“We’re going to get a little democracy going here,” he says. But there’s nothing “little” about it. The hall is packed, and Michael Ignatieff is about to take questions. When he talks about “standing up for democracy,” he means it literally.
The people in the room aren’t all Liberals, far from it. Standing at the back, among the party faithful, are the unaffiliated and the undecided. There are flashes of orange and green, and even reddish-blue — those long-neglected Progressive Conservatives who were crowded out of Stephen Harper’s right-wing coalition.
Now they’re here, at the edge of the Big Red Tent, standing at the back of the room in Brampton and St. Boniface, Edmonton and Victoria and, on Monday, at the Alpen Club in Vancouver. They ask tough questions, get straight answers, and by the end of the night, when Michael Ignatieff urges the crowd to “rise up for Canada,” their applause, at first either tentative or non-existent, is as enthusiastic as any partisan’s.
At least that’s what I’m told. It’s actually been weeks since I last managed to squeeze my large — and, thanks to this campaign, expanding — self into the Big Red Tent. There’s room enough for all, it seems, except staff. I blame the fire code. When town hall withdrawal sets in, I have the next best thing: “Michael Ignatieff’s Town Hall for Canada.” Click here to watch it now.
In just a few short hours, at the Montecassino Hotel, Michael Ignatieff will share the stage with “le p’tit gars de Shawinigan,” Jean Chrétien. As always, all are welcome. If you can’t be there in person, join us online: we’ll be live-streaming and live-chatting and doing other live things on Facebook. Join the conversation here.
You can have the authentic Big Red Tent experience from the comfort of your own home. All you need to do is rise up — it’s standing room only in here.
Adam Goldenberg is Michael Ignatieff’s speechwriter. He’ll be on the road with Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal team until election day. Follow him on Twitter @adamgoldenberg. Email him at email@example.com.