Liberal leadership festivities: a sneak preview - Macleans.ca

Liberal leadership festivities: a sneak preview

First, a moment of silence for the thousands of defenceless words about to be sacrificed

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Liberal leadership festivities: a sneak previewThe Liberal Party of Canada Leadership and Biennial Convention
Schedule of Events

Thursday, April 30

9:00 a.m. Registration begins. Making a rare public appearance, the recession will be on hand to ask delegates what more it could have done to dissuade them from spending thousands to attend a leadership convention whose outcome is preordained.

11:30 A moment of respectful silence will be observed for the thousands of defenceless words that are about to be sacrificed to state the following: Dion’s out, Iggy’s in.

12:00 p.m. National Membership Update. Everyone say hi to Dave.

2:00 A number of concurrent workshops are offered, including “Making Politics Meaningful.” The party’s MPs will offer their input by standing up and hollering accusations in 30-second increments.

Friday, May 1

8:00 a.m. Young Liberals of Canada Biennial Meeting. For those unfamiliar with the term, “biennial” is derived from a Latin word meaning “power-mad virgins.” Interesting factoid: thanks to the hard work of the YLC executive, a record 74 per cent of youth-sponsored policy resolutions at the 2009 convention will include the word “bong.”

9:00 Meeting of the Senior Liberals’ Commission. To save time at the microphone, all seniors are requested to complete in advance the following multiple-choice questionnaire: “I reckon things were better back in:

____ Trudeau’s day.”

____ King’s day.”

____ Bah, stupid kids with their baggy pants and their portable music machines . . .”

11:30 Policy Think Tank Session—Canada and the World: Earning our Place at the Table. This is where party members get down to the nuts and bolts of debating and formulating thoughtful and inspiring policies that the new leader will, in his first act as official party chief, completely ignore.

2:00 p.m. A series of Readiness Workshops will be held, including “E-day! How to Run and Win Campaigns.” Guest speaker: no one from the last three elections.

5:00 Official Convention Opening. Reflecting Michael Ignatieff’s support for Quebec’s recognition as a nation, a choir will perform a new multilingual anthem in which Liberals vow to stand on guard for the Canadian, Quebec, Acadian, First, Metis and scores of other nations, including Peru for some reason. It is expected to have a running time of 43 minutes (although, to be fair, that includes the drum solo).

7:30 Tribute to the Hon. Stéphane Dion begins. This won’t be the least bit awkward. (Quotes from the 2003 tribute to Jean Chrétien: “historic evening” . . . “remarkable man” . . . “inspiring and formidable.” Predicted quotes from the tribute to Dion: “evening” . . . “man” . . . “and.”)

8:10 The outgoing party leader is introduced with a retrospective video. In an effort to keep the crowd interested, the video will be a retrospective of the career of Def Leppard.

8:45 The words “green” and “shift” are uttered together for the final time. Thousands of kilometres away, somewhere deep in the Ottawa night, Stephen Harper awakens with a start, and a feeling of tremendous loss.

8:55 Dion walks off the stage and into the history books. Which, in retrospect, they never should have stacked so close to the stage.

9:30 Suite Night, a.k.a. the biennial opportunity for Young Liberals to get some. Rejected pickup lines are expected to include, “Which edition of Robert’s Rules of Order do you keep by your bed?” and “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Sheila Copps?”

Saturday, May 2

7:50 a.m. Hotel guests notice a drop in water pressure as anyone who came within 20 feet of Justin Trudeau the previous evening struggles to shower off the scent of self-satisfaction.

8:30 Policy Plenary. If this goes according to pattern, you can expect fierce debate on pertinent issues ranging from “Goddamn this hangover” to “Has anyone seen my pants?”

9:00 Voting commences. Let the Joe Volpe groundswell begin!

11:18 Though not scheduled to address the convention, Jean Chrétien surprises delegates by taking the stage and delivering a speech entitled “The Fundamental Case for Liberalism in a Time of You Miss Me Now, Don’t You? Don’t You?!

2:30 p.m. Leader’s Announcement and Speech. Keen to remove any lingering ethical stain from his party, Ignatieff uses his acceptance speech to come clean on one last Liberal lie: Pettigrew’s hair? A wig the whole time.

8:00 The Leader’s Celebration. The party is scheduled to feature the music of Spirit of the West and the spectacle of Political Leader Dancing Awkwardly.