And here is where I left-off my live-blogging yesterday….As you can see no way I could have typed all this into my Black Berry at the time so just pretend you are reading this as it’s happening...
So the serious part of the evening started with two individuals – Shelly Glover and Christian Paradis – who mentioned how many great things have come from Winnipeg. I doubt that the strong majority, or any, of the founders of those great things were Tories.
There is a guy in an ornate elephant costume walking the room – Herman is his name. I have no idea what’s up with him, but he got past several check points.
I see Dawg has commented on the sign’s “Real Plan” that were in the crowd. My reaction to those were “the Tories actually had a plan this last election? One that involved not mocking and putting down Dion?” Or is this the 5 point economic plan they lifted word for word from Dion after the election?
Laureen Harper emerges – says the usual funny and supportive remarks of a politician’s partner. She reveals Stephen’s deep dark secrets: Stephen is a dad who likes to discuss hockey with other parents, and actually likes to spend time with kids! He will leave a group discussion with adults to take a call from his kids. He likes going to their sport games and extra curricular activities! Each morning, he has breakfast with his daughter’s hamster. He takes interest in children and their friends. He will babysit 12 kids so Laureen can go to the movies. He volunteers at his children’s school. Has seen HSM (aka High School Musical for those unfamiliar with youth pop culture) 4x in theatres. He is thoughtful, hardworking, fun and cute (that’s a quote). Oh and he has brought peace to the Middle East too (not so much the last).
Harper now emerges from his holding cell. Behind him is a green screen – on TV it looks like there is a huge Canadian flag there. I was actually quite surprised with the reception he received – it was not what I had expected: the crowd was not that loud or energized. I do not feel any real hype – except from the protesters or the ones campaigning for positions. It’s as if the delegates here know not to expect anything ‘out of the blue’ either. They were just glad to be there, seemingly for the social more than anything else - which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily. I saw polite respect, almost reminiscent of a crowd of yester years. I did get the impression they were proud to be Conservatives and think their party is doing a good job. I think most people are there to support their friends who are running for Conservative council positions. Anyways, a little while after Harper came out there was an attempt and some decently strong chanting of “Harper, Harper”.
This next part took me back a bit, and I don’t know – maybe I’m reading more into this. So Harper gets out, thanks his wife for her remarks, and responds to the part where she said “He has not changed in the time I have known him” by saying she probably was wishing that he had had some growth – was that a sexual joke?! As I said, I don’t know. I don’t want to know. You can bet if Mr. Dion made such a comment the Tories would be “all up in dat”. A sense of humour is good, but sometimes, some topics, with some crowds, just a bit creepy…
Ok so the speech: pretty predictable, and unsurprising, kept inside of the Bubble that encased him during the campaign: he said nothing new or deep. Just “Yay….us!” in a nut shell. Last month was a victory – biggest, most nationalist party to get votes from the electorate - Canada’s party is clearly the Conservative party. (That is still a stretch, because most Canadians voted for others, and polls showed it had little to do with party or politics, but rather to do with the great job the Tories did on bringing up Dion’s negatives).
He thanked the volunteers a lot in his speech, which I gave him credit for. The Volunteers were the reason for their success. One dedicated and ambitious volunteer made over 1000 pies to raise funds for the party. That’s creative.
Harper goes on to say that 5 years ago, the Conservative party was broken, and that they were ridiculed by the pundits and the other parties (now they do the most ridiculing and most well known pundits love them). But they got together to reflect citizens’ interests and that’s how they put Humpty Dumpty back together again, and not just that, but they defeated the Liberal juggernaut and made it into a minority, and then the opposition.
Tories surround themselves by the issues that define them - not their small differences – lower taxes, a justice system that puts the interest of citizens ahead of criminals, etc. A foreign policy that is strong and independent – and a belief in the unity of Canada (sure that must explain Harper’s attempts to beat down the federal government into nothing, his opposition to any national program that would actually unite Canadians and his desire to leave the provinces to their own devices).
Ok so we’re hearing again and again on how great the success of a second mandate this is and how huge it was. Credits inroads with new Canadians and women key to that success. They got Liberal stronghold PEI, picked up seats in BC, NS and Man (I think he forgot to mention the seats he dropped in NFLD and Quebec). The conservatives are a party of firsts: the first black MP, the first woman, the first female senator, etc… (I’m pretty sure those were under the former Tories, the party that preceded the new conservatives which now include more Reformer rep?) in which its reps are more Reformers). Still going on with how great a second mandate is.
The Conservatives, are now Canada’s party (I guess the previous 2 years it wasn’t?)
Canadians have trusted the Tories to look to the future (just for a short time, because they didn’t get a majority, remember). It’s a time now of great economic global uncertainty, and the ppl chose them to deal with it. That’s why they’re cutting taxes and focusing spending on science and infrastructure. Canadians chose them not despite the economic challenges but b/c of them (yes because we love reckless tax cuts and deficits! Hooray for fire sales of our federal assets at bargain bin prices!). A clear choice over risk (due to fear mongering effective ads).
They won the election because they listen to ppl, appreciate the importance of the grassroots, and have a realistic plan that got ppl’s trust (I guess that’s all why then they don’t let the grass root resolutions go to the floor and instead impose some top down policies for debate. And don’t let their own MPs represent their constituents. That shows clear trust in the ppl).
And just in case Harper can’t solve the economic problem that he’s facing, the reason why he says people elected him, he wants to remind you that that economic problem is a global problem, not domestic. They’ve been asked to lead at critical time. Canadians know they didn’t create the problem, but can be trusted to help lead them through it. With the members support, somehow they’ll emerge again even stronger than before.
Harper mentions the Universal Child tax benefit and gets much applause, probably to build up to the next line: the senate (which did not get much applause). Harper obviously really wants to change Canada’s senate to an elected senate (perhaps he thinks that can be a lasting legacy of his to his credit). But I find his rationale a bit contrary. He wants a Senate to be elected and have the legitimacy to have its own say on bills, yet wants the senate to pass all of the Tory bills, because most Senators are identified Liberals. Yet if they don’t budget, he’ll put a ton of patronage appointments to put Tory senators in, thereby perpetuating what he is advocating against. It’s all one big mess though in the making if he gets his way: he’d have elected and non-elected Senators warring with each other until the non-elected guys terms (I hear Harper wants 8 years now) ran out and meanwhile the West would have equal representation as the Atlantic provinces despite having massively more people. I’m amazed any Westerners think this is a great idea.
Now more of the Conservative party is Canada’s party. Conservative values are Canadian values (too generalized, gee!). Reward hard work, remove risk, respect law, order and good govt, etc etc.
The Tories are putting working Canadians first, and lowering taxes, and putting down the debt does that. They do the right thing, not the popular things (i.e. Seal hunt).
The Tories don’t believe what the other parties do: that they are entitled to govt and they don’t depend on a certain group of ppl for their vote. They listen to all voices, whether they support them or not (listen and then do what they want, and pick one decisive clear, no compromise result).
The party’s greatest strength is the grassroots (again, the lack of grass root policies? And seriously from what I’ve seen the only people they are interested in listening to are those they think might vote Conservative, anyone else doesn’t get the time of day).
And that was it pretty much. I hardly think anyone was blown away, I guess he figures he doesn’t have to try very hard with this crowd.
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