Okay, so I’m going to level with y’all, since our relationship is, after all, based on trust: I am not *technically* on the battlefield at the moment. What with yesterday’s three hour stint standing on the edge of that flowerbed, and the fact that the English debate doesn’t start until 9pm, I figured that I’d be justified in waiting a little bit longer before heading into the heart of the placard-waving mob. I’m close by, mind you – at the corner of Sparks and Elgin – and keeping a watchful eye from afar.
So far, I can report that the Greens have taken over the strategically important traffic triangle – think of it as a warm water port, if that helps – and have surrounded the sole remaining Tory, obscuring his Brian McGarry sign from all but the most careful observer.
The NDP, meanwhile, have kept their turf – right beside the driveway, forming a solid orange bloc along the sidewalk – and the Liberals appear to have maintained control of the central area to the right of the media entrance – tactically, a smart move, even if it means slightly less driveby visibility.
The Tories, meanwhile, are lined up across from the British embassy — I can’t tell for sure, but the numbers seem slightly lessened from yesterday, but again, it’s early yet. I’m sure as soon as the bell rings out at Lancaster Road, the minivan convoy will be rolling this way.
I’m not close enough for any chants – I’m sure there will be more than enough time for me to wildly mishear those later in the evening, never fear – but I’m sure they’re happening as we speak. Oh, and the NDP bus is driving by now and then, with predictable results.
Anyway, I’m sure I’ll have more to report later.
And now – we’re back! And my goodness, this *is* considerably more high energy than last night – although oddly, the Conservatives seem to have less of a presence, although they do have a megaphone, and are determinedly chanting “Not a Leader, not a leader!” Because that’s old school, yo.
Meanwhile on the other side, we have “Write a speech! Write a speech!” Which is — new school. Unschool. The Liberals have obtained megaphones, and are clearly making up for lost time.
They’ve blocked off my flowerbed, incidentally – which is annoying, but not a dealbreaker – and I am now sticking close to a new ground zero: the street light. Hey, if I see more than three parties laying claim to a section of turf, I consider it neutral territory.
The Tory theme, btw – “Tonight, filling in for Bob Rae — Stephane Dion!” That’s from Team Tory, in case you didn’t guess. “This is unfair – unfair!”
Okay, I now have an Earth Ball. I’m — not sure what to do with that. It came from a group that may or may not be affiliated with one of the parties, but which is here to demand action on climate change, which they are doing by tossing plastic balls in the air while accompanied by someone dressed in a polar bear suit.
Also, there is a Harper *and* a Bush lookalike wandering the crowd.
“Liberal Party: Missing one leader and $40 million!”
The Conservatives have *tambourines*. I consider that, frankly, made of win, but I admit to a soft spot for tambourines in general.
You know, one thing I should really point out – for all the combative sloganeering, this is a very collegial gathering. I made a John Baird supporter hug the Earth Ball, for heaven’s sake. (“You’re the environment minister! You can’t kick it!’) There is good natured rivalry, but really, these people – they share so mich of the same qualities. They’re here, screaming their lungs out at each other but with a smile, because they love this stuff.
Okay, the somewhat obscure “family equality” protest group has established a benchhead. Next step: a coherent message. Fathers4Justice appears to be involved, which doesn’t bode well.
The leaders’ arrivals, by the way, are absurdly non-dramatic. Really, it’s just an excuse to take over the streets.
The Liberal Fiendishly Sarcastic Sign Design Team has a new treat for us – a Conservative candidate poster with Howard’s picture – the C with cute little kangaroo logo inside – and the slogan “Wrong Leadership. A Better Australia.”
Okay, I’m over in NDP corner, where the chanting is less tongue-in-cheek. “Women rights! Under attack!” “Can’t you feel, can’t you see? The NDP will set you free!”
Uh. That’s a little heavy, but whatever keeps you warm. There is a tiny contingent of Tories on this side – like, four – who may just not have figured out how to run the gauntlet. They look very much alone.
The Tories are completely dominating the other side of the street, however – the all important Laurier Opticals zone. There are actually hand-lettered signs: “We won’t be ticked” and “Not worth the risk!” In Oily yellow. Oh, and tambourines. I wonder if there’s any way I can score a tambourine.
Okay, before I must flee for my eventual destination – the debatewatching party at the Public Policy Forum – I must pass on this bit of advice to the Green Party: When standing on a traffic intersection, inveigling passersby to honk, the chant you want is not, in fact, “Cars are bad! Cars are bad!”
With that bit of advice, I leave you, just as the Young Liberals who have somehow made it onto the roof of the NAC, broadcast the Harper-Howard duet. It seems as fitting a momet as any yo head for my debate watching gala (to which I will be wearing jeans, for the record).
See you at the groupblog later!