Sunday, November 12, 2006
Premier-Wannabe Jim Dinning looks skyward for inspiration at a campaign stop last Friday at Edmonton's Metro Billiards.
View Calgary Grit's leadership profiles here. Heavy on partisan editorial (self-admittedly so), but has lots of good tips and innuendo.
The Alberta Decides 2006 blog also has a few choice words for the Dinning camp.
(photo by the Alberta Report)
EDMONTON - Operatives from the Alberta Report joined the adoring throng at Friday night's Jim Dinning rally in downtown Edmonton - in more ways than one.
One operative at the event at Metro Billiards was deluged with buttons, campaign literature, and even special "Dinning Vouchers," ostensibly to sell to his friends.
"It was a shit-show," said the operative, who (of course) will not be named. "The entire event was a frenzied, frantic, appeal to the lowest common denominator in leadership campaigns. Not money, not volunteers - just votes."
Our insider skulked away with a free PC membership, laden with his fake address, constituency, and phone number, as well as a Dinning Voucher book - a type of pledge book to sign up friends and take their money. The operative was not asked to provide proof of identity or of residence, nor was she asked to uphold any sort of ideals pertaining to the party's constitution.
A sign-in book at the front of the room had four pages (as of 7 pm) scrawled full with twenty names a piece. Organizers had evidently hoped for more, but regardless, the venue was full with young urban professionals clamoring for a moment with their leader.
Edmonton's Ward Two City Councillor Kim Krushell and Education Minister Gene Zwosdesky joined the Dinning revelers. Krushell's name had been mentioned as a potential opponent to Rachel Notley in Edmonton Strathcona.
Event organizers also claimed a number of Liberal activists among the Dinning din. Gene Zwozdesky, for his part, left the Alberta Liberal Caucus in 1998.
A bar staffer told the operative that the Dinning camp had guaranteed 200-250 people. While they were short of this number, the bar was full. The $2 high balls, domestic beer and wine were subsidized by the campaign, not the bar.
"We just received a call two weeks ago from someone asking if we'd host this," said the staffer, who appeared lukewarm to the Tory tide.
A three-dollar subsidy per drink, times 150 Tories (many patrons were clearly not partisan), with many in the youngish crowd boozing unreservedly, would not come cheap.
Dinning himself came on to a shower of feedback in a overly-lit makeshift stage, dressed in an Edmonton Oilers jersey to trumpet his hometown roots.
"For the first time in its history, Alberta will have a Premier who was born in Edmonton," Dinning told the crowd.
The essence of Dinning's remarks was his very urgent and very blatant appeal to sell even more memberships and get out the vote.
"Sell the membership even if you don't particularly like the person," said Dinning, to laughter.
"I already did," smirked one well-dressed young woman, proudly brandishing her orange 'I'm with Jim' sticker.