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Monday, July 31, 2006

Liberal BBQ

I went to Nick's Annual Liberal BBQ on Saturday. Even though I've been an active member of the Liberal Party for six or seven years, this was the first time I attended this particular event. I had a good time. The food was great, as was the conversation. They say up to 5000 people showed up, but I'm not so sure the numbers were that high. I figure about 2000 would be a better estimation.

I met Jane Pitfield for the first time. Nice lady. I think if she had some better advice and some smarter people around her, she might have a decent chance at winning. She seemed a bit nervous and tentative the entire time she was there. Maybe she'd prefer spending her time canvassing for John Tory's PCs. Perhaps she's wondering how a crushing mayoral loss will affect her chances at running for the Tories in 2007. Or maybe she just isn't comfortable in a Liberal crowd. Either way, I'm not expecting to see her at many more Liberal events in the future.

Five (yes, only five) leadership candidates stopped by to give speeches. Ken Dryden, Hedy Fry, Martha Hall-Findlay, Bob Rae and Joe Volpe all spoke very well. Of course, my guy did the best (sure, I'm biased). He hammered Stephen Harper on everything from the Middle East to softwood. The buzz about Bob after the speeches was very positive. I genuinely get the feeling that more and more people are starting to warm up to him. Why? Because they're seeing that better than anyone else, Bob Rae appeals to those progressive-minded individuals who think Canada is on the wrong track under Harper. The more Ontario Liberals hear from him, the more the old "I can't support him because he's unelectable in Ontario" line starts to wear thin. My guess is you'll start to see this support manifest itself on the ground. And soon.

Quite a few people at the BBQ complimented me on my blog. I wasn't aware so many people take the time to read this thing. Needless to say, I was (and am) very flattered. I had a thoughtful and stimulating conversation with a regular reader who is supporting another leadership candidate. Even though he and I disagree on a few issues, I still respect his opinions. In any case, he told me about a very interesting conversation he had with a prominent, controversial, blue-as-they-come Tory politician. I won't mention the politician's name, but I will say this: Apparently, David Peterson isn't the only former Ontario Premier who thinks Michael Ignatieff would make the best Liberal leader. For Michael's sake, he'd better hope he doesn't get this particular endorsement...

Finally, as Michelle notes, the Guardian Angels were at the BBQ doing security. They even appeared on stage at one point. In my opinion, their attendance was just bizarre. There were quite a few of them (I counted close to a dozen) which made it even weirder. Honestly, what's the worst that could happen at this BBQ? Someone cutting in line to snatch an extra sausage?

All in all, I had a good time. Hopefully I'll be able to attend next year.