Friday, February 10, 2012

Notes on the Toronto-Danforth nomination meeting

Grant Gordon was nominated as the Liberal candidate for Toronto-Danforth last night for the upcoming March 19th by-election. I attended as a scrutineer and have just a few observations on the night.

In terms of impressions of the newly nominated candidate, Grant Gordon, he connected well with the room, which, as it turned out, largely supported him. Lines like this one went over quite well given the abortion issue that had been raised in the past few days:
I don’t need to be a woman to fight for women’s rights, including the right to make their own choices about their own bodies,” he said, setting off cheers and whistles in the crowd.
Gordon seems quite likeable and has a sense of humour, evident in his nomination campaign. He seems like the type of candidate who will connect well with the breadth of voters across the riding.

The speech served as a good campaign launch. I suspect that they will be honing their message in the days to come, particularly in respect of taking on the NDP candidate, Craig Scott.

On the turnout last night, the Toronto Star cited these comparative numbers on the Liberal and NDP nomination meetings respectively:
There were 355 votes cast out of 833 eligible voters, compared with about 500 cast at last month’s NDP nomination held in a cramped east-end church.
There was some buzzing online last night that the Liberal nomination wasn't so well attended. Comparatively speaking, given the riding and the Layton legacy, the numbers actually held up well. Here's one shot of the voting line up:
Oh, and this just didn't materialize:
Got to love the InfoAlerteBot! Yeah, the "Liberals for Life" factor was actually a non-factor. It was a useful reminder, however, to any riding association about the possibility of single issue groups targeting a riding. They can pay their $10, sign up and vote. $10 is not a huge hurdle. But, there was no such swarming last night. (Rules regarding riding association nominations did not change at the recent convention to include the new supporter category.)

On all this "star" candidate talk, well, it has definitely lowered expectations for the Liberal candidate. That is not such a bad thing. Further, the supposed "no-name" candidate who has resulted seems to be exactly the fit the party needs right now in such a by-election. Someone with roots in the riding, a new voice who understands that place of renewal the party is in: “I hope that I can bring to this election something new and dynamic.” Yes, please. I'm sure Canadians can stand a little more of that in their politics too.

Finally, it seems like the Toronto-Danforth Liberals have a lot of good young volunteers on that campaign who are highly organized, energized and ready to go. I'm sure they could use a hand from Libs around the city though. Monetarily and of the in-person kind. Best of luck to them.