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Index for my Toronto Budget 2004 project
The Conservative Leadership Convention
22/03/2004

On Friday night I happened to watch the leadership speeches of the three Conservative candidates. I haven't been following the campaign closely, so I didn't know these speeches were going to be on. These are some comments I wrote afterwards:

Belinda:

  • Afterwards people were commenting on how much she had improved during the campaign. Well, based on what I saw Friday night, that's a pretty scary comment. She has a long way to go.
  • I watched on the CBC where they told us she was going to throw away her script and speak from the heart. She stood up and said "I am throwing away my script and will speak from the heart."
  • Of course, she then went on to continually refer to notes in her hand. (Photo, via Inkless Wells.)
  • Is the Conservative Party about anything besides lower taxes and sticking with the Americans? From Belinda's speech, I can't tell.
  • The CBC was trying to make a controversy out of Peter McKay appearing in Belinda's video after telling the TV audience that he was neutral. I don't think it was such a big deal, but wasn't it odd the way Belinda answered questions about it by refering people back to McKay? It was as if she wanted to leave open the impression he did support her.

Harper:

  • I don't know when the last time I heard him speak was, but I was impressed.
  • Good delivery, good enthusiasm. The Conservatives ought to be happy to have him as leader.
  • Harper's strong confidence in beating Martin must be exciting for Conservatives. By asserting this so firmly he actually seemed to dissolve the formerly common knowledge that he can't win.
  • Again, however, in terms of ideas he didn't particularly excite me. But, hey, it's not my party. Sometime before the election I hope to write about what aspects of his platform I like or don't like.

Clement:

  • His speech was good but I didn't like his video. I was turned off by what I felt was pandering to the west's chip on its shoulder.
  • All the talk of winning "Ontario"? That must be annoying for people outside the province. But winning Ontario will be based on the platform more than the leader, I think
  • Good move, getting down into the crowd. But anti-climactic after Harper.

Other bloggers have already had some interesting things to say:

  • Warren Kinsella -- scroll to March 20 in lieu of permalinks -- wrote first what many of us seem to be thinking -- this guy Harper is looking better than we thought he would.
  • Paul Wells was there, and shares some insight.
  • Kevin Brennan was also there, as a delegate. He reports a lot of observations, including the fact that John Tory is taller than he expected. Oddly, during the mayoral campaign, I noted that Tory was one of the two tallest candidates but still wore shoes designed to make him look even taller. Check out his feet next time.
  • Decentralization will be the Conservatives' thrust in the election campaign, according to The Middleman. Obviously he means insofar as they talk about their own policy rather than about the corrupt angry rats.

And speaking of Harper's "rats" comment, I found it odd to hear a Liberal spokesperson on the radio on Sunday complaining about how insulting and dirty that was at the same time that he was calling Harper an extremist. Remember, Harper's remark about the Liberals as "a cornered, angry rats" was his way of saying they are about to attack the Conservatives like never before.


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