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Globe unwired archive: May 24 to May 28

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    From: Laghi, Brian (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 7:50 PM
    Subject: Give us a sign

    Saskatonians might be forgiven if they're thinking Stephen Harper carries a lucky horseshoe in his baggage. Parched by the drought, Saskatoon has been waiting for rain all spring.

    Wouldn't you know it, 30 minutes before Mr. Harper left town after a campaign event, the skies opened up, dropping the first significant shower this city in the middle of the wheat belt has seen in some time. And not only that, when United Scare Lines left the tarmac, it was accompanied by a rainbow. There's a pot of gold in this story somewhere, Mr. Harper. Maybe he will find it on June 28th.

    From: Chase, Steven (with the NDP)
    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 1:36 PM
    Subject: Jack be quick

    NDP chief Jack Layton has maintained a furious pace in Week 1 of the election campaign, travelling far more than other party leaders. The Layton tour plane has spent almost an entire 24-hour day in the air so far. An average day for reporters and staff following Mr. Layton begins at 6 am and doesn't end usually until 9 pm local time.

    Distance traveled: 12,699 km
    Hours spent in air: 20.5 hours.
    Number of cities visited: 10

    Campbell Clark
    with the Liberals

    Brian Laghi
    with the Conservatives

    Steven Chase
    with the NDP

    Rheal Seguin
    with the Bloc

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (with the Bloc)
    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 12:43 PM

    The lunch on the Bloc bus today was a stop at a Chinese buffet called Le Martinet, on the south shore of the St. Lawrence. It featured traditional Chinese fare such as onion rings and hot-dogs wrapped in bacon.

    Miro Cernetig of the Star, a former China correspondant, said as he stuffed some yellow chicken in his mouth: "I dont know what it is, but it ain't Chinese."

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (With the Bloc)
    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 9:43 AM
    Subject: Christening the bus

    Bus driver Marcel Turcotte cleans the Bloc bus. Photo: Jacques Boissinot/CP
    After a few days of brainstorming the crew on the Bloc tour have christened their two-bus motorcade. A few ideas popped up as the print and radio bus ambled in the Appalachians in recent days, such as the Buseppe, BSL (Bloc Steamship Lines) and the Pension-air (isn't that why separatists go to Ottawa, for that gold-platted retirement?).

    The consensus emerged at a late evening supper on Thursday at a restaurant in Montmagny, on the south-shore of the St. Lawrence, when reporters complained about the Bloc's defensive, risk-free campaign. From now on, these dispatches will be coming to you from The Bloc Bubble, which is on its way to Gaspe, as far away as possible from real people or tough issues.

    From: Chase, Steven (with the NDP)
    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 8:24 AM
    Subject: Paul Martian?

    NDP leader Jack Layton has called Paul Martin a lot of things in the last 18 months: coal baron, scourge of the homeless, capitalist tool.

    Now you can add extraterrestrial to that list. Thursday night in Montreal, Mr. Layton called his Liberal rival "Mr. Martian" during an NDP event. Was it a flub, or deliberate? It's hard to tell.

    But the 350-strong NDP crowd ate it up. He apologized for the comment amid howls of laughter and clapping.

    Then Mr. Layton cracked a joke about it - a quip that seemed too polished to be off-the-cuff.

    "My apologies on that one. I was going to talk about weaponization of space later in the program."

    From: Clark, Campbell (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 9:13 PM
    Subject: Midnight snack is the most important...

    The Liberal campaign plane was officially dubbed Minorit-Air by the reporters, preferring a reference to the Liberals' chances to win another majority to other options - Canada Airship Lines, Million-Air, and Commandit-Air, the latter being a play on the French word for sponsor.

    But it could just as aptly be called Fatten-Air. The Liberal campaign provides hot and cold running food, starting with eggs at the breakfast buffet and ending with midnight snacks.

    Reporters were offered six meals during the day Wednesday - including a supper on board the plane of chicken or cannelloni, with berries in a chocolate cup. When the Liberals, flying from Montreal, stopped for a rally in Winnipeg, plates of local chocolates were brought on the plane.

    As the plane flew to Victoria, margaritas and daiquiris were served. Paul Martin, clad in a jean jacket, chatted with reporters. And when the plane landed in Victoria - now after midnight by Eastern time, volunteers told reporters they had a "light supper"-- the 7th meal of the day -- awaiting at the hotel, including dim sum.

    Thursday's breakfast was followed by a mid-morning snack including scones and Devonshire cream, lunch of sandwiches, afternoon snacks of sushi. And dinner is supposed to be served on the planes.

    Some reporters have expressed fear at being fattened up by the Liberals, including one photographer who remarked that if he sees anyone with a turkey baster, he's going to panic.

    From: Laghi, Brian (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 8:37 PM
    Subject: So close

    More information than he wanted to know. Stephen Harper found himself in an Atlantic aviation museumThursday when he came across an old small-sized jet with a federal history behind it. Museum honcho Mark Peapell began telling Mr Harper a story about how former PM Pierre Trudeau and wife Maggie were once seen by a member of the ground crew in the plane...alone. Before he could get the story out, however, Mr. Harper shhhed him, turning a potentially salacious blog into something less-so.

    From: Laghi, Brian (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 3:53 PM
    Subject: We'll just wing it...

    After much debate, reporters have christened the Conservative Party campaign aircraft. Herein is the top ten list of contenders

    Conservative Leader Stephen Harper arrives in Charlottetown. Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP
    10. Merge Air
    9. Right Wing
    8. Aust Air (get it? Austere, as in Stephen Harper is...)
    7. Bore Wing (get it? As in Stephen Harper is...)
    6. Helmet Hair
    5. Delusions of Grand Air
    4. No Flair
    3. UnCanadian Airlines
    2. Frigidaire
    And the winner is, chosen by an extremely small pluraty of one vote

    ...United Scare Lines. ...a little mean perhaps, but nothing like one of the top contenders for the 1993 Reform Party plane...Wing Nuts.

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (With the Bloc)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004
    Subject: What goes around...

    Journalists on the Bloc tour were an unhappy lot Wednesday morning after their stay at Le Baron motel in Sherbrooke where the rooms were chilly and the water in the showers fluctuated between hot and cold. Meanwhile, Gilles Duceppe and his entourage were pampered at the modern Delta.

    This morning was blissful for the hacks, as the sun finally shone in their rooms at the Georgesville hotel in the lovely Beauce region. The cherry on the sundae? There wasn't enough room at the hotel for everyone, and Mr. Duceppe stayed at a subpar motel down the road.

    From: Chase, Steven (with the NDP)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 12:03 PM
    Subject: Balance of Pow-air

    CBC reporter Tom Parry has coined a nickname for the NDP election plane: Balance of Pow-air.

    The name reflects the possibility that NDP leader Jack Layton's party could end up holding the balance of power in Parliament if the Liberals fail to win a majority in the June 28 election.

    The Liberals might need NDP support to govern in that case.

    From: Chase, Steven (With the NDP)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 8:52 AM
    Subject: Details, Details

    Somebody organizing the NDP election tour is sweating the small stuff, taking care of details that nosy journalists might notice.

    Take the NDP campaign swag (freebie stuff), for instance.

    Reporters are given no-spill NDP travel mugs when they board leader Jack Layton's campaign plane.

    One scribe turned a cup upside down, expecting to find a made-in-China label. (After all, what isn't made there these days?)

    A nearby NDP aide looked on anxiously, awaiting the outcome.

    But no -- there was a made-in-Canada inscription instead. It would have looked bad on the NDP had their campaign merchandise hailed from the land of cheap wages, humans rights abuses and prison labour.

    No doubt Mr. Layton has firmly secured the Canadian travel mug lobby's vote.

    From: Chase, Steven (With the NDP)
    Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 7:20 AM
    Subject: Great Expectations:

    Stable health care funding, equal marriages rights for gays -- these are a few of their favourite things.

    NDP voters have pasted the goals they want Jack Layton to achieve, if elected, on the wall of his Toronto campaign office.

    Their wishes are scrawled on paper 'leaves' stuck on a picture of a tree in Mr. Layton's Toronto-Danforth HQ. A few requests may tax Mr. Layton's political talents, though.

    This reporter's favourite was "No more Celine Dion." Others are kind of obscure, like "sexual anarchy." Still, Mr. Layton aims to please. After all, he is the only politician so far promising two more national holidays for Canadians.

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (With the Bloc)
    Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 3:05 PM
    Subject: Been there, done that.

    On his official schedule, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe was supposed to sign the Golden Book at the city hall in Plessisville. The problem was, he'd already signed it on a previous tour. He settled for a quick chat with the mayor.

    From: Chase, Steven (With the NDP in Toronto)
    Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 10:56 AM
    Subject: Spin, Spin, Spin

    Jack Layton at a campaign stop in Toronto on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Vaughan/CP
    It was all spin, spin, spin this morning when NDP leader Jack Layton held a photo shoot with his eco-friendly party platform in front of Toronto's wind turbine today.

    Yet he later motored away from the scene in a slick, dark-blue luxury Mercury Grand Marquis. It's a far cry from the politically correct Toyota Prius hybrid car that federal Liberal Environment Minister David Anderson drives.

    NDP officials later joked they'll make Prius cars standard issues once they take power.

    From: Laghi, Brian (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 8:51 AM
    Subject: Harper, the funny man?

    Often described as austere, Stephen Harper has shown more than a few fashes of humour on the campaign trail. Case in point, while speaking to a Fredericton audience Tuesday, Mr. Harper referenced the tactile nature of New Brunswick MP Elsie Wayne by noting that he gets more hugs from her than from his own wife. Later, he added that Ms. Wayne reminded him of his beloved late Aunt Estelle, "except for the dead part."

    The remark brought gales of laughter from Harper communications-meister Jim Armour, who has been known to crack wise on occasion himself on Mr. Harper's behalf. Not this time though he swears. The jokes are Mr. Harper's own.

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (With the Bloc)
    Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 7:11 AM
    Subject: You can check out...

    Waking up in a Sherbrooke motel on day 4 to the sound of a garbage truck noisily emptying a large bin. The view? Not the mountains, but rather a McDonald's.

    Still, today promises more excitment after a few days of campaigning in a bubble. The Bloc caravan has stopped either in partisan rallies, or in safe settings such as a near-empty museum in Sorel, without any interaction with ordinary voters. It seemed the party did not want to do anything to jeopardize its lead in the polls.

    Today, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe goes to a textile factory in a Liberal riding (Mégantic - L'Érable) where he will put some of his views to the test and see whether or not he is connecting with the people.

    From: Chase, Steven (With the NDP in Regina)
    Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 12:37 AM
    Subject: Battle of the billboards

    Everywhere you go in Regina, Liberal Finance Minister Ralph Goodale is staring at you.

    Above, NDP MPs Lorne Nystrom, Dick Proctor and fellow candidates Erin Weir and Moe Kovatch. Below, Ralph Goodale. Photo: Steven Chase/The Globe and Mail
    So are well-known NDP MPs such as veteran politician Lorne Nystrom, Dick Proctor and other party candidates.

    Saskatchewan's capital city is full of giant pictures of Liberal and NDP election candidates on larger-than life billboards.

    But there's a distinct lack of big sign advertising featuring Liberal Leader Paul Martinor NDP leader Jack Layton, both of whose parties are in tight races for Regina's four federal seats.

    It's no surprise given that Mr. Martin is the target of voter anger over the $100-million federal sponsorship scandal. And Mr. Layton, a newcomer to the federal political scene from Toronto city council, is relatively unknown in Saskatchewan.

    (The Goodale ad blitz even includes strategically-placed signs opposite NDP and Conservative offices in Regina.)

    Regina's battle of the billboards illustrates how exceedingly local the fight for Parliament seats is in this city of 192,000.

    Mr. Goodale's head looms as large as a small automobile on his billboards. His mug is the only object in the picture. A tag identifies him as Liberal but the message is pure, saying: Ralph Goodale, Making Saskatchewan Stronger.

    Mr. Martin's picture is remarkably scarce on big-sign ads. That's despite the fact he was long touted by supporters as the Liberal leader most likely to cure western Canadian alienation and win new seats in the Prairies and British Columbia.

    The same goes for NDP ads, which only say: "Your NDP team in Regina."

    In a shot that makes them seem as big as Olympian gods, the NDP billboards feature Mr. Nystrom, Mr. Proctor and two other local candidates staring rather sternly at voters.

    There's nothing but blue sky behind them — and certainly not any sign of Jack Layton, the party's relatively new leader who only took power 16 months ago.

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (With the Bloc)
    Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 3:20 PM
    Subject: Flower power

    Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe took his campaign to a major flower producer in Drummondville, Que., providing a colourful backdrop from which he launched his attack on Liberal Leader Paul Martin's new health-care plan. Photographers and cameramen were delighted with the surroundings as Mr. Duceppe toured the 300,000-square feet facility along with sitting MP Pauline Picard. As they left, the pair received a special bouquet with two blue-coloured roses.

    The owner of Rose Drummond, Denis Lampron, said the blue roses were first developed by the Dutch for the 2000 millennium celebrations. To obtain the unnatural hue, a white rose in immersed in a special liquid that is absorbed by the flower, turning into the perfect symbol for a separatist leader.

    From: Laghi, Brian (with the Conservatives)
    Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 8:28 AM
    Subject: Transmogrification complete

    Stephen Harper's transmogrification is complete. One of the individuals piloting Mr. Harper's campaign aircraft happens to be Jim Adam, one of those who commandeered the jet that former prime pinister Brian Mulroney travelled in during his smashing 1984 campaign. Mr. Mulroney, you will recall, parlayed the campaign into a record majority government. Mr. Adam isn't the first Mulroney connection to be noticed. Paul Terrien, a former speech writer for Mr. Mulroney, had a hand in Mr. Harper's Monday address in Montreal. Plus ca change...

    From: Clark, Campbell (With the Liberals)
    Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 7:12 AM
    Subject: The FUN plane

    As campaigns often do, the Liberals have decided to try to make reporters on the plane feel like their campaign plane is more fun than any other — a dubious strategy considering that Joe Clark's Tory plane was the most fun in the 2000 campaign.

    So, as the Liberal plane flew from New Brunswick to Trenton, Ont. Monday night, the "two Scotts" — Martin adviser Scott Reid and Scott Feschuk, who used to write humour for the National Post but now writes speeches for Paul Martin — got on the cabin microphone to provide David Letterman-style Top Ten lists.

    The Top Ten Reasons Why the Liberal Plane is the Most Fun were not entirely convincing, although some, like "No Jean Carle" — a reference to an unloved senior aide to Jean Chrétien, won some applause.

    The Top Ten Rejected Names for the Liberal Campaign Plane, however, offered a pre-emptive strike before the reporters find a lasting moniker. They included "Dither-Air," "Still-pretty-much-screwed-in-the-WestJet," and "Enola Gay Marriage."

    At number one was Earnscliffe Research and Communications, the name of the Ottawa consulting firm that has at one time or another employed seemingly everyone that works for Paul Martin.

    From: Chase, Steven (With the NDP)
    Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 3:20 AM
    Subject: Less Work, More Play: NDP; In Case You missed It: Election 2004; Snazzy Jack

    An NDP government would create two new national holidays, New Democrat leader Jack Layton pledges.

    One would be in February and one in June. (Although Quebec, being separate and distinct and all, will get its second new holiday in August).

    Mr. Layton says the goal is to help parents spend more time with their children. Two more days off: who can argue with that? Top that, Liberals and Conservatives.

    In Case You missed It: Election 2004

    Jessie and Gary Carlson, supporters of Regina NDP Dick Proctor, at an NDP rally in Regina. Photo: Steven Chase/The Globe and Mail
    NDP leader Jack Layton tried his hand at telephoning Regina residents to ask for their vote yesterday, only to discover not everybody knows an election campaign is under way.

    The only call he made was answered by a woman taken aback by news that she's got to head to the ballot box June 28.

    Mr. Layton was forced to interrupt his standard NDP pitch in order to set her straight first. "Yeah ... It just got started," he told her. Who would have figured? The first warm long weekend in 2004 and Canadians were doing something else besides parking themselves in front of the TV to watch the writ drop?

    Snazzy Jack

    Mr. Layton is rarely seen without a white dress shirt and tie these days.

    His campaign material almost never shows him without them. On Sunday he even strutted around in gold suspenders too -- when he wasn't wearing a dark blue business-suit jacket. On Monday he was in a summer-y beige suit with a matching tie.

    Mr. Layton's Harry Rosen-style wardrobe appears to be part of the New Democrats' plan to put some sartorial distance between "Today's NDP" and the tweed-jacketed, sandal-wearing stereotypes of years past.

    The NDP faces quite a different challenge from that bedevilling former Liberal leader Jean Chretien's handlers. In the 1993 election They dressed the Grit chief in a blue denim shirts to show what a man of the people he was, despite decades of working in Ottawa.

    From: Leblanc, Daniel (With the Bloc)
    Sent: Mon May 24 20:44:54 2004
    Subject: Reality TV'

    All the opposition parties are having fun on the campaign trail attacking the Liberals on the sponsorship scandal. At a rally Monday night in Pierreville, Que., longtime Bloc MP Louis Plamondon said it could become the basis for a reality show. Playing to a large and partisan audience, Mr. Plamondon said that instead of voting contestants off an island, the show called "Who wears the dunce's hat?" would see Liberals involved in the corruption and cronyism regularly added to the winner's circle. Mr. Plamondon said the theme song could be Les portes du penitencier (The prison's door).

    "What do you want, we can't name them all ambassadors, some have to go elsewhere," he said.

    From: Laghi, Brian (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 6:24 PM
    Subject: Rocky

    Conservative campaign workers have taken to humming the theme song from Rocky around National Post reporter Sean Gordon after the latter found himself on the receiving end of a bareknuckle challenge late Sunday. Seems Mr. Gordon and a few other media and campaign types had slipped into a Brockville karaoke bar for a beer when one of the patrons apparently crumpled up Mr. Gordon's bar bill and threw it at him. Reliable witnesses say Mr. Gordon leaned in to tell the man he didn't want any trouble when the man threatened to pop him. Mr. Gordon beat him to the punch, so to speak, delivering a quick head-butt to the nose. There you go. The pen isn't always mightier than the sword.

    From: Laghi, Brian (With the Conservatives)
    Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 9:59 AM
    Subject: Pitstop

    The CTV satellite truck broke down before getting to Brockville yesterday forcing TV personnel to scramble to Kingston to feed their reports.

    It's also raining cats and dogs as we head to Smiths Falls this morning, elevating everybody's mood.

    From: Chase, Steven (With the NDP)
    Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 3:50 AM
    Subject: Two-fer; Standup Jack; Jack Dylan

    NDP chief Jack Layton said Canadians will get two leaders for the price of one if he's elected.

    He said his wife, Olivia Chow, will be his partner in government.

    "If you get me, you get Olivia," NDP leader Jack Layton told reporters on his campaign plane Sunday.

    Ms. Chow is also running for the NDP in Toronto.

    "Jack plus Olivia is equal more than either one of us individually," Mr. Layton said.

    "We've worked together politically for 19 years," he said.

    Mr. Layton and Ms. Chow served together as Toronto's political power couple on city council in the 1990s. He was elected leader of the NDP in January 2003. Mr. Layton said their team approach has helped them steer clear of pitfalls.

    "It's helped us avoid mistakes because we offer each other a wise trusted ... perspective."

    Standup Jack:

    Photo: Steven Chase/The Globe and Mail
    Jack Layton sounded like a Catskills comedian at his first campaign stop on Vancouver's Granville Island Sunday evening, where he served up joke after joke at the expense of Paul Martin's Liberals:

    -On the Liberal's slumping fortunes: "The 2004 campaign: or as Paul Martin calls it, the worst IPO [initial public offering] ever." -On Liberal "star candidates" that Paul Martin appointed -- or parachuted -- into ridings to carry the Grit banner: "If those are the stars, then it's one dim constellation."
    "That's the thing about the Liberal parachute: it opens on impact."

    -On the pitched battle for the Liberal nomination in Vancouver Centre, which was finally won by sitting MP Hedy Fry: "There's been a lot of talk about how Ms. Fry won her nomination, but I just heard the results have been officially certified free and fair ... by the Florida State Board of Elections. Their riding association consisted of 3,000 Liberals named Chad."

    Jack Dylan:
    NDP leader Jack Layton has brought his guitar on tour with him during the election campaign.

    And that can only mean one thing: he's going to force reporters to sing, campfire-style, with him.

    His favourite tune? "Blowin' in the Wind," the anti-war song made famous by Bob Dylan.

    Mr. Layton, who argues the federal Liberals should not be given a fourth consecutive majority government, also likes several repeated phrases in the song: "How many times" and "How many years."

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