June 19, 2000
Too much Tom Long - THE COMMENTARY
By Joseph Planta
VANCOUVER -- The on-going Canadian Alliance leadership race is a curious sight not only in terms of the politics involved, but in a media sense as well. It’s no secret that The National Post has turned into the house organ for the party and the kicker is that they aren’t denying it either. Evidence of the fact was seen last Thursday (or was it Friday?) when the lead story in the Toronto Globe and Mail, the CBC and CTV was the protests at Queen’s Park by a bunch of anti-poverty rabble rousers. At the National Post, however was the headline that in Gaspé there was an increase of Alliance memberships from 0 to 2,000-plus in less than 3 months. Big news, if you ask me.
My curmudgeon, Peter Warren, on his national open line show last Saturday had Tom Long on as a guest. Long, the neophyte to elected office, is responsible for the increases and was grilled on that issue and all the other issues and where he stood on them. I joined Warren on the open line, and asked Tom Long a question. I have been suspect of his entrance into the race and last Thursday’s column sort of expressed that. Once on the air, I asked Long whether he would seek a seat in the Commons should he not win the leadership of the Canadian Alliance.
Point black, Long said yes. So there you have it, on the Warren’s national open line show, I got Tom Long to promise me that he’d run as a CA candidate in the next election, regardless who the leader is. What I can tell you in my years of political prognostication is that Long won’t be leader of the Canadian Alliance any time soon.
Yesterday, I opened up my e-mail and found one from one Tom Long answering the same question I posed on his website about a month ago. I won’t be voting for Tom Long this Saturday, simply because I don’t think he can make it as a politician. He’s never held office before and at the rate the Alliance is going, giving the reins to Long would signal a step backwards for a movement that is certainly on it’s way.
But, with my weekend filled with Tom Long, I felt compelled to addressing his place in the race in today’s column. He’s struck me as a pleasant fellow and a man who I now think is heartfelt in his attempt to win on Saturday. Maybe it’s just the blinding lights of politics or the multi-million Bay Street bucks behind his campaign that have felled me, but I hold that opinion and I think differently of him now. Wait till I get older, I probably won’t be so forgiving.
In both the e-mail and the conversation I’ve had with Long, he expressed his confidence that he’d win the leadership. He also spoke of the excitement and surprise he’s had in travelling the nation and seeing all those supporting him.
His PR campaign is top notch and whether there is substance behind all the style, it’s for the rank and file of the Canadian Alliance to decide who’ll lead them in the next general election. What I can say at this time is that Long’s bought himself a great deal of national prominence. He probably deserves it for being a nice man, but we all know where nice guys finish. Long will finish last, because he’s practically bought the race.
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