by Julie Ireton, CBC Radio
Sept. 4, 2003
It was a flying start to the campaign.
The call came at noon. I was in Ottawa, and the first Liberal stop was at 6:45 p.m., in Kitchener-Waterloo.
After running home and packing, then catching the 3 p.m. flight to
Pearson, I grabbed a shuttle service to Waterlooright at rush hour. But it gave the shuttle driver a mission. He was determined to get me there on time, and to tell me why he thinks Eves is likely to win the election.
As we approached the Waterloo exit off the highway, to my relief we passed the big, red, Liberal busthe other reporters already on board.
After a quick official kickoff, we reporters were taken to a Kitchener-area hotel to file our stories.
Having been very busy all day, we were also very hungry. I missed lunch in all the travel and excitement, so was pleasantly surprised with the soup, salad and choice of filet mignon or salmon delivered to me as I wrote my morning story. I had assumed my only option would be McNuggets.
The bus made it back to Queen's Park around 10 p.m. But by the time I had filed my radio stories over the Internet, working through a variety of technical glitches, it was 1 a.m. when I fell into bed.
Day 2 started at Queen's Park with a group of people from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and cultures, standing on risers in front of the legislature. The firefighters, nurses, teachers, new immigrants, a disabled man and a few Toronto Liberal candidates were there to represent Dalton McGuinty's "everyman."
They clapped and smiled at all the appropriate times, of course.
The Liberal handlers are very organized, and run the events on a tight schedule. The days generally start at about 7:30 a.m. and go until 10 p.m. Thankfully, they offer food and coffee to keep us going.
There are about 10 reporters on the bus. It's well laid out for us to work as we travel. We each have a desk that's equipped with power for our laptops, and a cell phone to make a wireless connection to the Internet.
The second stop of Day 2 was in Vaughn-King-Aurora, part of the much talked about 905 area. It's the suburban, Greater Toronto Area, a key area
for the Liberals. I'm going to see a lot of it on this campaign.
As well, the Liberal team handed out the lyrics to their campaign song. It's a pop-rock jingle composed by a group of guys who produce McDonald's commercials. It's clinging to my brain.
By the start of Day 3, everyone was getting into the routine. We've all spoken for our seats/desks on the buspapers and equipment piled high.
At the back of the bus there's a little kitchenette. There's a microwave, kettle, espresso maker, coffee maker, and two well-stocked fridges.
One of McGuinty's media handlers treated us to smoothies in the afternoonyoghurt, bananas, oranges. Yes, they even have a blender on this bus.
While it sounds a bit like a holiday, it's actually extremely hectic.
We travelled to London, where McGuinty toured a market and spoke to shoppers and shopkeepers. Then we were taken to an evening rally in downtown Toronto. The campaign offices are usually small, hot and completely packed with people.
McGuinty's team has so far been successful at rallying the volunteers with a lot of energy.
McGuinty likes to make jokes about his wife travelling with him. (She's usually in
Ottawa looking after the kids, and teaching school. But now she's spending all her time with him.) He joked that they're not used to spending so much time together, and she's giving him hell for leaving the toilet seat up, and not putting the cap on the toothpaste.
And, at least he didn't call any candidates by the wrong name on Day 3, as he did in Hamilton the night before.
As I think about sleep, the campaign song is still ringing in my ears.