Saturday, May 06, 2006

Blogging the LPC(O), Day Two: Bill Graham, then desert

After the mandatory rubber chicken lunch (back in BC it was a rubber salmon, mmm) and before a very tasty desert, our interim leader Bill Graham took to the stage to fire up the troops.

After pumping-up the crowd a bit Bill went into attack mode, squarely making the Mike Harris-Stephen Harper connection and promised not to let Harper and Jim Flaherty do to Canada what Harris and Flaherty did to Ontario with their mean-spirited, short-sighted, neo-conservative agenda.

He said we need to prove to Canadians that we’re ready to govern, but we can do it. He gave props to the LPC’s Alberta wing; he was at their AGM recently and said despite their election setbacks, and just the case of being a Liberal in Alberta, they’re fired-up and ready to go.

We need to take stock of the party and our faults honestly, but he also pointed to our strengths, including the largest opposition caucus in many years and a strong team in the Senate.

Then it was back to the attack and the Conservative’s “election budget”, which Bill called “short term gain for some, long term pain for all.” He said the omissions from the budget, including Kyoto and climate change, the Kyoto Accord, and leadership around social programs and post secondary leadership spoke much more about the Harper agenda than what actually was in the agenda.

Picking up on Ken Dryden’s remarks from last night, he also took a swing at Jack Layton and the NDP, saying he abandoned children, families and aboriginals for 10 more seats. Jack asked people to lend him their votes. Well, as Bill said, “they want their votes back Jack.”

Bill also stood up for Dalton McGuinty, referencing the Globe’s editorial this morning that called Harper’s behaviour the other day “unworthy of a Prime Minister.”

Speaking of the Globe I ran into Globe political reporter Bill Curry today. Bill was in my year at Carleton University and on my dorm floor in first year (what seems like so many years ago) and is a solid reporter; you can read his coverage of Graham’s speech here and last night’s leadership forum here.

I thought it was a good speech from Graham. He earned two standing ovations, and you could tell there’s a lot of respect for him in the room.

I’m also glad to see we’re beginning to take on the NDP as well. As I said some months back, watch the left.The Liberal Party lost the last election, don’t get me wrong. But Jack Layton needs to be held to account as well. A lot of people lent him their votes because he promised them a bill of goods. They can’t be very happy with what he’s delivered.

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1 comment:

Ted Betts said...

Of the whole rest of the weekend (i.e. Saturday and Sunday) that I couldn't attend, missing his speech is what I regret the most.

If he was 10 years younger, more people would have pushed him to run for leadership. As it is, I think it would be great to see him lead the team into an early election, debate Harper and Layton and Duceppe.