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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Day 2 - On the campaign bus

(cross-posted at

So a funny thing happened on the way home from school last night...

I rode a Liberal campaign bus.

That's right. I'm walking home from school in the pouring rain, kicking myself for not thinking to bring an umbrella on a cloudy day (hey, no one said law students were smart!). I'm also a little pissed off. It's 5:45. I'm just leaving campus. The Quebec campaign kickoff rally in the leader's home riding starts at 6:30. There's no way I can get from downtown to north Montreal in less than an hour (public transportation in Montreal is decent, but exceedingly complicated).

All of a sudden, the rain slows to a drizzle. The clouds part, allowing the tender warmth of the sun to shine through. I look over to my right, and I see... A big read bus with Stephane Dion's face across the side.

A miracle! I start running after the bus, which happens to stop at a hotel right beside my apartment. "Wow," I think to myself, "this just keeps getting better and better." I look around the parking lot and spot an old friend of mine who works on the leader's tour. I go up to him and we shake hands. Trying to be subtle, I ask: "Hey, what's the easiest way to get to the rally tonight?" He laughs at me: "Trust me, there is no easy way." He pauses to think for a moment. "Come with me."

He takes me across the lot to where two other busses are parked. These ones are white, with the Liberal logo blazoned on either side. "Media busses," he explains.

He leads me onto the first one, and tells me to sit right up front, beside an RCMP officer. One thing I've learned in politics is that when an opportunity presents itself, you shut up and take it. So there I sat, in the front seat beside a security guard, for the ride up to the rally in Saint-Laurent. The bus is jovial. Cameramen joking with one another, quizzing each other on obscure Montreal trivia, complaining about the terrible roads in Quebec ("It's not construction work," I explain, "It's repair work.") I can see Roger Smith from CTV News sitting a few rows behind me, quietly working away on his laptop.

We arrive at the rally, and a Young Liberal friend of mine watches me step off the bus. He shakes his head. "How did you pull that off?," he asks. "Long story. Be glad I'm here."

It was a great event. Three hundred Liberals packed the room and cheered on as candidates from across the province joined the leader on stage. Stephane Dion was officially nominated as the Liberal candidate in Saint-Laurent-Cartierville. He gave a fantastic speech, urging us never to forget what the stakes are in this election.

He's right. We have to keep plugging away. And so I will.

Day 1 - The call (and three offices?)

(Cross-posted at

Just watched Harper and Dion's respective news conferences. I don't have much to say. Pretty boring stuff.

What's more interesting, for me, is what goes on in the ridings, on the ground. Case in point: Nickel Belt, where I'll be offering as much assistance as I can to elect Louise Portelance as Member of Parliament. Granted, living in Montreal means that I'm eight hours away, but trust me: So much can be done remotely with a cell phone and an internet connection.

Over the past couple of weeks, our biggest challenge was finding a reasonably-affordable, highly-visible and readily-accessible campaign office. Until yesterday, it was looking pretty bleak, and we began to consider other options (A roving office? A trailer, perhaps?). Then last night, in a STUNNING turn of events (sorry, I grew up watching Larry King), I got the good news that we had secured not one, not two, but three campaign offices! For a riding as ginormous as Nickel Belt (you could fit a few European countries within our boundaries), having a few satellite offices makes sense. So take that, broken down Winnebago! We'll be living the high life after all, thank you very much!

So for anyone passing through Northern Ontario over the next few weeks, drop by and lend Louise a hand!

Valley East Office

(next to the Pizza Hut)

4544 Highway 69N, unit #3

Val Therese, Ontario, P3P 1P9

Rayside Balfour Office

Place Bonaventure

4764-10A, R.R. 15

Chelmsford, Ontario, P0M 1L0

West Nipissing Office

173 King Street

Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, P2B 1R6