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Erin O’Toole Campaign Stop in St. Catharines

September 18, 2021

Takeaways from Erin O’Toole’s campaign stop in St. Catharines yesterday:

1. Registration in advance was mandatory, as was filling in the “mobile number” field on the online form. Am I the only one left in the Western world without a cell phone?

2. En route, a speeding ambulance with sirens wailing passed me by. Perhaps someone was thinking of voting Liberal, which would definitely have qualified as a medical emergency.

3. Speaking of the Liberals, I got a mailing from them yesterday in which they claimed Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives are promising to bring in private, for-profit health care. I only wish that had some degree of truth to it. No nation in the world spends so much on health care and gets so little bang for its buck. If there’s one thing this war has taught us is that our much-ballyhooed health-care system is failing us miserably. Other (ie. non-government) options need to be made available. Our lives depend on it.

3a. This has been one of the items on the Ontario Libertarian Party’s platform for years.

4. Spotted on the back of a pickup truck in the parking lot:

5. Whereas everyone else drove to the event, I seemed to be the only one who walked there and back.

6. While in line waiting to get in, a guy behind me was saying, “Our girl (Krystina) should wipe the floor with Bittle.” Indeed. Except for the fact that her weakness and the weakness of the party is doing more to prop up Bittle’s re-election bid than anyone on his campaign team. The guy behind me went on to express concern over the mail-in ballots, especially considering what happened with our American neighbors.

7. Upon entry, I seemed to be viewed with an extraordinary amount of suspicion by the security staff. One of the guys spent a lot of time talking to me and though he tried to make it seem like small talk, he was clearly probing as to why I was there. The pen and the camera are obviously mightier than the sword in their eyes.

8. Attendees were given a yellow wrist band. It’s a step up from the red and orange wrist bands, the colors of the Liberals and NDP, respectively, I was given when attending events featuring Stephen Harper during the 2015 election.

8a. If Harper was still the party’s leader, this election wouldn’t even be close. And the Conservative Party would still be conservative.

9. Caps and Smurf-blue placards were given out to attendees. The caps featuring the party logo were made in Bangladesh. This from a party whose leader touted his plan for Canada’s economic recovery, not Bangladesh’s. But at least they weren’t made in China.

10. Before the proceedings began, some guy wearing a mask with the Greek flag on it got into a heated argument with a cameraman from Toronto. Greek Mask Guy kept calling Toronto Cameraman an a-hole and eventually had to be restrained.

10a. Again, don’t ask me how I figured the cameraman was from Toronto.

11. An older guy was walking through the crowd with two chains around his neck. One had a cross on it. The other had the Star of David. Um . . . whatever.

12. Another guy walked by with an Argos shirt. I wonder how many people were asking themselves, “Who are the Argonauts?”

12a. For those not aware, the CFL is a big deal on the prairies, but it barely registers on the radar in this part of the world.

13. Someone from the security team asked me to put on the Conservative hat instead of my “Make Speech Free Again” hat, one that Erin O’Toole liked when I met and spoke with him before the outbreak of the war. It was their event, so I grudgingly complied. But it’s another strong indicator as to how far to the left this party has shifted and why they’re losing votes to the PPC.

14. News Flash: Krystina Waler came to a major political event dressed in something other than her nightshirt. Stop the presses.

15. Even though this event was touted as a “Niagara Rally,” only signs for Krystina and Graham Speck, the Niagara Center candidate, were displayed. This was clearly a targeted stop for a pair of swing ridings. Tony Baldinelli in Niagara Falls and Dean Allison in Niagara West didn’t need the help. In fact, both of their biggest challengers might come from the PPC.

16. Maybe I was the only one who noticed, but the shade of blue on the signs of both candidates were different. Doesn’t the party have standards for these kinds of things?

17. How pathetic that O’Toole has to pump elbows with his own wife. What bloody madness.

18. As he spoke, O’Toole made sure to mention that this unnecessary election was costing taxpayers $600 million.

19. O’Toole also spoke about the plan he has to fix Canada’s economic problems. How about just undoing what governments have been doing to stifle it? The virus didn’t shut down our economy. Governments did.

20. He made sure to mention that this unnecessary election was costing taxpayers $600 million.

21. The crowd was deathly silent as he mixed in a few token phrases in Quebecese, most of which I understood. Aside from a handful of people in Welland, there isn’t much Quebecese spoken on the peninsula.

22. He made sure to mention that this unnecessary election was costing taxpayers $600 million. Again. By my count, he mentioned it a total of six times. We got the point, Erin. Move on.

23. He said, “Justin Trudeau will say anything” to stay in power. So will you, Erin. Do I need to detail everything you flip-flopped on?

24. Near the end of his speech, he said “Justin Trudeau wants to get you to vote for smaller parties.” No, Erin, you’re the one fueling the purple wave of the PPC. So many in your party, including me, feel completely abandoned, and as a result, they’re turning elsewhere. With great reluctance, I did cast a strategic vote for Krystina. But it’s probably the last time I’m voting for what has become the Blue Liberal Party.

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