No other place he needed to be
Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | 02:21 PM ET
Mike Rossiter filed this note this afternoon, from the Liberal campaign bus:
It's the third day of the third week of the campaign and Gerry Reid seems to be in good spirits. The Liberal leader was totally thrown for a loop on Monday night when he got word that Gerry Tobin, the candidate in Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans, had passed away.
The Liberal camp, which had just had a large, boisterous rally, met well into the night to absorb the news, and to figure out a game plan. By Tuesday morning, it was decided that the big red bus was going to drive straight to Grand Falls. No stopping, no campaigning... just driving.
The Liberals campaign, which had been in Marystown, had planned a full day of travel around the Burin Peninsula and then to the south coast by helicopter. These are two areas that Reid likes to mention when he talks about the fishery and rural areas of the province. As well, the Liberals feel they have a very, good shot at one of these districts (Fortune Bay - Cape La Hune)
Well, those plans went out the window. It's a long drive from Marystown to Grand Falls-Windsor, and it took most of the day. The bus pulled out around 10 a.m., passed through district after district, and arrived in central Newfoundland around 4:30 p.m.
Reid held a meeting at Tobin's former headquarters, which was in a non-descript building in the middle of town. About 20 campaign workers and local union reps showed up as a sign of support.
It was a closed-door meeting, but I could clearly see what was going on inside. One man walked in with a Tobin sign in his hand. "I'm here to return my sign, I guess," he said. People were at a loss for words to describe what happened.
In the back of the building, I could see where the signs and banners were stacked. In fact, by Tuesday evening, you couldn't help but notice that in Grand Falls, the only hint of Liberal red was on the campaign bus that just rolled into town. Every single Gerry Tobin sign and banner was taken down within hours.
There were no votes to wrangle, no hands to shake, no news conference with a shot at Danny Williams.
But with days left in the election campaign, there was no other place in the province that Gerry Reid felt he needed to be.