The last two days were the wildest nomination signatures effort of my political career. Got in under the wire with 4 minutes to spare. I thought I had 1!!
I was hoping the have all my signatures done on Friday so I could attend Ray's Triple Appeals in Quebec's highest court on Monday. Biggest and funniest in the highest! What a show!
I was hoping to have a bunch of Gold Stars waving 150-gram bags of herb to draw people to a table where I could sign them up. But my main draw was too sick to come and only
I can guess Wayne had the time of his life. He'd never done anything like accosting people in the street to sign for something but was so exhilarated at the response, especially from the nice women, that he spent too much time chatting with them and only got 25 signatures his first time out. .
By 3pm, I knew we wouldn't make the 4pm closing of the Returning Office on Sundays so we got another hour of signatures before calling it quits with 95. Incredibly, 9/10 weren't residents!I'd have to skip my biggest show in Quebec's highest court. Would have been nice to see the reaction of the 40 lawyers in the room after brain-slapping 5 judges below in silly errors.
I got back Sunday around 11am, thinking it wouldn't take too long to get the last 20 or 30 I'd want to feel comfortable to cover for dummies who don't know what riding they live in. I don't know the streets so there are often some bad ones.
I made an incredibly almost-fatal error. I'd remembered that 420 Bathurst was 4 blocks down the street from College Ave and about 1:40, I started walking down toward the Returning Office. Then I noticed that the numbers had started going up, not down. Shit! Senior Moment! I'd been walking down College St., not Bathurst and was 5 blocks away from Bathurst with another 4 blocks down to the Office.
So I started running, realized I'd never make it, saw a young guy waiting at a red with his passenger window half open, ran up, said I'd gone in the wrong direction and could he give me a lift up to Bathurst. He immediately rolled up his window.
I took off running but knew I couldn't make it. I saw this young Asian guy smiling at the sight of a grey-hair in a suit running like a maniac, ran over, indicated he roll his window won, he did, I explained how I had to get up to Bathurst in minutes, he said hop in and raced down to Bathurst, took the left down to the R.O. and got me there at 1:58! I screamed thanks and raced out and around the building and inside the door. There was a huge reception counter and I jumped on it, lay on my back and screamed: "I made it! I'm in!"
Funny thing, a big crowd of workers and people and they all gave a great cheer and laugh as I chortled over my luck and the Good Samaritan. Lesley Singer, the Returning Officer, came out and said: Oh John, it's only 1:56, you still had 4 minutes."
Lesley Singer had been the Returning Officer when I ran in the Spadina federal byelection in 1981. That was memorable for the big fight during a debate where a moderator who wouldn't let me answer a question too was flipped off the stage after he'd pushed me off once first! And for the presence of 2 Rhinoceros Party candidates (they wanted to split the vote) when there was no rule that said a party could not present two candidates!
Lesley could tell people that Canada's longest-running candidate was with Canada's longest-serving Returning Officer too! She said she'd called Ottawa at 1:50 to report I hadn't yet shown up so when she heard the whoop of victory, she must have guessed I had arrived.
What a day. And I'm going to take the time to hold a little church and pray that Asian Good Samaritan who made it all possible a decade's worth of Eight (Good Luck) while asking God to take the decade's worth from the prick who wouldn't help an old guy in a suit in seeming distress. And boy, was I distressed at the thought of hoofing it the last 8 blocks in 6 minutes. Could have done it in 4 minutes in my youth but better odds on begging for a ride.
So the third Hat-Trick of my election career was recorded. Registered in #80 the Provincial General Election in Brant, #81 the Brantford Mayoral Election, and #82 the Trinity-Spadina Federal Byelection.
But #82 was the closest under the wire of all. I've had 15 minutes before, but never 4 (thinking 1)!
And it's the right arena to be talking about Repeal!!! Could that have blown a grand opportunity to get the Gold Star Message out! I can't believe my luck. Then again, I've got a lot of angels rooting for me in Heaven. Don't remember not being lucky whenever it really counted.
And Gold Star Wayne Phillips stood in to become my Official Agent for Laurence who was too sick to sign.