This afternoon I was in Beaches-East York to see the Conservative nomination race between Galen Weston and Peter Conroy. The nominee got to be the candidate in a hopeless Toronto lakefront seat that usually votes NDP and where the Tories routinely run in third place. The good news was that they filled the hall for the nomination race, well over a hundred people. Last year they only had about forty or so people show up. Take that for what you will, it looks as if there are a lot of mad Conservatives out there. The base seems unusually mobilized everywhere.
Galen Weston was by far the most interesting candidate. Turns out his name is not "Galen Weston Jr." as I reported earlier (blame Free Dominion), but simply Galen Weston. And it turns out he's not related to the other, well-known, rich Galen Weston at all. Instead he was just some guy running for office with the same name. He was able to laugh and joke about the Election Prediction site referring to him as Galen "not that one" Weston. It's great he has a sense of humor about it, because, well, he got beat pretty handily by Conroy, whose previous political experience was four years on Parliament Hill working as E.A. for Tom Wappel. That's right, a Liberal. But Conroy did change parties and people were cheering him when he said he'd vote to defend traditional marriage and boost the military, so he sounded like a real Conservative to me.
After Conroy won the nomination he also offered to buy Galen Weston a beer. What a great guy, eh? All in all, I'd say the Tories' nomination meeting in Beaches-East York was a big success.
Not as successful was the nomination race in Scarborough Southwest, which I heard took five hours to complete and was a "fiasco", I was told. By all rights Heather Jewell, the 2004 candidate of record, should have won the nomination easily, but her people apparently didn't all show up, and I was told there were lots of instant Tories recruited to the meeting; her opponent won by ten votes. Well, the Tories have thrown away Scarborough Southwest, because Heather Jewell ran a good solid campaign there last time and had good name recognition. Oh, well.
I've heard that all the Conservatives' nominations should be done by the end of the weekend pretty much everywhere. Just in time for the budget.