Nomination Crashers III & IV

As I write this, I’m aware that third and fourth sequels rarely do justice to the original. (Police Academy and Jaws, I’m looking at you.) Nomination Crashers and Nomination Crashers II were good enough, I probably shouldn’t push it. But, alas, here we are.

This edition of Nomination Crashers is a double-header, because, yes, last Thursday I attended two (very different) Toronto Centre nomination meetings on the same night. The first was the nomination meeting for the provincial Liberals, though I’m told it was actually promoted to Liberals as the “George Smitherman Nomination Meeting.” Hundreds of people filled the Wellesley Community Centre gym to enjoy free catered food (samosas, sausage rolls, pizza, apples, and finally ice cream came around on trays carried by a uniformed wait staff) and watch dancers and other entertainment. I felt a little guilty eating the food, but only a little. No one would want it to go to waste…

As the meeting’s official name suggests, there was (almost) no attempt to pretend this was anything but a coronation. Even the signs behind the stage had George’s face on them, and nominations were declared open just long enough for Bob Rae (why does that name sound familiar?) to nominate George before they were immediately closed again. He then took the stage and, strangely, feigned surprise and speechlessness. His speech didn’t speak to me, so I won’t comment on it further. Though, to be fair, I may have been too distracted by the ice cream.

From there, I biked down the street to the 519 Community Centre where the provincial NDP were having their nomination meeting. Hard to compare the two. On the one hand, the NDP didn’t have any free food, and the juice was being served in extremely tiny paper cups I’ve only ever seen before at dentist offices. On the other hand, it was actually a real nomination meeting. So, you know, hard to compare. There were three women seeking the nomination, including Sandra Gonzalez who was ultimately victorious. She’d previously run against El-Farouk Khaki for the federal nomination, and will make a good candidate. The most entertaining moment of this meeting happened during one of the other contestants’ speeches, when one of their supporters started yelling scripted responses in planned breaks, like “yes sister!” and “preach it!” and “testify!” In case there was any doubt that those passionate outbursts were planned, I later looked over to see that person subtly mouthing the words of the speech along with the contestant.

Again, I met people at both meetings who recognized me and let me know they’d voted for me in the last election, which is interesting.

The nominations of George and Sandra follow the Conservative nomination of Pamela Taylor and the Green Party of Ontario’s nomination of Mike McLean, whose blog is here. The Ontario Provincial election happens on October 10th 2007, concurrent with the referendum on MMP.

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