Sunday, July 10, 2005

Ride 'em Cowboy

The Stampede is now in full swing - the annual event where Calgarians try to dispel the stereotype that they are red necked yahoos by dressing up in cowboy gear and shouting "yee-haw" at everyone. I attended a pair of Stampede breakfasts this weekend, and if I'm going to report on Stephen Harper's summer schmoozing, I suppose it's only fair that I give a recount of the not so subtle leadership networking going on in Liberal circles this summer.

Finance Minister Jack Layton Ralph Goodale was the speaker at the annual Liberal Stampede breakfast, as Paul Martin was a no show. For the record, those criticizing Martin for skipping the Stampede need to reasses their definition of a Prime Minister's role in governing the country. Regardless, Ralph gave a descent speech, although I thought he came on a little strong defending the NDP budget deal ("it's not that bad guys...really...I'm still the Finance Minister...really I am..."). There were 6 Cabinet Ministers at the event (Goodale, McLellan, Brison, Volpe, Stronach, Mitchell), several Senators, and 100% of Alberta's Liberal MPs. Belinda was clearly the most popular and after talking to her for 20 or 30 seconds, I'm convinced that I'm being a little unfair in describing Stephen Harper as a robot. Honestly, she's the most android-like politician I've ever met in my life. But I'll give her credit: considering how despised she is in Alberta right now, it took guts to come to the Stampede and to dance it up all night long at Cowboys.

Sunday was the Senator Dan Hays' breakfast, always a mini-festival in itself. Scott Brison and Joe Volpe were quite visible greeting the locals and not, I repeat, not, campaigning for leadership. Jim Dinning and Lyle Oberg were also there from 6:45 a.m. onwards, meeting the visitors and not, I repeat, not campaigning for leadership. I also bumped into Paul Wells who was on assignment investigating the growth of Equality Party support in Calgary.

8 Comments:

  • I hear the Equality Party now has majority support in 15 west end Calgary ridings.

    D :P

    By Blogger daveberta, at 9:20 PM  

  • 1. "It's good media time, but I think it's secondary to delivering policies that are important to the region," Fridhandler said. "We are not going to rid the country of western alienation by flipping pancakes at the Stampede."

    This is a binary thing. By attending one either helps heal wounds or perceived wounds (same thing politically), or exacerbate things by staying away. No middle ground.

    2. Given the way Martin ran around the country inspecting turd factories when the Tories had the upper hand in the post-Brault shock, that he can't fit one pancake flip into a 10-day event speaks volumes.

    The big part of being Prime Minister, of course, has nothing to do with flipping pancakes. But an important part of the job of Prime Minister *is* showing up, moreso than for cabinet ministers. So if 8 of them can make it, why can't he?

    Also, given that he toured the flooding damage 2 weeks late, it really doesn't look good.

    By Blogger matt, at 11:58 PM  

  • matt; Paul was likely more interested in the turd factories when the government's future was at stake, or in coming to Calgary when there were delegates to be won than he is now that there are ridings to...get 20% in.

    But still - he did visit last year and I don't think it's neccesary to come flip some pacakes at a Liberal fundraiser in Calgary during the summer. Coming to see flood damage, yeah, I can see the need for that, but I'm willing to cut Paul some slack on this one. I mean, does he really have to spend his summer taking a government jet from city to city to visit every festival?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:25 AM  

  • I, too, was at both. I was struck by how you couldn't get anywhere near a cabinet minister at either event without first paying proper fealty to Daryl Fridhandler and his slippery sidekick John Bethel. If Mr. Shapiro didn't have his head so far up his ass, I think he might have something interesting to say about their little web of sleaze. Luckily, they're both exceedingly incompetent, so it's sure to end in a train wreck of spite and recrimination.

    And Miss Stronach proved that money can't buy class. Honey, if you're going to wear tight white pants, make sure you wear the appropriate knickers, for the love of god. Once an Aurora girl, always an Aurora girl, I guess.

    I think the average age of the Hays breakfast was about 85. But the sausages were delicious.

    And screw god damn Ezra Levant and his alienation industry. What would Albertans like to feel closer to Toronto? How about a 8.5% provincial sales tax? Would that do?

    By Anonymous Bastard out of Stettler, at 12:27 AM  

  • Just out of curiosity, why do you think it's necessary for Calgarians to dispel cowboy stereotypes?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:56 PM  

  • I don't think it's neccesary...it's just that a lot of Calgarians don't like the stereotype but then ride with it during Stampede.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:22 PM  

  • I get multiple fireworks displays from my balcony for 10 days straight and get to be drunk, free, for a week, at work. I'll put up with the cowboy hat.

    By Blogger matt, at 7:15 PM  

  • My research shows Equality peaked in 1976 in Calgary, thanks largely to the Buddhist vote. We've got a crack Le Devoir team on it.

    By Anonymous Paul Wells, at 3:49 PM  

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