This interesting article was written by
Nikolaus Maack (former owner of this website)
Candidates Meeting #4
Andrew stood at the main entrance of Glebe Collegiate before the All Candidates’ Meeting, handing out flyers that promoted his anarchist principles. The flyer featured a box to check off marked “None of the Above” and featured a graphic of a hand smashing through the paper. The text read:
“Do you really believe checking off a little box once every four years to choose which wealthy lawyer gets to pick your pocket is democracy?”
“Refuse. Resist. Revolt.”
There was also a quote from Henry David Thoreau, which comes as no surprise. Andrew is obsessed with Thoreau the way some teenage girls worship Britney Spears. He can recite over fifty Thoreau quotes from memory. The quote on his flyer read:
“Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.”
At the bottom of the flyer were a few websites he suggested you check out in order to “Educate yourself.”
Andrew, with his long hair and beard, passed out these flyers to the polished middle class citizens of the Glebe. For the most part, they politely took the offered flyer without comment. Some asked what party Andrew represented.
“No party,” he said, smiling.
A few people read it over and handed the flyer back. Others read the comment about the wealthy lawyer and agreed with the idea. There are many cynical voters out there. Andrew said he was pleasantly surprised by the reactions he got.
David Chernushenko said he couldn’t take a flyer asking people not to vote, since he was a candidate in the running. Richard Mahoney recognized Andrew on sight, thanks to their last meeting, and greeted him with friendly words. I don’t know if he took a flyer. I believe Broadbent took one, though. Whether he read it, I can’t tell you.
The front door to these meetings are often crowded with people handing out literature and holding signs. On either side of Andrew were four Conservative supporters. Two of them held signs saying “AD SCAM – CAUGHT RED HANDED” and two had signs saying “RAP SCAM — CAUGH ED HANDED”.
I couldn’t help but ask one of the Conservatives if he was serious – rap scam?
Ed Broadbent had a video loaned to his campaign, which he put on his website. It was originally made by the CBC for “This Hour has 22 Minutes”. They decided not to run the piece as it wasn’t balanced enough. So instead, they loaned it to Ed. It’s a goofy little movie where Ed wears boxing gloves and does a little rap song.
“Guess who’s back? Ed’s back!” and “Float like a butterfly sting like a bee, it’s time to vote for the NDP.” It also makes reference to his great left hook.
A man organizing the Conservatives informed me that yes, the signs are serious. “He broke the law.” A ten thousand dollar campaign contribution. (Where do they get that number?) And Ed is currently under investigation, he claimed.
The Conservative holding the “Rap Scam” sign was in his early twenties, and he didn’t like Ed.
“We call him Dead,” he told me. “But it’s easier to make fun of Mahoney’s name. We call him More-Honey.” And Ed Broadbent was a lousy candidate because he’s so old. “He’s like, as old as my grandfather,” the kid said with a guffaw.
“Yeah,” I replied sarcastically, “old people totally suck.”
What startled me was the guy with the sign didn’t even know what Ed’s rap video was. He admitted he had never been to the Broadbent website, and he thought the rap video was a TV ad. I explained to him that the rap video was only on the Internet, and what its contents were. He seemed to find his situation funny, and said that he guessed it was a good thing that he now knew what his sign was all about.
Andrew asked him. “What do you think of Mike Murphy?”
“Mike?” the kid replied. “He’s a great guy.”
“You don’t find him a little… wooden?”
“No,” he said, then seemed to reconsider and added, “Not once you get to know him.”
The young Conservative asked me if I knew Ed Broadbent well. Seeing as how I’m voting for him, and all.
“I don’t know him personally,” I said. “It’s not like I ‘hang’ with him or anything.”
“Oh,” the kid said with a smirk. Clearly he ‘hangs’ with Mike Murphy.
Also at the front door was a man handing out newspapers for the Communist party. People would politely take them and then he would say, “It costs a loony.” A pretty wily capitalist trick for a Communist. Then again, if they walked away without paying or didn’t have the money, he said that was okay.
Another person handed out information in support of the Liberals. Yet another handed out Conservative flyers. One more inside the doors handed out a series of pages on why you shouldn’t vote Conservative. People were drowning in propaganda.
When it was almost seven, I slipped inside and found myself a seat near the front. Andrew stayed outside to distribute his flyer until the very last minute.
The moderator was a tough, no nonsense woman who made sure the rules were followed to the letter. If she were running for office I would vote for her. No one slipped one past her.
At the beginning of the proceedings she announced that, “All the candidates were invited and eight accepted the invitation.”
The only candidate not present was Michael Foster, running for the Marijuana party. I had to wonder where he was and why he’d chosen not to show up. So far, I hadn’t seen him at any of these candidate meetings, much to my disappointment. Ever since John Apkata gave me a Marijuana Party pin, I’ve been displaying it on my backpack.
Richard Mahoney opened up with a little story. Someone came to his campaign office and gave him a gift — some boxing gloves, signed by Mohammed Ali. They were to even out the fight between himself and Ed, what with Ed’s boxing glove rap video. Then Mahoney delivered his own little rap song. It was cute and the audience loved it.
Ed Broadbent commented afterwards that, no matter what happens at the election, he and Mahoney could form a duet.
When Mike Murphy got a chance to speak he wished both candidates well with their music careers — and hoped after June 28th they had lots of time to work on them.
The debates were becoming less interesting as the candidates got more polished, more certain. Stuart Ryan (Communist) once wore a shirt with buttons that popped open. Now he wore a brand new blue shirt that fit him very well. He still mumbled, but was much better than the other times he spoke.
Louis Lang, the Marxist-Leninist, gave a strong series of speeches relating to Canadian sovereignty and how we should stop serving the Americans. People applauded his words more than once.
Even Mike Murphy seemed improved, in some ways. He didn’t read from the papers in front of him as much as he once did. Although a few times he did bend over from his great height, pausing awkwardly to check his notes. But he was more from the hip, more alive than previous meetings.
Mike had made comments about “the country of Africa” and “the nation of Africa” previously. That night he carefully said “Sudan, and other countries of Africa.” Someone on his staff must have noticed his previous error. But he over emphasized the words, making it obvious to those of us noticed his earlier mistake that he was now fixing it.
When the question about reforming the electoral system came up, as it always does, Mike had a new answer. He no longer said it was a matter which required more research on his part — a response which generated groans. This time he said that the Conservatives support elections every four years, on a specific date.
Despite all this, he still managed to do some pretty bizarre things in the Glebe.
During the questions from the audience portion of the evening, someone stood up and said:
“I have a question for Mister Broadbent. Do you know where Mechanicsville is?” He went on to say he was a working class man from that neighborhood and he’d never seen Ed campaign there. He made snide comments about Ed being at the Great Glebe Garage Sale and other middle class and upper middle class functions. If elected, was Ed only going to support the middle class?
Ed stood up and said, “I love these non-partisan questions.” He tore into the guy, saying that he has campaigned everywhere in the city of Ottawa, including Mechanicsville, and that if he were elected he would represent everyone the same — whether they were rich or poor.
Then it was David Chenushenko’s turn to speak. He pointed out that the person who had asked the question worked for one of the candidates – but tactfully neglected to mention which candidate. He asked that if there were any other people in line working for the candidates, who were going to ask loaded questions like this, would they please not do so. Even if they are from the Green party, don’t do it. Let real people ask real questions.
(Hooray for Chernushenko!)
When it came to Mike Murphy’s turn, he stood up and said, “Of course I know where Mechanicsville is. I campaigned there.” He then mentioned street names — Scott and Richmond — and delivered what struck me as a very scripted answer.
As he said all this, David showed great disgust, shaking his head and rolling his eyes. Clearly, the person who stood up and asked the Mechanicsville question was from Mike Murphy’s campaign. Why else would David react this way? And who else could the questioner be working for?
1) None of the smaller candidates have a campaign team.
2) David blew the guy’s cover, so he’s not Green.
3) He attacked Ed, so he’s not NDP.
4) He, in theory, could be Liberal, but Liberals aren’t that stupid. Richard Mahoney is witty enough to attack “my brother Ed” (as he refers to Broadbent) on his own.
5) Which leaves only the Conservatives. Besides which, Mike Murphy’s answer struck me as smooth and at the ready — unlike most of the answers he provided that night.
I think it’s obvious that David Chernushenko agrees with my suspicions.
Later in the meeting, a member of the audience dressed in a suit and tie said he had a question for Ed Broadbent. He hoped, he said, that he wouldn’t be chased out of the auditorium as other questioners of Ed had been. Then he asked Ed about “Rap Scam”. The audience booed and hissed the question. Clearly no one sees “Rap Scam” as a burning issue, except certain eager Conservatives. None of the other parties has even mentioned it.
Broadbent answered the allegations by saying that he’s NOT under investigation and they’ve claimed the contribution. He also pointed out that he, personally, helped bring about the rules guiding how contributions to campaigns work in the first place.
The audience roared in support of Ed.
I had to wonder if this questioner was another Conservative plant. Of course it’s possible someone uninvolved with the campaigns could ask this question. But this issue feels manufactured, without any public support.
Another questioner asked Mike Murphy if Stephen Harper had been in power two years ago, would Canadian soldiers have invaded Iraq? He wanted a yes or no answer, but didn’t get one. Murphy said that under Harper such a decision would be put before the house and they would vote. But Mike said he had a personal opinion on the war in Iraq, if anyone wanted to hear it. Then Murphy went to sit down.
“What’s your personal position?” yelled a few people in the audience.
Murphy stood up again. “I am against the war in Iraq,” he declared proudly. He then paused, waiting for cheers that never came — no one cared – and sat down again, looking a little embarrassed.
When the meeting was over, I went outside looking for Andrew. He was handing out flyers to people leaving. I stood next to him and watched the crowd. Ed Broadbent was one of the first candidates to leave. The crowd thinned. Looking up the stairs, I saw Mike Murphy. I couldn’t leave it alone — I just had to ask.
Two university students had him cornered. They were asking him about tuition and Conservative policy, and they were demanding answers. One of them told Murphy about ITV courses at Carleton. You pay the same level of tuition as though it were a real course, only all you get are televised classes and no access to a professor. If they had issues like this to present to Mike Murphy, could they come see him and tell him about them?
Even as he answered the questions, Mike was looking over his shoulder, scouting for an escape route.
When the students were done, I quickly leapt into the gap, “Mister Murphy, can I ask you a quick question?”
“Of course,” he replied. He glanced over at Andrew, standing nearby, then returned his attention to me.
“Tonight, when that person asked the question about Mechanicsville – was that someone working for your campaign?”
Mike replied that he had no idea. He said he couldn’t see the person asking the question because of the stage lights shining on him.
(To be fair: the questioner was on the other side of the room, closer to Chernushenko.)
I told him that as he answered the question, David Chenushenko rolled his eyes and shook his head. Mike seemed unphased.
He couldn’t see the questioner, he said, and that’s why he just gave a “spontaneous answer.”
“Well, it didn’t sound spontaneous to me,” I said.
Mike Murphy carefully looked me in the eye and just before walking away, said, “I’m an intelligent man.”
Before he was out of earshot, Andrew piped up: “I doubt it.”