Thursday, November 30, 2006

Convention Buzz

Kennedy and Dion:
There was much speculation Thursday that Dion and Kennedy had sealed a pact, wherein the first off the ballot will throw his support to the other. Both camps denied it and, in any event, other camps questioned how likely it is that either can deliver his delegates to the other.

Rumor has it that when Dion and Kennedy bumped into each other at tonight's Martin lovein, no words were exchanged but Kennedy apparently put a doggie bone in Dion's jacket pocket for Kyoto. Need I say more?

Volpe, Volpe, Volpe:
There were more rumours of a possible deal between second-place Bob Rae and bottom-tier candidate Joe Volpe.

During a session in which Rae took questions from delegates, one Liberal member asked if he thought Volpe was getting a tougher time during the race than he deserved.

"I've known Joe for a long time, and he's one of the most practiced, seasoned parliamentarians and politicians in the country,'' Rae said.

"And I believe he's somebody that has a lot to contribute to this race, and somebody who continues to have a lot to contribute to political life in Canada.''

According to CP, some party insiders were suggesting the dialogue had been pre-written by both camps.

Maybe just a coincidence, but several Rae organizers were spotted leaving the Cimetière Notre-Dame-des-Neiges late last night, which may suggest a concerted effort to sway Volpe support.

Brison Bash:
The Liberal leadership race will be won in intimate gatherings like the one seventh-place contender Scott Brison hosted late Thursday.

The lone Atlantic candidate feted his 180 delegates at Montreal's swish Mount Stephen Club - and he invited the top four leadership hopefuls to come and try to poach as many of them as they could.

Front-runner Michael Ignatieff and his second-place rival, Bob Rae, were the only ones to show up for the bash at the blue-chip enclave a few blocks from the convention centre. They shook hands and willingly posed for photos with delegates who will become free agents once their first choice drops off the ballot on Saturday.

Gerard Kennedy did not show up but sent his "rock star" emissary, Justin Trudeau, to make the rounds at the elegant club, where the city's business elite nosh amid the gleaming wood and intricate stained glass.

Stephane Dion didn't turn up and did not send a stand-in.

With no one assured of victory and any of the top four candidates having a realistic shot at victory, the omission seemed odd.

The slight did not go unnoticed by Brison stalwarts, some of whom intrepreted Dion's absence as a sign that the fourth-place contender simply doesn't have the organization necessary to launch a come-from-behind victory.

Word on the street, whichever candidate uses the word "Atlantica" during his convention speech, without smiling, will get Brison's endorsment.

One Member, Some Votes:

Also on Thursday, delegates rejected moving the party to a direct one-member, one-vote leadership process through a national poll, which means this weekend may not mark the last Liberal leadership convention decided by delegates.

In a strange show of irony, less than 2% of Liberals decided how the other 98% felt. Another victory for equality, eliminating the claims that the Liberal Party is top-heavy.

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