Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dominic LeBlanc Wows In Vancouver

As part of our continuing Leadership Campaign 09 coverage we will be attempting to interview (or at least ask questions of) all our leadership hopefuls.  Some candidates will be more accessible.  

Tonight we had the opportunity to meet with Dominic LeBlanc, the young, dynamic, and very polished MP from Beausejour.  

Mr. LeBlanc met with a crowd of roughly 150 (perhaps more) Liberals from Greater Vancouver.  The Venue (the Backstage Lounge at the Arts Theatre on Granville Island) was well-suited to the meeting.  It appears a smaller back room was originally selected for the meeting, but the entire venue quickly filled up with Liberals eager to learn more about this interesting young man.  

There were plenty of "pro bueno" libations available, and the mood was upbeat.  Looking around the crowd, I was quite aware of a very eclectic mix of folks - meaning people from a variety of different leadership camps from 06, 04, and even 93.  This type of thing is always good for the party.  One of my table-mates worked for Ignatieff.  The woman at my left was not an active Liberal.  Okay, okay, she was my girlfriend...  Good cross-section of people too - young, old, and older, different cultures.  

Mr. LeBlanc gave a rousing talk about party renewal, the road ahead, what the party needs, etc.  He cracked a pretty good joke about the Metro Toronto book-club.  He was interrupted by applause a few times.  He seemed to have a pretty good feel for the crowd...  and the crowd for him.  He made a point of being "in it for the long-haul" - talking about the next election, and the one after that...

We asked Mr. LeBlanc a couple of pretty straight-up questions:
1) While winning the leadership of the party is one thing, what would he do to win over the "Joe Plumbers" and "Joe Six-packs" of Canada?
2) While it is a complex question requiring a complex question, briefly, what would he focus on to tackle the financial crisis?

Dominic - while intending to meet with everyone in the room - took a moment to carefully address both questions.  He was quick  on his feet, and was able to provide a substantive answer for each question.  In a nut-shell he feels that the party has strayed from our "centrist/moderate" path, and we need to work to reclaim the middle ground from the Harper Conservatives - who are pretending to be "moderate".  Regarding the financial crisis, Mr. LeBlanc feels that we do need to spend money to grow the industries which will get us out of this crisis.  We understood this to mean the "new economy".  

We were quite impressed with Mr. LeBlanc, and we look forward to his future visits to Greater Vancouver.  

We will continue with this line of questioning for our future discussions with leadership hopefuls, as growing the party in Canada with ordinary Canadians is important - as is the economy.  If we are unable to be given the time for a few words, we'll try to piece together their views from their public statements.  We will always report on the number and mood of the room.


Anonymous said...

NO WAY lol.

I was there, there were 75 people TOPS. The place's capacity is 115!

Not to mention that many Rae and some Ignatieff folks were all over the place trying to reach out to LeBlanc supporters.

burlivespipe said...

I was there too; came away with a slightly different take. The crowd was very receptive but also slightly reserved - willing to be won over, but also aware that this is very early in the game. He offered a reasonably short speech, nice line about talk of a "toronto book club" leadership race if Liberals did not head back and win over rural voters, quebecers and westerners. I also liked his line that he is young enough to not only take on Harper and beat him, but beat Harper's successor, and his successor's successor. I have never heard Dominic speak, so don't know how much of his 'best' was on display: he comes across as very solid on his feet, comfortable with his message, but not necessarily charismatic. Don't know if that's what people are looking for necessarily, but I was hoping for a little more passion and maybe a little more substance on party revival. But maybe the venue and time alloted didn't allow for it. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to speak/meet him.
He's definitely someone to consider; I'm intrigued that a number of people who backed Dion seemed to be eagerly applauding him, a few already signed up to support him.
I'm going to wait and see who's all in before I make up my mind, but as I agree with you, he's a very solid candidate. Just need to hear more...

WesternGrit said...

I dunno... I counted, and roughly figured around 150. There were 20 people in the back room, and there were at least 100 more out front. Not sure what the capacity is, but it looked pretty packed. I had to squeeze through the crowd just to get to the bathroom. My picture above is one of several I took, and the room is pretty packed. So my estimate may be a bit over - but we did do a headcount. Should I post the other pics too? Maybe we could play "pick out the Ignatieff supporter"? LoL... I was an Ignatieff organizer in the last leadership too... As were 30% of the Liberal Party. But, I get your point (and it's well taken).

I'm only reporting what I saw. I agree that it is still early, and I could sense that many of the people in the crowd were just feeling him out. I'm sure there were a lot of "Ignatieff people" or "Rae people" there... I think they will be at every event - with any of the "new" faces, to measure the threat.

It may be that my pre-conception going in was, "who the heck is this guy?" (sort of the same way I looked at Gerard Kennedy two years ago), but when I heard him, I was surprised?

Red Tory said...

What... Didn't you see "Anonynous" there? He was the one with the bag over his head, muttering in the shadows.

WesternGrit said...

Good one Red! LOL... I think there were a few "unnamed Liberal sources" in the room too... with their "CTV Underoos" on.

I'm glad I had a chance to hear Mr. LeBlanc. It gives me hope that more will join the race. I want a good field... not too big though. The last time was stupid. I would like to see some women enter too.

Youth is good. So are new ideas. Still, we don't want to embrace anyone that talks about throwing out the old and starting anew... We have lots of cagey old veterans in this party - who KNOW how to win elections. Any leader must take advantage of all party resources - and not just pay them lip service. Unfortunately, this is usually in the hands of "handlers" and "back-room hacks", who are more interested in the "what's in it for me", than filling a war room with wise generals (and Lt's, and Privates...).

I look forward to asking the same questions of the other leadership candidates. Should be fun. Hopefully we have more than 3.

A BCer in Toronto said...

He offered a reasonably short speech, nice line about talk of a "toronto book club"

Can't imagine why he didn't use that line at his Toronto meet and greet last week. :)

Anonymous said...

Leadership camps from 1993? Was Kim Campbell there?

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Red Tory would criticize an anonymous. Sorry but when you dont use your real name and scream bloody murder when someone does, you are anonymous. Just because you call yourself by some made up handle doesn't mean you have the guts to let people know who you are. You also attack people who do use their real names in the utmost of hypocricy.

Anonymous said...

Someone just emailed me 2 new YouTube videos and I think one is from the event mentioned