Monday, December 11, 2006

The Speech

This speech, delivered by Michael Ignatieff on the Friday of the convention, really sums up the whole affair. We loved it. I loved it. I felt like I could cry. My job during the speech was to sit at the front--near the stage--and, with a radio in my ear, direct the crowd on when to clap and when to stop (it's a big deal to not clap too much when the candidate only has 23 minutes and looks bad when the go over).

I was terrible at my job, becuase I was too enthralled with the speech. But here's the facinating part. When Michael hit the big points, the barn burners, the things that people really can't disagree with--the environment, helping the poor, education--we exploded in applause.

And when we looked around, we were the only ones.

No one else in the hall was clapping. Few in our camp noticed, as there were over a thousand of us. But it was there, like a blanket of quiet repudiation.

As signs go, that's not a good one.

As for the speech? It's one of the best I've heard, and quicly and concisely sums up what I loved about my candidate. Let's just hope the Party ends up espousing something close.

Oh, and I completely turned "tous ensemble!" into a cheer.


Merci beaucoup, mes amis.

My friends, tonight's the night the Liberal Party begins again.

To embrace a new agenda.
An agenda of hope.
An agenda for all Canadians.
Un agenda d'espoir pour tous les Canadiens et les Canadiennes

We have come to this place to make an historic decision. Together. After tomorrow, we will leave this place together.
Renewed. United.
Nous repartirons de Montréal, unis et inspirés d'un seul message pour les Canadiens et Canadiennes d'un océan à l'autre.
We will be united coast to coast to coast with one message for all Canadians.
With this team, the future of the Liberal Party has never been brighter.
To every volunteer in every single campaign in this room tonight: thank you. You have worked so hard over many months. Vous avez travaillé si fort au cours des derniers mois.

Together, we are building a better Liberal Party.

A party that once again knows what it believes.
Nous sommes debout.
Coude à coude.
Pour défendre nos idées et nos valeurs.
Notre parti est un grand parti.
A la prochaine élection, tous les Libéraux au pays, tous les électeurs, sauront ce que nous défendons. All Canadians will
know what Liberals stand for.
A Canada where hope is shared not squandered.
Where promises are kept not betrayed
A Canada that leads
That inspires

We are the party that built this country and we built it on four cornerstones
Social Justice.
Sustainable economy
International leadership.
Quatre pierres angulaires: justice sociale, économie durable, unité, leadership international.
Quand nous défendons ces valeurs fondamentales, nous gagnons à coup sûr.
When we stand on these foundations, we always win!

I say tonight what I have said throughout this campaign. We must be the party of hope.
Nous devons être le parti de l'espoir.
And hope begins with opportunity.
Opportunity for low income families.
For Aboriginal Canadians.
For immigrants.
Opportunity for our farmers.
La possibilité pour les femmes de vivre sans pauvreté et sans violence.
And if hope begins with opportunity, opportunity has to begin with education.
We must be the party that says to every young Canadian who wants to go to college or university: "you get the grades, you get to go."

An opportunities agenda means faith in our future.
Pour un avenir où l'air et l'eau sont pures.
C'est aujourd'hui que nous devons relever le défi de l'environnement.
Environmental sustainability must move to the heart of everything we do in government.
We must put a price on pollution and on carbon emissions!
And we will!

Les changements climatiques sont la. Il faut agir maintenant afin que nous puissions dire à nos enfants et nos petits enfant :nous avons agi à temps; nous avons fait ce qu'il fallait faire.
So we have met the challenge of climate change and can look our children and grandchildren in the eyes and say:
We did not fail you.

A party of hope
Un parti d'espoir.
Non seulement pour nous, mais pour le monde entier.
Its World AIDS Day today. We want a Canada that leads in the international fight against AIDS.
A Canada that promotes peace, democracy and human rights
A Canada that invests in women's literacy, primary health care and good government.

Look around this hall tonight!
Anglophones et francophones, tous ensemble!
Men and women of every faith and race: tous ensemble !
First Nations, Métis, Inuit peoples, tous ensemble!
Les gens de l'ouest et de l'est, les gens du nord et du sud, des villes et des villages: tous ensemble!
We're the party that holds our country together. Tous ensemble!
Nous avons construit le pays ensemble.
Nous le garderons unis. Tous ensemble !

My friends, national unity is the Liberal Party's most important work. Always has been. Always will be!
Mais nous pouvons en faire davantage.
Réduisons l'écart entre les grandes villes et les régions.
Let us embrace the surging might of Western Canada.
Let's win some seats in Alberta!
Redonnons de la confiance et de la fierté aux Québécois qui croient au Canada.
Gilles Duceppe et son parti n'offrent que des illusions et des déceptions.
Nous devons et nous pourrons les battre à la prochaine élection.

The Liberal vision is of one Canada held together by a spine of citizenship:
Equal rights, equal responsibilities and shared experience so that we truly feel we are one country.
An equality of citizenship rooted in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Nous partageons les mêmes valeurs, les mêmes croyances, la même histoire.
Nous partageons le même avenir.
Un avenir ou tous seront égaux et tous auront les mêmes chances.

That's not what Stephen Harper believes.
Here's a politician of conviction who has all the wrong convictions.
Stephen Harper loves power, but hates government.
Canadians understand that good government helps to bring us together.

Stephen Harper thinks differently.
He has a mean-spirited vision.
He pits rich against poor.
Region against region.
Province against province.
Bit by bit, he is reshaping Canada.
Into a country that is less progressive,
Less fair
Less just
And less equal.
And you and I are going to stop him!

We Liberals have a different vision.
A Canada that is just, and compassionate.
And generous of spirit.
We Liberals love this country, but we long for it to be better than it is.

When people ask: where's the best health care in the world? The answer will be Canada!
Where will aboriginals live as equals? Canada!
Who will lead the world in environmental sustainability? Canada!
Quel est l'endroit au monde ou la différence est la plus respectée. Canada !
Where will young people have the biggest dreams and fairest shot at life ? Canada!
We have long been a beacon to the world. But we can shine so much more brightly.
We have the resources. We have the know-how. We have the courage and compassion.

What we need is the leadership.
Ce leadership, seul le Parti liberal peut l'offrir.
Leadership that only the Liberal Party can offer.
Hope that only the Liberal Party can offer.
If we become the party of hope in the country of hope, no one can defeat us.
Si nous devenons le parti de l'espoir dans un pays d'espoir, personne ne pourra nous battre!
We are Liberals of a new generation in a new century.

Tonight, we have a choice to make
Let us choose unity over division,
Direction over drift,
Courage over fear, and compassion over indifference.
There is the Canada we live in today.
There is also the Canada of our dreams.
We Liberals are the party that will take us there.
Fellow Liberals, give me the chance to lead you.
A chance to inspire. A chance to serve.
I will make you proud. I will give you victory.
Tous ensemble.
Pour le Canada!
Pour notre Canada !


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Meeting People (and Rick Mercer, who also counts as a person)

I met tones of people at this convention from all over the country. Some of them were famous, but most were not. Interestingly, I think it's the not-famous ones that I'll remember for some time to come. That said, here's the list of famous ones.

Spoke To:

Michael Ignatieff
Sen. Grant Mitchell
Jeffrey Simpson
Rick Mercer
Justin Trudeau

Was Spoken To By:

No one, really.

Was Spoken At By:

Bill Grahm

Was Very Close To At One Point:

Sen. Roméo Dallaire
Bob Rae
Stephane Dion
Pierre Pettigrew
John Manley
Lloyd Axeworthy

Saw From A Distance:

Paul Martin
Jean Chretien

Saw Eating Sunchips and Apparently Trying To Pick Up Girls From A Distance:
Global's Kevin Newman

You've read the Jeffrey Simpson story, and the Rick Mercer one is similar. I walked into a hotel bar between ballots and saw my friend (and former USC Presidential rival) Mike Liebrock sitting at the bar. I was pretty excited to see Mike, and started talking to him. It was only after I was engaged in conversation that I noticed he was hanging out with Rick Mercer. Now, I don't watch his shows, but I recognize that he's kind of A Big Deal. That said, I hadn't slept in three days and was already focused on talking to Mike, so I didn't really care.

I said "hi" and then turned back to Mike.

Oh well. We all ended up talking, and I'm still glad I got to talk to Mike. In fact, let's add him to the list.

Spoke To:

Michael Ignatieff
Sen. Grant Mitchell
Jeffrey Simpson
Rick Mercer
Mike Liebrock
Justin Trudeau

Note: Mike's above Justin Trudeau.

The Last 36 Hours

This was one of the best experiences of my life. Granted, it could have been a little better at the end, but I have no regrets and a tonne of people that I'm indebted to.

There's a lot to talk about and, as I'd prefer not to make posts that are ten pages long, I'll break them up. We'll do it a little backwards: I'll give you my initial thoughts, and then run through how everything worked starting with Friday morning. Kind of like an after action report. If you could care less about what it's like on the floor, don't worry about future posts.

I'm disappointed in the result. I believed--and continue to believe--in Ignatieff as a person and as an idea. His policies may live on in a future cabinet, but the idea of the man was clearly repudiated by the party on the convention floor. It's an interesting feeling. Look at it this way: of the 5400 delegates there, to say nothing of the thousands of volunteers, 3/5 backed Dion on the last ballot. 1/5 backed Michael from the beginning. Of the 8 leadership teams, 7 ended up backing the leader in the end.

We, those who worked for Michael all the way through, were really the only ones that couldn't claim victory in the end. That'll get anyone down. Of course, there's party unity and all that. But I joined the party to turn it into something I could believe in again.

That'll be tougher now.

Interesting point, though: while lobbying delegates NOT to vote for Dion, I would bring up the argument I first raised in this blog. Here it is again:

"The Conservatives have done a great job of "branding" the Liberal party as a corrupt, out-of-touch party whose goals amount to little more than staying in power or, now, getting back into it. And if that happened, say the Tories, it would only consist of "more of the same": patronage, old ideas, and not looking out for average people. Just look at their slogans: "Canada's New Government" and "Getting things done for all of us". All government press releases begin the same way: "Canada's New Government to VERB ----> ELECTION CANDY ---->NOUN".

Rest assured, the next election will not be about what the Tories have done; it will be about what their new government has done that the Old Government didn't do for average people. Worse still, the concept of the Liberal party has been turned into a general pejorative: people don't need to have reasons for not liking the Liberal party, they just don't. Liberal=Bad/Old. That's what the Tories have done. And that's what we are up against.

In order to even start, we cannot have a leader that can easily be painted with the traditional Liberal brush. They can't be an institutional politician. They can't be dismissed with a "more of the same" attack. Worse still, they must be radically different. The corrupt Liberal image has, in my opinion, become such a basic assumption that the best way to fight it is to do so radically."

We didn't quite do that and, sure enough... BEHOLD!

Let's just hope the strategy doesn't take off. There's hope, however: Dion's reaction to the whole strategy was quick and concise: "Like my father used to say when he was not impressed: 'Weak, mister, weak.' They have to find something a little better, I think." Perhaps there's hope.

It's nice to be able to breathe again, to sleep more than four hours, to sit periodically and to eat regularly. That said, I miss the constant energy, passion, and to-ing and fro-ing of the convention floor. Everything feels... slower, somehow. I'm sure that'll pass.

Lack of Updates

Sorry for the lack of updates, everyone. The last 48 hours really haven't afforded me any time to post, and anything that I did throw up would really just have been monosyllabic. Needless to say, things are sad. I was pretty upset last night, more in the "thousand yard stare" way than the "yelling at the clouds" way.

Erin and I are about to see Nick off to the train station, and then I'll make a more lengthy post tonight.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Note: See previous post. Also, this.

And be sure to watch the candidates' speeches tonight, especially Michael's at 8:30pm. I'll be in the very front, on stage left, wearing a flashing cowboy hat.