It’s six in the morning on Friday, Sept. 8 and I’m supposed to be covering the New Democratic Party convention. I stumble across my appartment, throw a bunch of clothes into my manpurse and leave. As we’re driving out on highway 40, a radio DJ is making fun of us – “So, the NDP Party of Quebec has called for the abolition of the monarchy in Canada, this debate has been going on for. hey wait. there’s an NDP in Quebec? Really? God, what do they do?” We make fun of the fact that he said, “NDP Party” and vow to privatize the CBC.
I joined the NDP two years ago during the election in British Columbia because it is the only party in Canadian politics that didn’t seem terrible. It is mostly free of corruption, supports my values and won’t, if given the chance, dismantle Canada. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with the party, for example, the decision to hold the conference in the stronghold of separatism, a city as friendly to the NDP as Calgary, was not wise. Being in Quebec City for the NDP convention reminds me of when I was in New York for the 2004 Republican convention. At least New Yorkers were polite enough to demonstrate against them; I’m thinking we’d be lucky to get a mention from the French language press.
Our planning for the convention is, so far, a disaster. One of our travel companions, Political Science Student Association President Brian Lane, had to work and couldn’t come. We did not register in time for accommodations and we are sure that by now every cheap room is booked. My press pass hasn’t come through, I’m simply trusting that my editor’s frantic plea to a frazzled bureaucrat from Ottawa has worked.
I’m traveling with my brother David, an eccentric McGill grad student in his ’97 Volkswagen Jetta. The car smells like the inside of a dead elephant, the result, David says, of a night of free alcohol at the grad lounge. We arrive late, David gets dressed outside of the car while blasting The Pixies, on a residential street near the convention centre. He had forgotten the delegate forms so he had to argue for a few minutes with the bushy-tailed parliamentary secretaries. I finally got my press pass for The Concordian, and was handed over to a press attach