curtis O’Nyon and his team. That’s a pretty amazing turnout for a policy convention – way more than the Cons and Dippers got at theirs, a Sun colleague told me.
- The mood is pretty upbeat. There’s some predictable tension along the Sheila Copps-Mike Crawley fault-line, of course – Crawley made a point in barraging me in French as soon as I arrived, apparently irritated that I’d pointed out in a column that he was unilingual, while his main opponent wasn’t – but everyone else seems quite optimistic. It was contagious.
- I heard that a number of pointy-headed intellectuals were approached to speak, in a non-partisan way, at the convention. They declined. In hushed tones, they said they were afraid of “retribution” from the Harper regime. Apparently quite a few of them said this. “When did we become Stalinist Russia?” I asked. No one thought I was joking.
- Media turnout was weird. The Sun was there, as were CTV, CPAC, Star (Susan Delacourt was kissed by Michael Ignatieff, something I’ve never seen a journalist submit to, before), Globe and Post Media, but not so much CBC. Maybe they’re nervous about the Harper harpies, too. Whatever the reason, it was weird. We Liberals like you, CBC! What gives?
- I didn’t sense any love for Bob Rae from anyone I spoke to, but it may be because they were speaking to me. Rae took a swipe at unnamed “bloggers and pundits” in his speech earlier in the day, which some folks suggested might include Yours Truly. Rae apparently said he wouldn’t let the Vast Blogger and Pundit Conspiracy “define” the Liberal Party. I reciprocate, and say we won’t let his leadership, interim or otherwise, “define” the Liberal Party, either.
- Best part: lots and lots of young people, many of whom I spoke with. If this party is to survive, it needs to get rid of the old farts like me, and become the party of Canada’s next generation.