Tuesday, February 26, 2008

post-forum comments

After receiving the wrong address for the forum tonight (and posting the wrong address on this blog...) I walked into the local police station in the hopes the cops would have a directory. I eventually did find the forum location just off 97th street but walked in about 20 minutes late. Evidently they waited for me.

Some other Wildrose candidates were there (unnecessarily I thought because two in particular had small children who probably didn't want to be there, although I appreciated the idea of coming out to support me), and when I saw John Baloun I asked him if he didn't want to end up front because he is a more experienced politician and knows how to keep his messaging crisp. I'm a team player in that if we have a better rabble rouser around, give that guy or girl in the spotlight.

The NDP representative came across as your neighborhood library lady, which left room for the young Liberal guy, Brad Smith, to pick up the guantlet in a more punchy, unscripted way for some leftish causes like supporting rent controls, trade restrictions, and a grab bag of other issues. I'm sure he'd rather be trying to knock me off than Brian Mason. It seems he'd checked out my online presence because he made a reference to me when he took a shot at what he called "textbook answers" that don't address real problems in the real world. That gave me a chance to respond, although I didn't respond like I should have.

How should have I responded? By simply providing, in a loud and clear voice, that quote by the Vietnamese minister about how the Americans couldn't destroy Hanoi but their rent controls did. When I went into detail I lost people. After the forum an older member of the audience regaled me with that old chestnut of how Demosthenes improved his elocution by practicing with a mouthful of stones.

Both the PC and Liberals guys received some hostile questions: one person demanded that the Liberal explain his "arrogance" and another person blurted "that's an affront!" to a particular dig by the PC guy.

At one point we got a question about proportional representation. Having just read today an Edmonton Journal report that my party's leader supports first-past-the-post, I said that PR is ultimately a means to an end, with the end being have a voice for a group of Albertans who deserve an advocate, and so if that voice can be heard without my having a seat, so be it. The Liberal was able to give one of his best answers here by ticking off pros and cons on the issue.

Afterwards the Liberal guy and I agreed we should catch up sometime after election day, and talking with the PC candidates there one gets the impression that they have some pretty competent candidates. A large part of that, of course, is that many PC nomination battles crown a MLA so the winners of those battles should be stronger than what typically comes out of an lightly or uncontested nomination. That doesn't help much, though, when these people would just end up backbenchers in the top-down Tory organization.

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