Flew Air Canada from Winnipeg to Toronto and got met at the airport by one of the locals. By pure coincidence there was a dinner that evening with the local party and the chairman of the national campaign for the Canadian Conservative Party, and we got to Barrie (around an hours drive from Toronto) dead on 6 pm when it was due to start.
Almost 100 at the dinner, so got to meet pretty much all the locals. Was seated at the top table as compensation for being introduced to everyone at Patrick’s friend from Australia 🙂
The national chair is actually a former party leader – John Reynolds. He was fairly up to date on NZ politics.
I’d been told he would have his assistant with him, and assumed it was the woman pictured below who sat one his right, rather than the reasonably elderly gentleman on the other side.
As it happened the gentleman was his assistant, and in fact had been his politics lecturer when Reynolds was a student! The young lady (who is one of the most stunningly attractive people I have met – photos don’t do her justice) is in fact the MP for Simcoe-Grey, Miss Helena Guergis. Luckily I managed to hide the fact that I thought she was a parliamentary staffer until she was introduced.
Guergis also spoke briefly at the meeting, and is a very good public speaker. A number of people told me that she is a rising star and could well be deputy leader or higher one day. She is already in the shadow cabinet despite only being elected 18 months ago.