Thursday, September 23, 2004

Spotlight on ‘Acqua-man

So who is this Maurizio Bevilacqua fellow, the MP who Jane Taber reports has started campaigning to replace Paul Martin as Liberal leader in, oh, a million years or so. Well, he’s 44, has been a Liberal MP since the young age of 28, and has held a couple of minister of state and parliamentary secretary positions, including that of junior minister of finance. Let’s go to Google and see what else the Internet can tell us about this suburban-riding, Blue Liberal, shall we?

M.B.'s campaign website is full of your usual electoral blandness. It tells us that the Italian-born MP has spoken at a lot of high schools, “helped over 20,000 constituents cut through government red tape” and “has shown that building partnerships between government, business and the community is the most effective way to create opportunities for residents.” [It also offers up this marvelously horrible family portrait.]

Very interestiii…. Snore!

Wait, what’s this here in his campaign bio? Apparently, Mr. Bevilacqua holds the key to the city of Dallas, Texas. He was presented it for his help in improving US/Canada relations, so they say. If he ever runs for P.M., surely the NDP will have some fun with that. [As soon as it gets a sense of humour, I mean.]

Bevilacqua was one of the first MPs to support Paul Martin’s leadership bid in 1990, but Martin didn’t exactly reward him once he finally came to power. No, the ‘Acqua-man got nothing, reportedly because Martin felt he had already appointed enough Italian-Canadians to cabinet. [I guess Martin feels that Canada’s mangia-cake population will only tolerate so many Eyeties in power at a time…]

There was also a little disagreement with Martin about how to handle Chretien’s announcement that he was retiring. Apparently, even if you openly support Martin, it’s not wise to privately voice your own opinions to him. Which explains why Bevilacqua is currently in cabinet exile and feeling out his leadership potential in The Globe and Mail, the newspaper of choice for MPs wanting to feel out their leadership potential. It doesn’t, however, explain why the only picture of Bevilacqua with Paul Martin on his website is from back in the days when Junior had hair. [Remember when you used to be able to search for “unfortunate combover” in Google and get PM P.M.’s website? Those were the days.]

Of course, there have been rumours about Bevilacqua and leadership before and they were greatly exaggerated. Back when the scuttlebutt was that he would challenge Martin, an MP told the National Post: "Nobody takes him seriously… No one would support him." This may have something to do with his purported support for more continental integration and a common currency with the U.S. [Yoicks! That proposal certainly wasn’t in his campaign literature. Wonder why?]

Anyway, On the Fence will endeavour to keep an eye on this back-bench MP from henceforth and keep you up to date. But for the time being, he seems like a dark horse candidate to me. Cauchon all the way!

UPDATE 12:17AM: Okay, clearly I forgot how to code earlier today. All the links are working now.

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