More familiar with standing ovations for his years as a solo act, as a member of the Cash Brothers band with his sibling Pete and as a featured guest in The Skydiggers, singer/NOW writer Andrew Cash received resounding applause Monday night as he won the nomination as the federal NDP candidate in Toronto's west end Davenport riding.
Over 300 people jammed into Davenport's New Horizon's Auditorium at Bloor and
Dundas Dufferin to acclaim Cash as the candidate including NDP leader Jack Layton and MPs Olivia Chow and Charlie Angus, himself a musician and former band mate of Cash's in legendary 80s band L'Etranger.
"When Andrew wins this seat I'll no longer be able to make the claim of being the only MP who ever opened for the Dead Kennedys," said an enthusiastic Angus, an effective rep for Timmins-James Bay in saluting his pal and fellow traveler.
Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy kicked off the evening endorsing Cash and singing the band's agit-prop tune It Can Happen to You while Andy Maize and Josh Finlayson of The Skydiggers wrapped up the celebratory night with two songs.
Jim Cuddy. Photo by Michael Hollett
With freshly shorn sideburns and a spiffier suit than his usual ironic Variety Village fare, Cash was comfortable talking politics and policy without ever sounding like a tired politician.
He spoke of a longtime aversion to declaring for partisan politics but said the lingering stench of the destructive Mike Harris gang, newly-installed in Ottawa with Stephen Harper's Conservatives was partially the cause of his "re-learning how to tie ties" and taking a run at the federal seat.
"People in Toronto have a representational problem, "said Cash bemoaning the ineffective Liberal reign in most of Toronto's ridings. "We have pot hole fillers but no nation builders."
With the slogan CASH for Toronto, Cash made it clear he would fight to represent his riding as well as the city itself if installed in Ottawa.
"Imagine if government attacked Montreal or Vancouver the way they attack Toronto."
"Toronto is a distinct society and we need to celebrate it not apologize for it."
And a day after Harper played politics and piano at Ottawa's National Arts Centre, Cash made it clear artists and the arts need to be represented by people who don't bait the creative class.
He said the arts generate $70 billion to the Canadian economy while the auto industry, exclusive of spin-offs, accounts for only $30 billion.
He accused sitting Liberal MP Mario Silva of giving the riding part-time representation and said the member has been working on an MA in Oxford, England while serving Davenport.
"I've got nothing against him personally but this riding deserves fulltime representation," said Cash.
It's clear the singer intends to bring ‘party' to party politics and, at the very least, should be able to muster awesome jams with supporters that include Cuddy, The Skydiggers and the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie.
The Skydiggers. Photo by Michael Hollett