The Final Days: Oakville - Macleans.ca

The Final Days: Oakville

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(From now through the end of the campaign next week, I’ll be with the Liberal tour. Regular reports should appear here irregularly.)

A sunny morning on Main Street. Mr. Dion emerges from the bus emblazoned with his face, accompanied by his wife and somewhat overwhelmed-looking daughter. The requisite crowd of sign-waving partisans cheers his arrival.

The slow-moving mob, picking up cameras and microphones and gawkers as it goes, proceeds up the street. The necessary charming of small children, senior citizens and household pets proceeds. 

Mr. Dion enters a diner. The brunch crowd applauds. The candidate is directed to a bakery. A mother there poses her son with him and introduces the tall gentleman as the next prime minister of Canada.

“What do we now Bonnie?” Mr. Dion asks. “We’re going to buy some croissants,” explains Bonnie Brown, the local MP. 

He approaches the counter and the cameras click away and the bakery owner emerges with a box of chocolate pastries. Mr. Dion insists on paying. The baker and he discuss tax policy.

Next it’s a coffee shop. The Liberal leader greets customers, then steps behind the counter to pour a few cups. One of his aides asks the crowd if anyone would like a coffee, an elderly woman steps forward seeking a cup of black. “That’s on the house, from Stephane,” Dion offers. “Careful, it’s very hot.”

The woman giggles.

A few minutes and a couple dozen handshakes later, Dion’s back on the bus, the mob having moved approximately two blocks.