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September 29, 2008

Recommended reading: Liveblogging an Ottawa Centre all-candidates debate

Update Sept 30: Laura Drake points us to some YouTube videos of the debate .... and O'Malley liveblogs again in Ottawa-Orleans

I live in the suburbs now, but I used to live in Centretown. I miss a lot of things about living downtown, and one of them is the eclectic group of candidates to choose from at election time. Whether it's federal, provincial, or municipal, Ottawa Centre residents can always count on lots of interesting people to choose from.

Whether you live in the riding or not, you have to check out Kady O'Malley's liveblog of Sunday night's Ottawa Centre Federal Candidates Forum, titled "Searching for Democracy on a Sunday Night". Here's how it starts:
Greetings from the Churchill Community Centre, y’all! Are you ready for some hot local-candidate-on-candidate debating action? I hope so, because we’ve sacrificed a night of lounging on the couch watching Alan Ball’s surreal take on Southern vampire culture to venture deep into the heart of Westboro Village to cover the latest skirmish in the Battle of Ottawa Centre...

First impressions - which I’ll try to squeeze in before the debate gets underway - the crowd is actually pretty damned impressive for a Sunday night — I don’t think there’s an empty seat in the room. More importantly, most of the people here seem to be actual voters, which is always refreshing to see, although along the opposite wall from where the media have set up camp, there are tables full of propaganda from each of the five campaigns on the scene tonight.

With less than ten minutes to go, the incumbent, Paul Dewar, looks surprisingly relaxed; he’s chatting with supporters who keep flocking to the front of the room. All five candidates seem to be in their seats already - the two women, Liberal Penny Collenette and the Greens’ Jen Hunter sandwiched in between Dewar and his Tory rival, Brian McGarry.

Best of all, from ITQ’s perspective, that is, though, is the fact that not just one but both independents are here. Oh, please let one of them be crazy — or at least eccentric. Is that so much to ask from democracy, really?

Read the entire article...

O'Malley's colleague Paul Wells says that Kady's post is the most-read item on the Maclean's Blog Central site. He writes
"I think there’s simply a lot of interest — in this riding, but also outside it — in what actually happens on the ground during a campaign. Perhaps other bloggers would like to take this hint... I have a hunch that political blogs would be more useful if fewer of them consisted exclusively of Here’s What I Think About This Morning’s Headlines and if more consisted, sometimes, of Here’s What I Saw When Politics Happened Near Me."
Related: Ottawa Election Guide

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