Thursday, June 09, 2011

Night One: #cpc11 live blog

6:30 pm: I have my blogger/media pass, I've navigated my way through the brand new Ottawa convention centre, I've paid $33.90 for WiFi (you're welcome, dear readers) and I'm settled into the front row of the media section (at the waaaay back of the convention hall) for night one of Conservative Majoritypalooza 2011.

I'll be liveblogging the evening's festivities right here in this post, so keep refreshing for regular commentary, sarcastic and otherwise.

6:35 pm: The cover band in the hall is trying to get Conservative delegates out of the wine and cheese mixer and into the hall. They just played No Satisfaction; can't help but feel it was dedicated to the Liberal blogger at the pack of the hall...

Did I say cash bar? I didn't. But it is. $8 for wine, $7.25 for hard stuff, beer from $3.75 to $7.25 if you want the elitist imported stuff or a microbrew. There is, however, lots of free cheese and some very tasty kettle chips. I've become a big kettle chip fan over the last few months. It's really the only way to do chips, in my view.

6:40 pm: So what's on the program tonight? Apparently Stockwell Day will give the big speech tonight. I saw his wife Valerie earlier on her way into the hall. Senators anthem singer (and OPP constable, IIRC) Lyndon Slewidge will sing O'Canada. I hear Canucks anthem virtuosso Mark Donnley did the same deed for a Conservative campaign rally (news that really choked-up this Canucks fan, I tell you). The CPC seems to have a lock on our hockey anthem singers, although maybe the NDP has the Canadiens guy. Anyway, Senators Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Jacques Demers, and MP Steve Blaney, will MC.

6:51 pm: The shindig was supposed to start 21 minutes ago, but people are still filing in. The PA is getting increasingly pissed off as he implores everyone to take a dammed seat, already. Actually he still sounds nauseatingly perky, but that just means he could break into profanity-laced rage at any moment. I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, in the halls the topics of debate seem to be one member one vote and the youth wing. James Moore, for one, didn't want to be seen within a country mile of a position on omov. Every system has its merits, he said. Debate is good. Now how can the Canucks manage to solve Tim Thomas?

OK, looks like we're starting.

6:56 PM: Lyndon Slewidge with a stirring rendition of O'Canada. I'm shocked not one member of media row (besides me) stood for O'Canada. You don't need to be neutral on that mes amis; it's the national anthem...

Meanwhile, apparently John "Canada's face to the world" Baird is the convention host. He's on stage now, and I think he gets $10 every time he says "strong, stable Conservative majority government." Someone owes him $50.

7:01 PM: It's the first political event in the new Ottawa Convention Centre (which is really very nice, but not as nice as Vancouver's -- the reclaimed pine beetle wood makes the difference) which Baird notes was made possible by a contribution from Canada's Economic Action Plan. Because if it was a gazebo is Muskoka, it would be funded from the border security fund.

7:06 PM: Baird is turning the stage over to Wallin and Blaney. Wallin jokes letting foreign affairs minister Baird out on the word stage without adult supervision could be dangerous. At least, I think she was joking. No, I'm sure she was joking. Fairly sure.

Wallin reminds crowd she covered Ottawa as a journalist (ed. opinion elite). Send money, they're infiltrating the caucus! No one boos, anyway, and then they cheer when she says they're going to finally kill the gun registry. They're going to really reform the Senate too, she says. Well, not really because they won't open the constitution to give the West proper representation, but they're going to pretend to be reforming it at least.

7:11 pm: Blaney says unlike some new Quebec MPs, he can find his riding on a map, and Wallinm adds he has a driver's license and is drinking age too. This is conservative humour typified: ill-intentioned cracks at others.

Demers and Duffy will be "floor reporters." Duffy is now introducing Ajax-Pickering MP Chris Alexander, who defeated Liberal Mark Holland. After a few classy(less) shots at Holland, he makes a crack about "liberating Holland" again which, surely, can't be comparing the Liberals to the Nazis,c an it? Oh, wait, it was Mike Duffy, sure it could be.

7:18 PM: Demers is interviewing someone from Quebec who spends two minutes ripping on Jack Layton and the NDP. There's your new era of decorum, Jack.

7:20 PM: The Conservative Party president is speaking now; John Walsh. I hadn't heard his name before today. Apparently he doesn't regularly go on TV and say baffling things, keeps a low profile, and competently does his work behind the scenes. My, that's quite the concept...

7:26 PM: Hey, it's that campaign ad the CPC ripped off the Tim Pawlenty campaign. Actually, as a student of political communications I really like this ad. It's a nice piece of film-making.

Anyway, if you're drinking at home do a shot every time a speaker says "strong, stable..."

Walsh is now introducing Jason Kenney, minister for curry in a hurry.

7:29 PM: Kenney says the likes the sound of foreign affairs minister John Baird. Because he totally didn't want that job...

Kenney is taking us on a trip down revisionist history lane, when Liberals raised taxes (untrue, we cut taxes across the board) and slashing military spending (Reform wanted bigger DND cuts) and insulting our allies (like the UAE?).

7:34 PM: Kenney is saying "they" dont' think the CPC's majority victory is real, that it was a fluke. Who are they? The strawman in Jason's head. He looks like the scare crow from the Wizard of Oz. Anyway, he's going on and on attacking the Liberals saying they barely won seats thanks to vote splitting, and citing stat after stat on historical vote counts and margins. Because nothing stirs a crowd like random statistics!

7:37 PM: Now Kenney is ripping on the CBC. Now where's James Moore again... Big cheer for talking about the return of Tory Toronto. And a shot at the Toronto Star, the only endorsing major media organization that didn't endorse his party.

7:42 PM: Now he's moving from the Liberals to the NDP, whose orange crush was apparently no match for the blue wave. Apparently "downtown" Jack Layton doesn't share your values like "uptown" Stephen Harper does. Leaside is totally rural, you know.

7:47 PM: Kenney says every CPC MP won their nomination on their merits, no appointments. *cough* Rob Anders *cough*. He goes on that they're going to govern for a long time beause "conservative values are Canadian values." You may recall they used to rip on the Liberals saying "Liberal values are Canadian values" but that's totally different, you elitist loser.

You know, it's amazing how quickly these folks have come to think what is now will be forever, and will never change. They are so quickly becoming that which they have always (and still) despised.

7:54 PM: Stock Day gets a welcoming video montage. Keeping my fingers crossed or jet ski or Niagara Falls footage...

7:55 PM: No such luck. Anyway, Stock thought he'd just be here to do damage control after Kenney's speech, didn't realize it would be a tribute. Anyway, after thanking some folks Stock says now that he doesn't have to worry about a cabinet appointment, he has a few words for "Steve." But then his wife comes out on stage with a stop sign that says "we love Harper", in a Senate page reference.

8:02 PM: Stock tells whiny Liberal MPs those offices don't belong to them. Cheap shot, Barney, but whatevs. Now he's saying he's glad it's the media, and not his party, taking shots at young now NDP MPs. The crowd applauds. The same crowd that applauded Wallin and Blaney for taking shots at young NDP MPs. And I'm sure none of the delegates will see the contradiction, but I found it hard not to heckle (I'm trying to bring some decorum to media row).

8:10 PM: Anyway, a few silly partisan remarks aside, Stock's speech is fairly good. A call to his colleagues for decorum, for values, for respect, and to work to build the nation in their vision. The freedom of a former politician...

Stock is warning that the NDP takes one example of legitimate suffering and wrongly condemn the system. A tactic the Conservatives would totally never employ.

Now he's talking about global financial markets; I drifted off and thought Paul Martin was on the stage.

8:16 PM: Days talking about the G8/G20. He says we totally mispent all that money and misled Parliament, we were wrong and we're, just kissing. He's trumpeting a pledge to reduce debt and help women in developing countries that don't want abortions.

Now he's talking to the media and says with freedom comes responsibility; he wants them to improve their decorum too. And taking a page from his caucus, the media heckles him (not really). Now in urging the media not to attack politicians, he's attacking the media for personal attacks and attacking people's personal difficulties. Because those bastards should really be nicer.

8:21 PM: OK, Stock has gone off the rails. No personal attacks, so the Taliban-coddling Liberals should start supporting the troops for a change. Mmmm kay. And we'll just ignore the tens of millions his party spent demonizing Michael Ignatieff and Stephane Dion. Seriously Stock, get your head out of your ass. I agree with your call for more civility, but you don't usher in a new era of civility by calling everyone you disagree with assholes and pretending your record is as clean as virgin snow. You've jumped the shark, dude.

8:27 PM: Now he's talking about Chinese innovations in steel production. No, really.

8:35 PM: OK, he's done. Peter MacKay is up now with a wooden box to thank Day. "Strong, stable, national..." drink!. He thinks Harper got the Jets back in Winnipeg, and is the latest speaker to doom the Canucks cup chances.

8:42 PM: MacKay is talking about how we're fighting so the people of Afghanistan can have costly, unnecessary elections that prevent Hamid Karzai from doing the important work of governing Afghanistan, because a sea of troubles laps at its shores.

In the wooden box is a Canadian flag that flew over the memorial at Kandahar air field by our task force commander in Afgianistan; tat's cool.

8:46 PM: Retired and defeated Conservative MPs coming to the stage to be recognized.

8:52 PM: And that's it. Delegates are off to drink in hospitality suites paid for by corporations like Visa Canada. And I may just do so too. Will try to post some video later. But for now, good night, and good luck.

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C4SR said...

Because if it was a gazebo is Muskoka, it would be funded from the border security fund.

If you keep writing things like that, you will owe me a new keyboard.

Mark Richard Francis said...

"In the wooden box is a Canadian flag that flew over the memorial at Kandahar air field by our task force commander in Afgianistan;"

I hope it was only on loan to the Cons. Actually, it bothers me being used as a political prop.