Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Campaign Diary, Day Three: Perth-Wellington

Well, I just got back home from a day-long excursion to the new Perth-Wellington riding, which is located about two hours West of Toronto.

The riding's already tight race is getting tighter. Early frontrunner King Henry VIII -- running for the Conservatives -- is losing ground, mainly because of a recent scandal over his misogyny, wives with their heads cut off, etc. But King Henry's chief rival, Timon of Athens, just isn't taking advantage of his competitor's weaknesses. He seems to be alienating many constituents with his campaign slogan: "Destruction fang mankind." Also, many are turned off by the fact that this cynical Liberal lives in a hole in the ground in the forest.

Given that those two are both underperforming and the NDP elected an unnamed messenger as its candidate, this could be a good riding for the Green Party to break through in in Ontario. The Greens' local candidate is a remarkable woman: Titania, Queen of the Faeries. Her only political weakness is a trophy husband who's a bit of an ass.

Yes, Perth-Wellington is home to Stratford, Ont., home to the Stratford Festival, where I was today doing interviews and catching plays (Anything Goes and Timon of Athens).

Shakespearean silliness aside, the riding is an interesting one to watch. Incumbent Gary Schellenberger, a Progressive Conservative who was recently elected in a by-election (at the time considered a good sign for the now-defunct PCs), is being given a run for his money by Brian Innes, the Liberal contender. As the Stratford Beacon Herald informs me:
[J]ust over a year ago, voters in this riding voted in a federal byelection. The riding swung to the Progressive Conservatives from the incumbent Liberals who managed to lose this riding through a series of faux pas.
For starters, we had no representation for an extended period as MP John Richardson suffered from failing health. Then, there was the Liberals’ mismanaged nomination process — initially, Rev. Rick Horst was chosen as the candidate but there were enough problems with the voting that a revote was ordered. And the next time, Brian Innes emerged the victor.
The political veteran then lost to Gary Schellenberger, another political veteran, in the byelection.
Also in today's Beacon Herald, unfortunately not available online, is a special section dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the local FAG Bearings plant. Actual quote:
[The invention of the ball grinder in 1883] lead to the precision bearings produced today at FAG Bearings which creates balls to within millionths of an inch of specifications points out Mr [Robert] Leeming [President of the retirees' committee.]
FAG balls. Heh.

Yes, I am incredibly immature.

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