Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dion packs the Design Exchange

As mentioned earlier I was one of many sweaty Liberals that packed the Design Exchange in downtown Toronto Wednesday night for a rally with our leader, Stephane Dion, and the GTA caucus. In my completely biased opinion, I thought it was a success.

CP coverage on the ticker puts the crowd at about 750 people, and I'd agree with that as a minimum. The hall was packed, it was hot and sweaty. Dion was introduced by Tony Ianno, who will be trying to take back Trinity-Spadina from Olivia Chow, and was joined on stage by the other Liberal MPs and candidates from the Greater Toronto area. Bob wasn't there (Jason says he's sick) but Gerard and Iggy were along with Bonnie Crombie, who will be seeking to reclaim Khaaaan!'s Mississauga-Streetsville riding for the Liberals. So was Garth Turner, so I'm sure he'll be blogging about it soon. (UPDATE: He has.)

To the speech though. I thought it was pretty good. Style wise, despite the odd emphasis on the wrong syllable he was confident and clear, anyone who says they can't understand him still clearly just doesn't want to understand him. Also, during the leadership he had a habit of stepping on his applause lines; that problem has been solved. He's looking more comfortable.

And he did have some great lines tonight, including a few self-deprecating ones. For example, he said Toronto has 2 million people for whom English is a second language, so he feels right at home here....Toronto is also home to the advertising sector, and he's had quite a few ads made about him lately...both lines went over great, I really feel humour and self-deprecation go a long way when your opponents are slinging mud.

Content wise I'd say what we saw is likely to be pretty close to the stump speech he'll have should Harper engineer a spring election. I recognized a number of lines from his caucus rally speech last week, for example, the Clarity/Flahrety line.

I liked the narrative of the speech, and it's the same narrative we're beginning to see echoed in the party's other communications activities. To sum up, it's “A Richer Canada, A Fairer Canada, A Greener Canada.” The speech didn't shy from going hard after Harper and the Cons, and that's good. They've given us a lot of material to work with But it also worked to tie it back to our message, to our positive vision, and our positive plan. It's important we have that track and not just be attack all the time. As we get into the campaign we can flush out the broad policy brush strokes further.

All in a good night, and a good speech well received by an admittedly partisan crowd. Feels like we're turning a corner. We don't want an election, but if there is one we'll give them a helluva fight.

P.S. Video and speech text will be up on the Liberal site soon, I'd imagine, I'll add links when they are.

UPDATE: Here's the speech and here's the video.

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6 comments:

Bailey said...

I didn't realize that the "rally" was.... well... going to be a rally. I thought it was supposed to be a bit more of an intimate event.

Bailey said...

Ah... I see in your next post that you thought it was going to be a wine/cheese/mixer type thing. I was under that impression as well.

A BCer in Toronto said...

Did you stay for the speech Bailey, what did you think of it?

It was fun but I was a bit sad it wasn't a mixer, I was looking forward to a few midweek rum and cokes...

Mark Dowling said...

With respect BCer - pack a similar hall in the Prairies or somewhere else where the LPC don't hold virtually every seat and that will be notable. To pack a hall in Toronto is merely "achieving expectations" at best.

Bailey said...

I didn't end up staying for the speech. I wanted to but I had to leave early. I mostly stopped by to say hi to a few people and it's right around the corner from where I work so there was no I couldn't stop by for a few minutes.

I'll take a look at the speeh and/or video when I get home later tonight.

A BCer in Toronto said...

To pack a hall in Toronto is merely "achieving expectations" at best.

You can't rain on our parade Mark! :)

But seriously, I didn't say it was a monumental political achievement. It was, however, a very successful event, and a great speech.