Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In An Alternate Universe...

Montreal, Quebec, December 2nd, 2006:

The results flash across the screens to the sides of the main stage, with a final result: Stéphane Dion 2,521 votes, 54.7%, Michael Ignatieff 2,084 votes, 45.3%. Before the convention co-chairs can even finish saying the results, roughly half the assembled crowd, clad in various degrees of green, go nuts, as cameras flash, fireworks go off, streamers fall, as the red and white clad section of the crowd politely but reservedly claps.

Eventually the crowd and the commotion settles down enough (although it is still very rowdy) enough for the formalities to start. The victorious Dion makes his way to the stage, and various high-level Liberals embrace each other. The most important embrace is supposed to be between the winner, Dion, and the runner up, Ignatieff. However, Ignatieff shuns any sort of significant embrace of Dion, other then a glancing handshake before storming to the microphone.

As the runner-up, Ignatieff is entitled to a concession speech, but the atmosphere is somewhat…off putting. Ignatieff starts to speak:

Thank you all so much. Thank you and thanks so much to Yukon and The North West Territories. Despite being small and overall insignificant to the delegate count and federal elections, on the Super Weekend, You had the last word in this, and it was worth the wait.

The crowd, and some of the assembled party elders on stage begin to look confused and mumbles and grumbles start to form.

I want to start tonight by congratulating Mr. Dion and his supporters on the extraordinary race that they have run. Mr. Dion has inspired so many Canadians to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved, and our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result. So, we are grateful, and it has been an honor to contest this race with him, just as it is an honor to call him my friend. And tonight, I would like all of us to take a moment to recognize him and his supporters for all they have accomplished.

Now, eight months ago, you and I began a journey to make history and to remake Canada. And from the hills of Quebec to the mines and refiners of Newfoundland, from the fields of Saskatchewan, to the factories of Ontario, from the Plains to the frozen North, from the Bay of Fundy, to right here in the great city of Montreal, we saw thousands of Canadians registering to vote for the first time, raising money for the first time, knocking on doors, making calls, talking to their friends and neighbors, mothers and fathers lifting their little girls and their little boys on to their shoulders and whispering, "See, you can be anything you want to be."

And the people who drove for miles, who waved their handmade signs, who went to all the events that we held, who came to iggynation.com (the red and white clad elements of the crowd chant along the website name) and showed the tangible support that they felt in their hearts. And I am just enormously grateful, because in the millions of quiet moments, in thousands of places, you asked yourself a simple question: Who will be the strongest party leader and the strongest Prime Minister?

At this point hardcore elements of the red and white clad group begin to chant loudly “Mic-ale! Mic-ale!” and "Mic-ale, Michael, Michael, Michael, Mic-ale, Mic-ale!", as the green clad group, a majority of those assembled, start to talk angrily amongst themselves, while the party elders quickly walk to either the green or white and red clad section of the stage.

Who will be ready to take back 24 Sussex and take charge as Prime Minister and lead our country to better tomorrows? People in all 10 provinces, and the territories, all had a chance to make your voices heard and on Super Weekend, you came out in record numbers to cast your ballots. Over 2,000 of you cast your votes for our campaign, carrying the popular vote with more votes than any leadership candidate for the first two rounds of voting. Even when the pundits and the naysayers proclaimed week after week and ballot after ballot that any “Anybody but Iggy” movement was brewing, and that we were about to get caught off guard by a Dion-Kennedy Alliance, you came out and voted.

Open screams and angry chants are starting to brew, as well as shoves between the two groups. High-level Ignatieff surrogates and campaign chairs and co-chairs, such as David Peterson, Ruby Dhalla, and Denis Coderre, start talking to the assembled media, and circulating around the room, that Ignatieff is not conceding, claiming a lead in Super Weekend delegates and on the first 2 ballots, but that he is open to the Deputy Leadership. The hardcore Dionistas in the titular black t-shirts are screaming from their section of the crowd to refuse Ignatieff the Deputy Leadership.

You are the soft Quebec nationalist, you are the right of centre business Liberals, you are the Martin loyalists. You have voted because you wanted to take back 24 Sussex Drive, and because of you, we won together the big provinces which contain 206 ridings.

In all of the provinces you voted because you wanted a leader who will stand up for the deepest values of our party. A party that believes everyone should have a fair shot at the Canadian Dream. A party that cherishes every child, values every family, and counts every single vote. Although we voted down one member-one vote, but that’s besides the point.

The crowd at least agrees on this.

4,605 delegates voted on this ballot, from every province, red, blue, a slightly lighter shade of blue, and some pockets of orange , people of every age, faith, color and walk of life. And we have brought so many people into the Liberal Party and created enthusiasm among those we seek to serve. And I am committed to uniting our Party, so we move forward, stronger and more ready than ever to take back the White house this November.

Despite the talk of unity, hardcore Iggyheads start chanting “Vancouver, Vancouver, Vancouver”(the site of the next Liberal convention) and “Go Harper!”, while the Iggy spokespeople continue to both say they will accept the Deputy Leadership, but are not conceding are still claiming at least a partial victory and the right to not endorse Dion as leader until the next convention, while Dion supporters are growing increasingly angry at the establishment candidate they knocked off against the odds who is refusing to admit they lost.

So many people said this race was over five hours ago when Brison endorsed Rae, showing I had no momentum, but we had faith in each other and you ensured I stayed on the second ballot lead. And just to remind everyone, I won on paper at least, the most delegates from Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Now the question is, where do we go from here, and given how far we've come and where we need to go as a party, it's a question I don't take lightly. This has been a long campaign, and I will be making no decisions tonight. But this has always been your campaign, so to the 2,000 people who voted for me and to our many other supporters out there of all ages, I want to hear from you. I hope you'll go to my website at iggynation.com (red and white crowd chants again) and share your thoughts with me and help in any way that you can.

In the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way. And I especially want to thank all of the leadership of my campaign. Our honourary co-chairman, David Peterson, and everyone who worked so hard. And, of course, my family for their incredible love, support and work. And, finally, I want to thank all of the people who had the courage to share your stories with me out on the campaign trail.

Thank you all very much. God bless you and God bless Canada.

The Iggy surrogates continue to circle around, denying Iggy is conceding, and refusing to outright endorse Dion, while continuing to ask for the Deputy Leadership. Iggy leaves the stage to embrace his supporters, leaving the Dion supporters embittered and deeply considering not making Iggy the Deputy Leadership. Dion takes the microphone, as he starts his tenure as “presumptive leader”.

1 comment:

Matt Guerin said...

Great post, funny.