Find-the-worst-conversation was the game, the playing field this past weekend's Tory leadership convention at the Metro Convention Centre. All Friday night (May 30), we servers, a bunch of students and immigrants, carried around trays offering liquor to our fearless leaders. There were quite a few contenders in the game, mostly exchanges on the subject of money and employment. The winner was poetic in how few words it took to say so much.
"Work and golf."
"Don't forget skiing."
"Right. Work, golf and skiing. That's it. I mean, what else is there?" Indeed.
The festivities got under way with the usual cheers and buttons, not to mention little mechanical clackers to make sure enough support was rallied. Decadence and competition reigned as older men sat huddled in a corner with plates of free food and women coated in rouge galloped from delegate to delegate trying to plead their favourite's case through a thinly veiled mask of small talk.
Later in the evening, after the wine had been flowing for a few hours and the delegates had made their rounds, it was the servers who became the targets for convincing. A slurred monologue was performed for me about leadership hopeful Jim Prentice's integrity and goodness. "He's a man who believes in respect. He thinks that if you respect someone else it won't harm you. There's no harm in respect, you know?"
The night wrapped up with a final speech from one of the contenders, Craig Chandler, who already knew he had lost. Many snuck out prior to this because of another party at Steam Whistle Brewery, which was rumoured to have free beer still on tap. Not surprisingly, it was eventual winner Peter MacKay's event.
The whole evening had a Survivor feel. One minute someone would be overheard lauding a candidate. The next he'd be whispering that his vote would be going to someone else. All the while he'd be knocking back drinks to keep his game face on.
Candidate T-shirts were poorly hidden under jackets covered in another contender's pins. It occurred to me that this is something the general public should never see, lest their faith in the system be totally destroyed.