I couldn’t help it. I found myself laughing out loud too many times Sunday night during what was supposed to be a dramatic Conservative TV Political Prime Time Special: balloting for the party’s new federal Leader, coast-to-coast-to-coast, LIVE from Ottawa.
A perfect opportunity for the Tories to introduce their new Leader … with a Prime Time address watched by millions of Canadians.
It was also a largely pre-packaged chance to “rebrand” their public image; display their efficiency; and show that they are well-organized, competent … and ready to govern!
That did not happen.
They didn’t get to results of even the FIRST Ballot until 12:34 a.m. EST Monday! LOL!
That, of course was well after most viewers in the East had already gone to sleep; and well after the NHL Playoff Game between Vancouver and Las Vegas began on other stations … no doubt stealing away a sizeable portion of any audience still awake. LOL!
Remember, the Tories had been out there for months, loudly criticizing, denouncing, mocking the Liberal government for not acting fast enough in developing a plethora of wide-ranging and complicated Covid-19 assistance programs, processing millions of applications and then getting the millions of compensation cheques out to millions of Canadian workers, businesses, landlords and seniors.
With only FOUR leadership contenders, all the Tories’ sophisticated high-tech equipment had to do was count/collate 174,000 machine-ready mail-in ballots.
CBC Newsworld, CTV News and CBC Network stations went LIVE as early as 5 p.m Eastern, anticipating FIRST ballot results around 6:30 p.m.
Seems the Tories’ sophisticated envelope-opening machines had slashed to pieces thousands of ballots … LOL … because the party had changed the size of the return envelopes, but the machines had not been adjusted. LOL!
So results were delayed and delayed and delayed because party workers had to Scotch tape together ripped ballots or … how’s this for election confidence … “re-produce” by hand ballots that were torn too badly to be repaired and put through the counting machines at all.
That’s NO laughing matter!
Conservative officials went on TV and offered assurances that scrutineers were carefully monitoring the accuracy of the thousands of replacement ballots being prepared.
But of course, producing ballots by hand takes time. Canada is not Belarus! LOL!
After the delay had gone on for more than two hours, a seemingly exasperated Kory Teneycke, former Communications Advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, candidly remarked on air that counting ballots shouldn’t be “rocket science”!
Broadcasters were left to fill HOURS of airtime … I admired their tenacity and creativity: one even jesting it could soon be time to start telling Knock-Knock jokes; and after the waiting crossed into after Midnight, another quipped “Welcome to the second day of our coverage …”. LOL!
As they struggled to fill time, one party official reminded viewers there was also a delay at the Tories’ last federal leadership contest in 2017 and results at the Ontario Tory provincial leadership race, organized by many of the same people as this one, also didn’t emerge until almost Midnight. (I recommend none of them point this out on their Resumes!)
While waiting, the Tories moved up out-going Leader Andrew Scheer’s farewell address. I never viewed him before as much of a comedian, until … in the midst of the ongoing chaos, delays and embarrassment … Scheer delivered this line:
“I have never been prouder to be a Conservative.”
Canadians watching were not likely as impressed that his Official Opposition is ready to run the country.
Results of the Second Ballot finally came at 1:04 a.m. EST; the third and Final ballot results at 1:05 a.m. EST … as the Canucks were losing to Las Vegas 5-0.
The Conservatives new Leader: Erin O’Toole.
Montreal-born, O’Toole is a current MP (Ontario), former RCAF officer, Bay Street lawyer, and Veterans Affairs Minister in Stephen Harper’s Cabinet.
In his acceptance speech, O’Toole began: ” “To the millions of Canadians who are still up: Good morning, I’m Erin O’Toole,.” (It was 10:30 p.m. in BC)
He specifically addressed/reached out to Quebeckers and Ontarians, pointed to his links to the Maritimes, mentioned Alberta and acknowledged the importance of minorities, immigrants, the middle class and small business.
He didn’t mention British Columbia.
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