A few after-by-election notes, mostly from the Vaughan perspective here.
Did Fantino really say this? This seems like an amazingly egotistical thing for a politician to say:
"I believe in our government, I believe in our ideas and vision for a stronger Canada. I believe in me and reject the fearmongering and risky Michael Ignatieff coalition."Love that little indicator. "I believe in me." Say what? Could be some interesting times to come with Mr. Fantino, we will be watching intently. I didn't catch any of the television coverage last night since I was in Vaughan helping out and we weren't watching any coverage at the wrap-up. So, it wasn't until today that I did manage to catch a glimpse of Fantino's speech. What I did catch seemed to be almost hostage-like in its quality with the reading of text uncomfortably and quickly. Didn't quite have that "I believe in me" spirit if you know what I mean.
Hopefully, however, it won't be a long engagement for Mr. Fantino as MP, Tony Genco seems to be vowing another run with this statement from his speech last night: "One way or the other we'll be back." Back he should be, indeed, he gave Fantino a great run and almost pulled off a fantastic upset. Now Genco's got the name recognition working for him next time and the vibe of having almost pulled it off this time. He comes off as the almost winner who almost knocked off Harper's star, there's shine to be had from that. Liberals should keep the heat on Fantino, there is some vulnerability for him given the issues that came to the light near the end of the campaign (more play for the Caledonia issue, for example) and a sense that there may be some discomfort with him among voters and therefore an inability to gain a wider traction. Genco also had likability over Fantino, I'd say, and they should continue to play that up in a post-campaign.
There is a strong Liberal base in that riding, to state the obvious, yes, but I am repeating it since I saw it with the time that I did spend there and it really made an impact on me. It is heartening and refreshing to hear support at the doors and the assured commitment from voters. There can be so much negativity online and in the media, particularly what we've seen in the last few weeks, this contrast was welcome and one I will be trying hard not to forget.
The Vaughan operation was very impressive and very organized, a pretty well oiled get out the vote operation yesterday which bodes well for a future federal campaign. A great run-through of the recent messages, policy and how they played. I hope there is a good after-event analysis of all that and some translation of the effort on to a wider national scale, a sharing behind the scenes of what was learned. Leverage it, it was a good experience.
On a people note, I just want to add this because I was also struck by this aspect of the Vaughan campaign...there were (and are) a host of young Liberals working behind the scenes who are incredibly talented and possess some of that generational change mojo which we like to focus on here and there as we look at the parties. I don't really have that much more to add to the point but they're an impressive bunch and I think are making a difference.
Otherwise, some of the aftermath reporting and analysis in the media seems rote, like this Taber piece full of Conservative spin and this Ibbitson piece full of woe for Liberals. Both seem quite off, almost an inability to deal with new material from both the analyst's perspective (Ibbitson) and in terms of the Conservative spin that's being doled out today. There was much laughter and confidence last night in Vaughan. Liberals seemed pretty ebullient, even emboldened. Can't fight those national platforms but we can say what we saw in contrast.
Won't add anything regarding the other races which I didn't follow that closely. Only one, Winnipeg-North, provided much excitement. If you want to see more on the by-election numbers (none of which you will have found here!), I'd recommend this.
Update (5:30 p.m.): Bonus audio of the "I believe in me" moment (courtesy of John Moore, CFRB 1010 via LibArtsAndMinds on twitter):