Friday, January 27

Review, Revitalize & Renew

Now that I have had a couple days at a slower pace, I thought I should do another message on the blog for supporters and anyone with new interest in the Liberal party.

I want to assure everyone that we are not decimated, nor disenchanted and as soon as loose ends after the campaign are tidied up, it is our intent (and I can assure you certainly mine) to start on our review and renewal process as soon as possible.

Also, if you will permit me to note some post election observations. Considering the cards were stacked against us in this election... we, the party and I personally did very well. If we examine the results Nationally, 64% voted this time around (the highest percentage in recent times). In our own riding, 66% of eligible voters cast ballots. When we consider Mr. Casson's votes, he was elected on 43% of the electorate. Taken in context, the results are not as devastating as they appear initially.

Now we can take advantage of time out from the business of Government to review, revitalize and renew our vision and let's see how great Mr. Harper will do in negotiating and consensus building. Fortunately, being in a minority, he will not be able to run away with things as feared by so many. As we arrange our own local review session, my team and I will advise and report to you our findings/thoughts (provided we have your phone number and/or email address). I appeal to you and encourage your input and participation as we look to review the campaign.

I have meetings for the Provincial Liberal Party in Red Deer this w/e. Tonight I attended MLA Bridget Pastoor's nomination as candidate; it was great to see a goodly number turn out for the evening.

We have been steadily increasing in numbers Provincially. Only a little over a year ago, if 471 PCs in our West Lethbridge Riding voted Liberal, Bal Boora would have been serving in the Legislature on our behalf.

I also remind you of the upcoming Spaghetti Supper, March 3 at St. Augustine's Church. Please mark your calendars.

In the interim, keep the faith. Things are as they were meant to be. Let's look 'onward and upward' with the assurance that we and our great country will survive.


Tuesday, January 24

When all is said and done...

The people have spoken. Obviously they wanted change. I wish Mr. Casson and the Conservatives well as they begin to form the new government.

All of us, including myself, believe that we worked hard and put on a good campaign, but timing and circumstances were not in our favor. However, we must see the change as an opportunity to regroup and revitalize!

I wish to publically extend my sincere thanks to all our supporters. It was a team effort! Thank you everyone for your confidence and for giving me the honor of representing you.

A special thanks to my team. Without them I would not have been able to achieve the success we did. Next time, hopefully, we will be more fortunate in the outcome.

With appreciation and many thanks,


Monday, January 23

The last day before E day!

Up at 8:30 and went to Church. Got caught up with the news in the Herald, then made brunch and went to the office. Made some phone calls, after which a few of us did some last minute blitzing. It was certainly a gorgeous day for it.

Thanks a million once again, to friends Joyce, Teresa, Rita, Ches and Betty, Katy and Emily.

Enjoyed the delicious supper prepared by Gloria; and to wind down, had a relaxing shower before heading out to see the movie, Pride and Prejudice.

At last I'm caught up on my emails......the rest is up to the Big Guy and the electorate!

Sunday, January 22

The Last Day!

Thanks to the friends again! We were all up early and out on the trail for the last information blitz. A nice fall of snow overnight made the air feel crisp. Lots of sore muscles and lots of sweat, but all very much worth it to share our message.

Thanks so very much all - Gloria, Leslie, Bal, Wayne and Leanne, Rita, Teresa, Chris and Andrew; Katy, Emmy and Zoe.

Senator Joyce and I visited Edith Cavell and Garden View, and later Dan and I went to a couple of other lodges. It was so nice to see a large group enjoying a pool tournament at Garden View.

At last all of us had an early evening for a change, and we are looking forward to Monday with great anticipation.

Friday, January 20

The Final Forum

Today was our last candidate's forum and was held at the LCSO. It felt great to finish with a strong performance and wonderful support from those in attendance!

There were not as many as I had expected and the crowd was different than anticipated. In addition, it was a different format from many of the other forums. The questions were all very much similar to previous formats; however, the volume of questions was less than we are accustomed. Then Senator Joyce, Tyler and I went for a bit of lunch at the mall.

On return to the office, I gathered a few members of the team along with several amazing volunteers and we made a trip to the city's North side to hand deliver material. We covered a few polling areas and plan on doing the same again tomorrow.

Now with election day less than 72 hours from us, the excitement is undeniable... and growing. I and my team of volunteers plan on finishing good and strong this weekend by visiting as many constituents as possible. I am so very proud of all the fine work we have done. Keep tuned!

Thursday: Forums at U of L and in Picture Butte

By 9 this morning I was at the office, where Tyler was frantically preparing slight alterations and updates for my next speech. Some may not realize it, but because issues change daily with new announcements, one can not go with a "canned speech". Keeping up with events adds to the sense of challenge!

Toward noon we picked up our beloved Senator Joyce Fairburn, who came with us to the University of Lethbridge forum. As is usually the case, this forum had a slightly different format, and the hall was packed to the point where they had to open another section. It is great to see that so many of our young people are interested, and want to be involved in how our country is governed. Most of the questions from the students were directed to Mr. Casson and Melanee Thomas. We were also graced with a visit from Ivanka, of the Provincial Team, who came with her husband all the way from Calgary for this event. Thanks a million for your support!

Senator Joyce insisted on taking Tyler and me to a late lunch to get us away from the pressure. Thanks so much to all of you for being so watchful and caring for me. Then it was back to the office and another rush to get the next speech tweaked for the evening forum in Picture Butte.

Again the Community hall was packed; and as well, a couple of dozen foreign students from the Management Program at the U of L also attended. In this forum we were given up to 10 minutes to make our speeches, and then we were open to questions from the floor. There were fewer questions, although again, I was faced with some of the same ones as in previous forums. I'm told I performed much better. The audience was polite and very attentive.

Today, it was good to hear that the gap between us and the Conservatives is closing, although as I've often said, "I wouldn't like to stake my life on the polls". In a few hours we will be attending our last forum, which will be held at the Senior Citizens' Centre.

Thursday, January 19

Wednesday: Miracle Channel and the Yates

The old cold lingers on and pulls me down, to the point that a few people even remarked "you look tired". However, the end is in sight.

Today it was the Miracle Channel for the Insight programme at 11. Unfortunately there were only three candidates; Rick, Melanie and I. Of course, we expressed our disappointment that the other parties could not be represented also. We were told that the short time and logistics rendered it impossible to have more, and that seemed reasonable.

The whole setting was most professional and the questions were stimulating! Since it was being broadcast across the country, questions were from far and wide. Some, of course, were of a Provincial nature.

Following the telecast, it was back to the office to answer some calls and meet with supporters as they came by. We also fitted in a little time for review of the latest materials, and by evening it was time for the Chamber of Commerce Forum at the Yates Memorial Centre.

Again, questions to all six candidates were varied, challenging and stimulating. Not unexpectedly, I was confronted with the same preamble and same questions with respect to the same-sex marriage and abortion issues that had been asked in Coaldale, by the same young man who was obviously attempting to embarrass and discredit me. A few people in the audience expressed their frustration with his insistence on bringing up this issue at every forum.

All-in-all, it was a very good session at the Yates; and after the forum we had time to chat with some supporters.

Wednesday, January 18

Tuesday at U of L and a Forum

After a quick breakfast and check of the emails today, I rushed out for an appointment at the University of Lethbridge Radio Station at 10. Unexpectedly, the TV camera crew showed up there and wanted a shot of me meeting students; a very good experience, in which Tyler and I were involved until almost noon.

We then slipped home and made a quick bite of lunch, so we could review comments and thoughts in a little more privacy. I responded to some calls at the office and chatted with the few people that came by. Some just wanted to wish me well, assuring me of their support. Again, another Conservative assured me by phone of her and her husband's vote.

Didn't get much time for practice, and soon it was time to be on the way for the next forum sponsored by SACPA and held at the Lethbridge Public Library. The forum was very orderly and the questions stimulating. We all had an early night for a change.

Tomorrow is another full day!

Tuesday, January 17

One week to go!

Up around 7:45 this Monday morning, and following breakfast, I spent considerable time at Campaign HQ reviewing emails and returning some calls.

Reviewed materials for the upcoming forum, and spent some time thinking and planning for the questions and answers tonight. Returned to home to work in a quieter setting.

Succeeded in pulling together the relevant materials in time to leave in the early evening for Coaldale and the forum, where there was quite a large turnout.

Questions were tough; and the pointed and religious ones were largely directed at me, although I received a couple of calls which expressed support. However, I survived; and following our return to the office later in the evening, Tyler reviewed the questions presented for the University radio session tomorrow.

Soon it was midnight, and here I am again, still endeavoring to keep up with the emails.

Monday, January 16

Sunday in town

An easier "Day of Rest" and much needed. Slept in and went to Church at 11 o'clock. Afterwards a friend dropped by with a donation to the campaign. Thanks a mil!

Had brunch, and afterwards took down the Nativity, Santa, sleigh and reindeer from our lawn.

It was then time to go to the Campaign Office for preparation for the forum. There I was told of several vandalized signs, obviously damaged by people with no appreciation for the efforts and personal costs of everyone associated with a campaign, and working in the interests of democracy. It is a very sad reflection of our society.

I hope if anyone sees anyone vandalizing any candidates' signs, they will report them right away. It is a grave offence under the Elections Act.

Sunday, January 15

Saturday in the South

Up early this morning. No time to read the paper! Walter joined me; we dropped by the office to pick up some signs and soon we were on our way to Milk River. Jessie and Jay, longtime "Mr. and Mrs. Liberals" from Milk River just pulled in behind us as we arrived in front of the Town Hall.

As planned, Walter went to do the literature drop in the residential areas, while Jessie, Jay and I went by the Lodge to say "Hi". We met a few people in the day area and a few other people in their rooms. It appears they feel fairly comfortable, since none had complaints or concerns.

Then we went to "coffee row" where we met about one-and-a-half dozen local residents. All were relatively friendly, and Jessie was quick to introduce me as being almost a local. Several people recognized me, as I did them. It was like coming home again and they appeared to appreciate the fact I took the time to get there to visit with them!

One couple, as one might expect , did let me know of their concerns on a couple of issues. Then we dropped by the Store where I had a long discussion with Ron before heading on to the Longterm Care Unit at the Health Center. However, seeing a sign about not entering with flu symptoms, I decided it was better not to go in. We just got back in time to pick Walter up; thanked Jessie and Jay, and headed for Warner.

There, a couple of ladies at the store were most pleasant. At another store, however, two men expressed their hostilities about 'Gun-control', etc. We then moved along and chatted with a nice young couple who farm near New Dayton, and who appeared most appreciative of our little visit. Also, we dropped into Stirling and planted a couple of signs. Thanks a million, Walter, for your time and company. I hope your back is feeling better!

Later I picked up Leslie and we had a very positive afternoon door-knocking in upper Paradise Canyon Blvd. All in all it was a most fruitful day. Tomorrow I must prepare for the forums. Have a great day.

Saturday, January 14

Inspiring a Whole New Generation of Young Voters

Got to bed a little earlier last night, for a change, feeling zapped by the medication the Dr. put me on for my cold and got up today feeling much more refreshed.

On Thursday & Friday, our volunteers worked around the clock, getting the brochure ready for the mailout.

I had an amazing experience on Friday as I drove past one of the elementary schools. I was flagged down by a friend of mine, Theresa, who invited me for an impromptu Q&A with her kids after recess. The students had recently covered a unit on politics to coincide with the current election, and I was more than happy to inspire invovlement and curiosity amongst the next generation of voters.

The kids and staff were so gracious and attentive and had so many great and even informed questions, it reassured me once again and instilled pride as to the quality of our schooling and staff! It was exciting and invigourating to be involved in such an unexpected and unscheduled opportunity.

Then we were off door-knocking again. Herman was with me again for both shifts, it was a gorgeous day and we covered part of Tudor Estates and then on to the Uplands. Reception was great in both locations and again, though a couple told me they would not be voting for me, the majority were most pleasant and several, including some former Tories, assured me they would be voting for me this time. After supper, Chris accompanied me visiting with constituents in Ridgewood Heights. I felt great about the results of the day. Today, we move forward into Milk River!

Keep tuned.

Friday, January 13

Facts vs. Fictions

Hi again. Yesterday started with a conference call with my fellow candidates; reporting on the Conservative response to what they refer to as our "negative ads". I prefer to take the positive - high road, please refer to my commercials airing right now. (follow the 'TV ADS' link)

Rita reassured me I was not negative in any of my discourse with voters, though one constituent emailed trying to tell me he overheard me "running down the opposition yesterday" to his wife while door-knocking. I suppose the facts about Mr. Harper's intentions and past actions are too difficult to listen to at times. It appears some people don't like hearing the truth at all. I encourage everyone to check the facts on what is being said. By all parties. And all candidates. Make your vote an informed one. If you prefer something a little less party based, most media websites offer a similar feature, such as the CBC's Reality Check.

The only part of the message the opposition might honestly find difficult to hear that I share is that "we do not have young Canadians returning from Iraq in body-bags all thanks to our Liberal Government that kept us out of the war".

Rita and I door-knocked today in Riverstone. Very few were home; however, reception was energetic and supportive amongst those that were (home). After lunch, Dan and I completed a stretch of 9th Avenue South.

Bring your concerns forward. I want to hear them, and work together to find solutions.

Keep Tuned.

Thursday, January 12

Students Cheer the 50/50!!!

Another not bad day. Which, by my books, makes for a good day!

It commenced, as most do, with a trip to the office, review of material in preparation for TV interview at 10. Then returned some phonecalls and midmorning Walter and I visited the Norbridge Senior Center. Reception was generally positive though I met a couple of challenging individuals (It's always nice for an opportunity to make a conversion, or two)!

On return to the office I caught-up by joining a meeting of the campaign team reviewing progress. Only for this great bunch , I would never be able to take this on. They are super and deserve every commendation. Herman arrived and soon we were heading for more door-to-door. We focused on 20th Street South as well as a section of Scenic Drive.

Students were excited to hear our latest proposal called the 50/50. Essentially, the Liberal government proposes to pay $3,000.00 in the first year of university and $3,000.00 in the fourth year of studies which far beats the Conservative plan to give students tax-credits.

Thanks to Walter and Herman and Chris who accompanied me after supper until it got too cold. On return to the office I had to prepare for and speak with 'The Calgary Sun'.

Keep tuned.

Tuesday, January 10

Debate Away

On Sunday we traveled to Calgary for our friends' mother's 90th Birthday; always an achievement and in this case an wonderful opportunity to renew acquaintances with old friends and celebrate life!

On Monday I had to attend to work issues and then at 6, joined members of the community and team to watch the debate at the office. Again Mr. Martin did us proud, it was another opportunity to hear and get to know the other leaders and their intents.

As the National leaders prepare for their final debate, I head into two weeks full of forums and debates between myself and the other Lethbridge candidates. For an up-to-date listing of the upcoming forums subscribe to our email list through the website.

Also, today, articles went to the local newspapers and the brochure went to the printers. I feel incredibly positive despite trying to rid myself of a heavy cold. Any remedies?

Keep tuned.

Sunday, January 8

Pondering Pensions

After responding to some duties around the office, I picked up Leslie and Bal around noon and we campaigned door-to-door on the upper end of Stafford Drive North and St Edwards.

Again several told me, I am the only one that has been to their neighbourhood. Ever.
It was thrilling to get such a great response for sign requests. We put them up and in as we went. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The inadequacy of pension(s) was brought home to me by a person, blind for the past 4 years, needing care from her son who lives at home. She described living in fear and the hassles suffered from utility companies with respect to her inability to pay. She pleaded for me to act on her behalf. I assured her I would look into the matter further. The up side of this story is how I was able to discuss the Liberal governments recent actions/plans to support caregivers as well as secure the life and endurance of the Canada Pension Plan & GIS for generations to come.

By early afternoon it was beginning to snow, and along with the snow came the cold. In my own health interests, and in consideration for people's heating bills, we concluded campaigning in favour of an early evening, allowing me a chance to jump-start my dive into the daily deluge.

It was, beyond any doubt, the most emails I have ever received in one twenty-four hour period to date. Fantastic. I'm making and breaking records already!

Thank you all for your continued kind words and generous donations of time and money. Keep tuned.

Saturday, January 7

20th Avenue South Swings for the Grits

Several constituents expressed immense relief and satisfaction that the Liberal Government ensured no young Canadian's lives were compromized or lost, as a result of the Liberal government's stand against our entering Iraq.
It was equally exhilarating to find overwhelming support from a cluster of Conservatives admitting they can no longer support Mr. Harper's dismal lack of vision. Not only did these families pledge their votes for me come January 23rd, but they took lawn signs to boot! Charge on!

It was a big day for Liberal announcement's from Prime Minister Martin. We pledge to implement:

  • a comprehensive plan to support Canadian families by improving support for Canadians with disabilities by providing $500 million in new support,
  • a detailed plan for families, improving support for Canadians caring for ill loved ones,

  • a series of measures to support Canadian families in surmounting barriers in education, training and finding a good job, and

  • increased access to post-secondary education through a new 50/50 Plan. Under which, the government will pay for half an undergraduate student's first year tuition, in addition to half that student's graduating year tuition.

It felt great to be reassured by the majority of voters, that we are hitting the mark with respect to health care, education and families. I was happy to celebrate with a young lady, starting her criminal studies program, the recent Liberal recommendations for significant increases to current police funding, a huge concern of hers in this election.

Today we'll be knocking in more areas of the city. Your door could be next. So keep tuned.

Friday, January 6

In Step with Constituents

I headed out the door for the office, already late to pick up Tyler, and the phone rang... tempting me like a turkey dinner. But I was late. The door was ajar and my shoes were already on. I tip-toed across the floor and quickly asked for a return number. I don't even remember if I said a proper 'hello' to her, but I'm sure I jotted the correct number. And I'm glad my penmanship didn't fail me. She and I had a delightful conversation later, discussing her concerns with the "holier than thou" attitude of the Conservatives.

Speaking of which, he is another one from the DD (daily deluge of emails), where Mr. Harper points out his inconsistencies- er, I mean, he announced he will crack down on gun crime. However, it notes that if Canadians are to believe Mr. Harper's new policy on gun crime, there are a number of questions raised by his record on gun control that will have to be answered. Read the whole article here...

Volunteers were already hard at work around the office, Diane, Rod, Shirley and Jim busying themselves preparing signs to fill all the requests. Thanks a mil guys and ladies.

In the afternoon, Diane King and I went door-to-door in the Henderson Lake area. It always feels great when people identify themselves as supportive of myself or the party. It is already evident that people recognize me from the 'Season's Wishes' run on TV over Christmas. I also find it intriguing observing the profiles of the people in the various residential areas. I find I tend to spend extra time with those who are challenging and those who have recently experienced a loss in the family. It was great to share and enjoy with voters the latest announcements by Prime Minister Martin with respect to education.

Diane was amazed to see me on the run. She remarked that in the hour and a quarter spent knocking, I did 4000 steps. In fact, I have out-paced everyone so far. Next, we were sitting in on the SACPA presentation on Poverty. Then I had to rush to the office before heading home to meet the production and camera team to film the ads that will be run between now and election day. My! It was hard work and I feel like I'm on a roller coaster with all the election excitement.

Our biggest surprize came in the evening- well, no. It's not so much a surprize, as it is slowly becoming a theme. Canvassing the South Parkside Drive area, more and more people tell me I'm the only one they have had come to the door, which makes one wonder if some think "they have it sewn-up and there is no need for them to door-knock". Thanks a mil Tomasz for your help.

Keep Tuned.

P.S. Congrats to our boys in White & Red for their incredible 5-0 gold medal performance last night against Russia in the World Junior Hockey Championships! What a wonderful time to be Canadian!!!

Thursday, January 5

Phonecalls. Phonecalls. Phonecalls.

I couldn't imagine campaigning without the use of this modern-day invention. But somehow, I have to admit I prefer the face-to-face time door-knocking provides. It really helps to convey the message and get to the heart of the matter, both gathering your concerns and revealing my support and ideas on how to best go about invoking change(s).

Before noon, from the comfort of my chair at the campaign head quarters, it appeared nice outside as I responded to your phonecalls... Appeared being the oportune key word. The wind, an element all too familiar to us Southern Albertans, was very much at work. Biting, bitter & unrelenting. So much for my good hair day.

Thanks a mil Walter and Dan. We were out in the afternoon making our rounds visiting constituents in their homes. I'm hoping I don't come down with a cold, as my throat feels sore from the day. However, despite the inclement conditions, potential illness and wind-blown coifs... the reception was well worth it! We secured several more key sign locations, (keep your requests coming). It really gives me great satisfaction to drive those signs into lawns. I think it is hearing the fresh crunch of earth as the sign slips into place; it really brings new perspective to the term grass-roots campaign(ing)!

We ended our team's day by going back to school. With every election, Elections Canada hosts an evening for the candidates. Procedures will be reviewed for the election, voting day (January 23rd) as well as address any questions or concerns our office may have. And with the deadline for candidate submission being reached, ballots will be finalized and sent for printing for all of you to use at the polls.

Among my daily deluge of emails... Two for your attention:

I already made mention of the 'Removal of Immigration Fees', but would like to make mention of this again, as our initiative beats out Mr Harper's. Elimination versus Reduction. It also makes fantastic headway in the area of increasing recognition of foreign credentials.

And second, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced a guarantee on Health Care. For further details please visit our policy site. Keep tuned.

Wednesday, January 4

Positive Values

More door knocking. This is how we are going to win this campaign and continue to serve people after. By getting out there and discussing concerns with and amongst the people. Thanks a mil to Walter, Paige and Chris for joining me.

Also, as many of you may have already noticed, there is a great shot in yesterday's Lethbridge Herald accompanying Delon Shurtz's article on the dead-line to register as a candidate.

I had an interesting experience yesterday. I had a call from a most irate lady who, for the first time in her life, called a public figure. And then decided to visit the Conservatives office to register her complaint in person. She was complaining about their attitude, criticism and innuendo towards the Liberals. She was brushed-off and told to come back another time.

Judging from her call to me, she won't be returning to the Conservatives any time in the near future. I should also note that the Conservatives are still telling the public that we will be going negative, but my observation is that it is they who are being negative. Keep tuned for some good, positive Liberal policies benefiting all Canadians in the coming weeks. Click here to read a moving address Prime Minister Paul martin made in Winnipeg. Keep Tuned.

Tuesday, January 3

Let's Hear it for Our Environment

In contrast with the frigid temperatures yesterday morning, our reception was quite warm and the day prived to be quite fruitful! We hit the campaign trail hard and early, accompanied by a photographer from the Lethbridge Herald, who was quite anxious to get some first-hand pictures of me and my team in action.

Again, my thanks to Walter, Bal and Chris for such a great day. We got quite a few requests for signs in the afternoon and met a couple of people who had a slightly different focus than those we've met and spoke with to date.

A gentleman that works with the Kanadair Menonites emphasized the need for more staff at the Lethbridge Immigration Services office. View this fantastic announcement for immigration made today.

Also, it was stated several times throughout the day that more attention is required for the environment. We need to do more in the area of encouraging recycling. It felt good being able to point out recent examples of green power being encouraged, used and profited from. One of the most exciting examples among them, is the newest Lethbridge sub-division: West Highlands. It is being pushed by city developers who will use green open spaces, building energy-efficient homes and using geo-thermal energy to heat them.

Please take a minute to view the liberal plan for our environment.

Today we hit the doors again! Keep Tuned.