Here’s one way to get a good crowd out to a rally with your politician: invite a bunch of unemployed mill workers, and tell them it’s a union meeting about their severance and employment insurance. Apparently it really fills a hall:
A handful of unemployed mill workers in northern Ontario say they were tricked into showing up for a town hall meeting Tuesday night featuring NDP leader Jack Layton.
The Canadian Energy and Paperworkers Union in Thunder Bay apparently sent an email to its members advising them of a 6 p.m. gathering in Thunder Bay, but made no mention that it was a political rally, said several workers who didn't want to be named.
Showing up at the local Ukrainian centre, they were surprised to see a campaign bus parked outside.
"I got an email from the union stating that it concerned our severance and (employment insurance) and I thought it was maybe some training issues,"said one former sawmill worker as he sipped a coffee and gawked at the lights and television cameras.
For the record, the NDP says it totally wasn’t their fault. Much like Puffin-gate was the fault of an overzealous staffer, this, says the NDP, the invite snafu was the fault of an errant union member.
Nevertheless, the incident sent the NDP into damage control, prompting a statement that blamed the affair on "a local union member" who sent an invitation to a few of his buddies.
"The email apparently failed to mention that it was a partisan event, and a handful of people showed up unaware of the nature of the event," said Karl Belanger, the NDP's campaign spokesman.
"Even though we had no part in sending this invitation, we are sorry for any inconvenience it may have caused."
That's probably pretty close to the truth. I doubt Jack Layton gathered the team and said let's hoodwink some unemployed mill workers. Maybe some mid or low-level organizer got a little overzealous. The puffin thing though: The Conservatives have been pulling that, well, crap on their Web site for years now. It wasn't an overzealous staffer: it's a philosophy. They just finally got called on it.
The common trend for Tuesday though seems to be, from bird-pooping video artists to union-organizing stealth partisans, it’s just so hard to find good help these days. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers