Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Liberal leadership convention - 10 years later

No, I'm not talking about the current one, I'm talking about the Ontario one that has suddenly resurfaced among the blogging community. You know, the one where Dalton McGuinty passed Gerard Kennedy on the final ballot, coming from fourth. I was at that convention - one of the Oriole riding's youth delegates for Joe Cordiano, if you're interested. Everyone in my riding was supporting Cordiano, partly because our MPP, Elinor Caplan, was helping to run his campaign.

I always point to that convention as the point when I got completely turned off of active involvement in party politics. I got to watch the Ontario Young Liberals try to strong-arm other youth delegates in a highly aggressive manner. I got to watch Gerard Kennedy's team alienate everyone else in Maple Leaf Gardens by challenging every single delegate's credentials both at registration and on the first ballot - which is why the convention results weren't available until around 3 or 4 AM. I had the experience of watching campaign teams run fake slates to bolster their riding numbers. And I had endless people try to "spin" me in terms of my voting intentions. I saw the egregious written French on a Kennedy team flyer (as a French major, I circled the most obvious errors and passed them on to a senior person in my group). I also have vivid memories of it being well past midnight when Cordiano was knocked off the ballot, and asking my sister, who was also a delegate, who she was going to vote for. Upon learning that we were going to cancel out each other's ballots, we decided to go home to bed rather than join the massive voting line.

I found the entire process exhausting and unpleasant. Seeing the uglier side of party politics didn't appeal to me, and I was not a McGuinty fan either. I soon fell out of active participation with my riding association (Elinor Caplan soon moved into federal politics as well, and her people with whom I was friends drifted away as well). I had a brief flirtation with NDP membership during the early Martin years, and am now contentedly non-partisan.

But for the record, that convention has been my model for interpreting what is going on this weekend. The numbers are lining up similarly, and I think this is a wide open race. No predictions on the winner from me!

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At 11:15 am, Blogger Idealistic Pragmatist said...

I hate that sort of thing, too--and I am a political partisan. I just find the infighting so damn ugly.

At 11:27 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Prediction -- Dion....4th ballot

At 6:48 pm, Blogger Catherine said...

Who did I say I was going to vote for? I have completely forgotten...

At 7:28 pm, Blogger Matt said...

Catherine - as I recall, you were going to vote for McGuinty, I was going to vote for Kennedy. But I could have that reversed.

At 12:44 pm, Blogger Catherine said...

And indeed you do. The one thing I remember is that it was *not* McGuinty. I've always thought he was a smarmy bastard.

Kennedy, on the other hand, is like the cable-knit sweater of politicians.


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