Last night, around 80 button-down shirts attended Jody Twa's first event as the provincial Liberal candidate for Juan de Fuca - including Premier Gordon Campbell. Gathering in the parking lot outside his campaign office, the supporters cheered on Mr. Twa's candidacy and partook in the free booze provided by the Colwood mayor. The following is a complete copy of our notes from that event.
* Mr. Twa was a superlative host, plying his supporters with a buffet of chicken fingers, egg rolls, sushi and tempora. Attendees were also treated to free booze, including a selection of beers and bottles of Conquista and Outback Chase.
* Langford councillor Denise Blackwell introduced Premier Campbell. But she wasn't the only local politician in attendance. According to Mr. Twa, Langford councillors Larry Seaton, Winnie Sifert and Lilian Szpak were also there, along with Highlands mayor Mark Cardinal, councillor Michelle Mahovlich, Sooke mayor Janet Evans and councillor Brenda Parkinson. So it came as no surprise when Mr. Twa said first action upon being elected would be to meet "with the mayors and council of the region." Mr. Twa also delievered a message from vacationing Lagnford mayor Stew Young in support of his candidacy.
* Liberal caucus members in attendance included Ron Cantelon, Ida Chong. Randy Hawes, Dennis Mackay and Gordon Hogg. Also spotted were former legislators Graham Bruce and Sheila Orr, along with Victoria-Beacon Hill party candidate Dallas Henault.
* Speaking from two pages of notes, Premier Campbell led off his oratory with a jab at the New Democrats: "You know, when I think about what is the name for the current MLA for Malahat-Juan de Fuca or the current MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill, I just can't remember their names. But I know the party they represent. They represent a party that's voted against every single one of the 103 tax cuts the Liberals have introduced since 2001. They're for a party that has been against every single environmental intiative we've had to try and protect our province and its future for our children and our grandchildren. They've been opposed to the establishment of new universities, new trade schools, new opportunities, new ports, new transportation infrastructure. It is an opposition is every single thing they do. If it's good, they oppose it. And that's why we have to elect Jody Twa is Juan de Fuca."
* Mr. Twa, intially, seemed to suggest he would be able to win the riding without Juan de Fuca constituents casting a single ballot: "One of the things I thought when I took on this job was 'Is this riding winnable?' And I would not be standing here today if I did not absolutely believe this riding is winnable. And when I look out tonight and see how many people are here and I recognize so many. And I know how hard this community works - how hard the Westshore works - I've changed my opinion. This riding is going to be like a machine. If we build up to May 12, it's just going to be like a machine that gains momentum. And the day May 12 comes, the work will be done. They'll be no reason to even vote in this riding because we'll have worked so hard that we'll be elected."
A smattering of applause and uncomfortable laughs followed, prompting Mr. Twa to add, "No, no. You know what. We can't take anything for granted. What I meant is we're going to build-up momentum in this riding. We're going to become an unstoppable force. And on May 12, we're going to join the Liberal team in the legislature."
* Mr. Twa also addressed what he referred to as the New Democrat's "number one issue" in the riding: "And that's the commuter train from Langford to Victoria. When I think of that, I think of people getting out of cars, I think of freight getting on the rail where it should be, I think of the real possibility of reducing greenhouse gases in the region - something I support wholeheartedly...I believe that train will get people out of cars - which will make local roads safer, something I believe resignates (sic) with each and every one of the riding here."
* Asked in a scrum whether he had chosen a campaign manager yet, "Right now, I have a team that we're building. We have a number of members there. I don't know whether I want to comment on who is designated as the manager at this point. I'm going to work full-time on this campaign. There's many people that are going to be helping me. Right now, I would say that if there was a key individual at this point it would be Darlene Tait." Ms. Tait is the community relations manager for Westhills community development.
* Mr. Twa has no less than five clocks in his campaign office. The reason: because, according to one supporter, "it's time for Twa."