Earlier, Public Eye reported ex-provincial cabinet minister Christy Clark would be hosting a reception for supposed federal Liberal leadership candidate Scott Brison. But what was said and who was at that scratch-and-sniff event - which Ms. Clark says is "neither intended nor should be interpreted as an endorsement" of the former Tory. Well, according to our operatives, most interesting was the appearance of John Bethel. Mr. Bethel ran unsuccessfully as a Liberal candidate in Edmonton East during the 2004 election (despite or perhaps because of being appointed to that nomination by Paul Martin). But he is best known for having been the president of Prime Minister Martin's leadership campaign in that province. Any guesses who Mr. Bethel, a friend of Mr. Brison's national co-ordinator Leslie Swartman, might be organizing for now?
We're also told former Albertan David Brodie, who headed up Prime Minister Martin's western desk, was in attendance - as were Earnscliffe Strategy Group Inc. members Mike Drummond, Adam Johnson and Bruce Young. And Dale Flood, former special assistant to Industry Minister David Emerson, could be seen working the crowd of 80 or so Liberals - which included national party vice-president Mike Hillman, constitution and legal affairs committee co-chair Martin MacLachlan and Janice Nicholson, Prime Minister Martin's former director of parliamentary affaris.
Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy partner James Hatton also showed up with his wife/television star Jennifer Schlotter. And former ministers' regional office executive director Billy Cunningham was spotted escorting Mr. Brison into the reception, where the would-be contender had his French language skills tested by former national communications vice-president Shannon Salter.
Of course, this wasn't just a Martini party. Also noted was the presence of the ubiquiotus Greg Wilson, as well as Unified Network of Indo-Canadians for Togetherness Through Education and Discussion co-founder Amar Randhawa. Both supported Sheila Copps for the Liberal leadership. And former (Alan) Rock machine members Craig Munroe, Vancouver Quadra's constituency association president, and Bilal Cheema, who was most recently a special assistant to Fisheries and Oceans Minister Geoff Regan, were also there.
And how did these backroomers receive Mr. Brison? Politely. But our operatives report the would-be contender sounded somewhat scripted at times. And we've also been told Mr. Brison would be well-advised, in the future, to spend more time schmoozing and less time on question and answer sessions.