7:07 - " On Monday Night."
Was a little late arriving to the room tonight, but had some difficulty finding good parking on the street. *waves "Curse You Downtown" fist in the air
Well, I made it in time for the beginning. As to be expected, it was a little delayed in getting going. Set up in a back corner near a wall socket. Ran into at least one friendly face already...Well, as friendly as a former NDP
staffer can be.
I'm going to try and be as accurate with quotes as possible, but bear with me. When I quote, it'll likely be para-phrasing only. I promise to be fair however...
7:08 - Heh
. We're being told that fire regulations has the room's capacity at 120 people, but we're already over. "Signs of much interest." The library staff wonders if we can go split-style with back-to-back meetings, but the room quickly kyboshes
the idea. They're looking for volunteers to stand outside.
No dice here folks. I'm holding my ground. Besides, I would think such a group would want at least one hip and "progressive" blogger in the room during the deal.
And since there's no one in the room that fits the bill, I'm taking his spot.
7:12 - With enough folks tossed, the meeting has been called to order. Shauna Something Or Another is introducing herself to us and listing the issues that the planning group is concerned about. As to be expected, we've got the list of environmental and social issues that the Froggy
was referencing earlier today.
7:16 - Oops. Scratch that. The opening speaker was Mary Something Or Another. Shauna (or Shawna, who knows?) Something Or Another is speaking now. She mentions that 80 folks were involved in the email and meetings leading up to tonight.
7:17 - I feel so left out. "We feel the time is now to bring together the people on the left with the people in the...centre."
7:18 - Kevin, the CUPE
"labour guy" (self-professed), has arrived to go over the proposed by-laws. Must remember to grab a copy of these, because hey, the wonk needs to flex his muscles as well.
7:20 - Quick scan of the room reveals only Harvey Smith as a recognisable figure. I'm sure I'm missing someone, but faces tend to blur just enough without my specs that I can't pin point others at the moment.
7:21 - Holy Hillary Clinton! Kevin is hitting the folks up for $25 donations. Supposedly you need to by a Winnipeg resident and 18 years of age. I should kick in a few shekels
, if only for the entertainment value alone.
7:23 - Yeah, I probably won't be donating.
7:23 - Because they are inclusive, some early by-laws are being read in french. Merci Beaucoup
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the exact same passage is now read in english
to bring everyone up to speed.
7:25 - And we're at our first vote. The by-law provisions have been carried without negative.
7:25 - Annnnnnnnnnd
there's the first Point of Order. (If you don't think this Tory loves his procedure, you have not been reading this Tory's blog.)
"Shouldn't the folks standing in the hallways be called in for the vote?"
"Good call. We were thinking about that when it came to voting for the Committee, but we'll send someone out to conduct one."
7:27 - "Can they even hear us out there?"
7:29 - Dang. Didn't grab the profiles of the candidates from the nominating committee either. Bad blogger.
7:30 - Bit of a break while they figure out where the other dude went.
7:31 - David Winter, regional director of the Prairie Region for a union (didn't catch it) is up to let us know that he will give up his spot in the room since he's not a voting delegate (dude's from Regina), but he wants to leave us with a comment that he is very happy to see the group in the room tonight. "Clearly, you have reached a tipping point here in Winnipeg."
Another person rises and asks if Mr. Winter shouldn't stay since he might be able to offer some experience to the room.
"Maybe I should leave instead." *chuckles from the room*
(Still, I believe Mr. Winter has departed.)
7:33 - Nice! A guy is standing up to ask about why all the talk is about left and centre when many of the councillors could be called "conservative" and that a lot of people voted for them as well. "Inclusion should be for everybody, not just centre left..."
(He also joked that the room might want him to leave after. Still, the room clapped when he was finished and the Kevin dude from CUPE
agrees with him.)
7:37 - Huh. Speaker after speaker has risen in the last few minutes to suggest that conservatives are not to be excluded because many are very much pro-grassroots organizations and some were very "progressive". One speaker suggests doing away with the labels.
This is an intriguing development. The message is receiving what could be considered fairly strong applause.
7:38 - Shauna Whatshername is saying that everyone is welcome providing they support the group's causes. Still, she quickly tries to reign in the lost direction and moves the group to the elections.
7:39 - I'm calling it. Starting to get a wee warm in the room and I'm sitting at the edge.
7:40 - I think, but can't be sure just yet, that the Paul that went out to the hallway to gauge those standing outside is Paul Hesse. Would make sense if so.
7:42 - Just noticed Nick Ternette
7:43 - Question: Should a candidate conduct the election? Answer: No, Kevin and Paul are not candidates.
7:44 - Question: Wondering about the fee? Can we do $2 a month withdrawal
or something like that? Answer: Don't have that now, but the $25 is a suggested amount and is not required to be a member.
"It is 'recommended' it says," some lady heckles.
7:46 - There's Lillian Thomas.
7:48 - Floor handed over to Paul. "Next time, we're getting the MTS
Starting with the chairs nominations.
Me: *whispering* Hey Liam.
*he looks over*
Liam and Cindy were nominated out of the room.
7:51 - I just heard applause from the outside, but no idea what for. One of the organizers arrives to say that Tom Simms
declined. The other group must not like him that much.
(I'm kidding of course. I'm sure they were applauding the closing of nominations and the acclamation of Cindy and Liam. Mine's
7:53 - Debate about procedure and whether Liam and Cindy should introduce themselves. And of course, points of order about whether candidates are going to be bouncing back and forth between the rooms. What fun!
7:54 - Research and policy committee: "Chris Leo" He blogs, right? "Shauna MacKinnon
" Yes! Got the right Shauna spelling! Another acclamation.
7:56 - Social Action Committee chairs:
(More applause from the other room. Wants to bet those slackers didn't nominate anyone from the floor again?)
Giselle is honoured, but politely declines. Ditto Betty. (This surprises me. I thought she was a committee suggestion.)
Point of Order: Gender equality is suggested here with only two dudes left. Said POOer
suggests Mary Anne Cerilli
8:00 - First voice of anger I've heard all night. Post Mary Anne Cerilli
suggestion, another gentleman rose suggesting that the process is getting flawed. Said angry comment suggested that the nominations never closed and that open process was still open. (Or Hack translation: "Shut yer pie hole and sit down.")
8:01 - Male Voice: "I would suggest that gender parity is insulting and that it should be based on ability."
An older lady in the back: "Suuuuuure
, says the male." She also muttered something about her grandmother, but I'll be honest, I was giggling too hard to really catch it.
8:03 - Mucho
" has been officially added.
Oh yeah! I forgot. While we went back and forth, we learn that the other room already "acclaimed" the two who were nominated. Allan Wise and declined candidate Betty Edel
8:07 - When Cerrilli
was asked if she would accept, heckling lady responded in the positive for her. Cerrilli
delayed about a few seconds - enough to be noticeable
, though I believe she was seriously pondering - and finally relented to standing for the nomination.
The organizers are pretty screwed here trying to figure out how to accommodate
speeches in two different rooms.
In the meantime, I'm starting to wonder if the Jays are playing tonight.
8:11 - About ten minutes ago I was texted
by a buddy that Dan Vandal was leaving his evening event. He's now working the back of the room. What happened to the "Those on the outside, stay on the outside" rule?
8:13 - I guess you really can't leave the probable pony in the barn for something like this, can you?
Liam came by to mention that he already gave a speech in the other room.
We're now ready to hear the three candidates.
8;14 - Allan Wise: Firmly believes that City needs to be changed. Council level. Been involved in Coalition
since beginning. Has helped at grassroots level. Inner city activist. Arrived as a refugee in '89. "Thankfully, no one has asked me to leave YET." (Hack: Nice piece of self-deprecating humour there. Very sincere.)
: I view you all as friends. Honoured to be asked. 38 years in the city. Loves it. Concerned about the young people, particularly aboriginals (his background), and I'm glad that the city has set aside money for...(missed it, I'll be honest).
: Very committed to making this happen. Approached after last election by CUPE
. Health teacher by training. Want to see community develop around health. 1st generation Canadian. Guidance councillor, recreation leader, MLA
and now mentors women at a group I didn't catch. On a social planning council. Urban sprawl BOO! Child care YAY
! Involved in the "Raise The Rates" campaign. (Haven't heard of it, but my hunch is that it is welfare or assistance related.)
8:21 - Caught Vandal leaving the room. Likely headed to the next one. (I wonder if they'd let me pop in there for a bit.....Likely would. Too lazy to find out.)
No Jays game tonight.
8:23 - Just spent a minute chatting with Patrick Fortier
and Matt Allard (sp
?) who were reading the site on a Blackberry. Gotta love the 21st Century.
Nice guys. (Or seem to be from all appearances.) *grin*
8:25 - When asked, declined a ballot. Thanks for the offer, but I'm likely campaigning against y'all in 2010, using you as a rally for the conservative cause to organize a little stronger as well. Probably a little unfair to vote in this. (And honestly, all three appear to be good people, so I doubt there's a wrong choice in the bunch.)
8:28 - I'm going to be careful because people are in the room reading at the same time I'm writing, but let's just say that I've noticed not a lot, but some quality...."talent" in the room, if you know what I mean.
Always wanted to date a lefty....
8:30 - Dan Vandal's back.
8:31 - Ballots collected and off to be counted. We're moving on to Communications and Outreach:
Allard" *fist pump on being on a streak of correct name-spelling*
Allard is flattered in both official languages, but declines.Schwabb's
in the other room...Slight delay....Heh
. Paul Hesse at the podium: "Just to give you a head's up, fundraising is coming up next."
8:35 - Still delayed. The laptop on the lap is killing sperm by the thousands and starting to really make me uncomfortable.
8:40 - We're killing time by doing upcoming event announcements. National Aboriginal Day, the Rapid Transit group on Wednesday at the Gas Station Theatre. Tickets are $5? Missed what for though...Happy Days by the Elmwood
/East K. something or another announced
by Lillian Thomas....Winnipeg Not For Sale, some group against privatization. Lots of stuff going on with them...Saturday night, one of the MCs
of a variety show in Old Market Square. Suggested donation ten beans, but overall, "Just come."
8:43 - Rebecca Schwab
Debbie Jameson and Pat Fortier
accepted and are acclaimed. (Patrick with a "Oui
8:44 - Fundraising:
All accepted with "Thanks to my nominator..." except Georgina, who cursed hers to a life listening to city council committee recaps on an endless loop until the end of time.
(Okay, so I made that last part up.)
8:47 - Georgina is asked to use the mic by Lillian Thomas, who gets downright pissy
when Georgina attempts to simply raise her voice. Thomas, who mentions her hearing disability, was actually close to being hostile, though Georgina cracked a joke at the mic about the incident and went on with her speech.
8:48 - Georgina: Raised in a socialist household. Moved back to Winnipeg ten years ago. Helped get involved with Glen Murray's campaign the first go-around. Has seen NDP
-Liberal-Tories who are unaligned get together at civic levels before and feels it possible here as well.
Robert: Ran for city council back in '73. Strong aboriginal
background in his policies (but not his ethnicity). Didn't do too well. "That's why you probably haven't heard of me." Ran against Justin Swandal
in the past. Didn't win and ran on no contracting out of city jobs. Ran as an NDP
in a federal election. Lost that too. From Jane Jacobs school of thought: "I'm a citizen, not a taxpayer." Against MalewhatevertheheckthestuffisthatgetsridoftheSkeeters
. Wants some other
stuff, including banning leaf blowers if he could. Also wants to "work with the Chipman
Family to bring the NHL back to Winnipeg", proving that this truly is a non-partisan evening.
David: Involved with the United Way and something with a union. Worked with the NDP
and the Canadian Labour in the past. Workplace safety right now. Focus is that the city is not going into the right direction. Losing thousands, nay millions of dollars in...Something, he's going fast. Filled in a few others, name dropping his church and the United Way once again. Basically, anti-Katz's
8:56 - There's Jenny Gerbasi
at the back.
8:59 - I'm second guessing myself on whether "Paul" is Paul Hesse. I wonder if this is what Liam was referring to when he stopped by earlier and mentioned something about "validating" something else.
9:01 - Liam confirms it is
Hesse, and our speaker is going to start. The room must be vacated by 9:30. (Couldn't help myself, but I "Yes!"ed before I could stop.) Liam also grabbed me a glass of water (and three website hits, he says), so let me just say once again, good people.
9:03 - Our speaker, Shellie Bird of People for a Better Ottawa Municipal Coalition
is speaking and giving some background on the group. Wonder if she'll mention that the right-wing mayor won the last Ottawa municipal election? (Course, to be fair, Mayor Larry sounds sorta nutbar
, so maybe they claim victory in spirit.)
On the crimes of cuts and downloading and growth of inequality.
9:07 - "Globalization arrived to Ottawa." Faced with a $120 million potential deficit, the City of Ottawa did a widespread program review after a decade of flat lined budgets and "we came together in a crisis," at a child care meeting. They put out a call to other groups, progressive politicians and others and had 300 people show up to a meeting very much like the one tonight.
9:09 - Wanted a different type of coalition
. Wanted one that didn't pit children vs. the elderly. That those needing services were not pitted against those new citizens. That "we wouldn't let our city divide us."
9:10 - In 2004, we came together and fight the good fight thru
that ill-fated budget process and did not lose a single dollar from services - didn't gain much - but didn't lose.
Actually found success talking to communities and changed the debate on the issue of taxes. No one wants to be taxed, but found that people were willing to spend more taxes if it means protecting programs "like the adult crossing guard program" or the "community pool open". We were going to do the one budget only.
9:13 - Found we wanted to keep going. Facing huge deficits again year after year. (What the hell is going on there that you would face $120 and $80 millionish
deficits regularly?) And why hasn't she properly tied back in her "Globalization..." line?
9:16 - Can't just run "progressives" unless they also speak to a wider community. Ottawa has a strong rural base that must also fit in.
9:17 - Hack: Looking around, there's a couple of media folks in the room, but no one I'm recognizing.
9:17 - It's a shame, but the speaker is being asked to wrap up despite obviously being not too deep into her presentation. Blows, since she came so far, but to be expected at one of these types of gigs. Focusing on the good things about bringing a broad group together rather than sticking to niche groups focusing on housing, child care, arts, etc.
9:19 - Finishes strong and receives warm applause: "When you know each other, it's hard to divide and conquer." (Good message for political scientists, lousy for their opponents.)
9:20 - Allan and Calvin beat out Marianne. Robert electoral success continued when Georgina and David won the other.
9:21 - We're being kicked out right away. Georgina's hitting the fundraising angle. People are starting to bail. Should pull out my keys and start shaking them at 'em.
9:22 - Lousy for the group's opponents. Not the political scientists' opponents.
9:23 - A quick one two with Cindy and Liam, the new chairs. Liam makes a reference to Vancouver's system as something that might work here. As a political hack, I can only hope he is right.
9:25 - Cindy wasn't here earlier because she was at a meeting tonight, but is excited by the fact that the room overflowed.
9:26 - Question: "How do we find anyone?" Answer: The website
is a work in progress, but is being added to every day.
9:27 - Question: "How do we volunteer for committees?" Answer: It'll come out over the emails and the newsletter announcing the next meeting. "Don't fret."
9:28 - Last order of business: Destroy
9:28 - Liam: Motion to adjourn
? Room: Done. Someone else: Now get out! (Basically, that is what she said.)
I'm out of here. Time to go get beers and regale others with my tales of venturing into the belly of the beast.
Night all. Thanks for checking it out. (And based on the stats, yes, there was an increased traffic tonight.)