Loftus Cuddy is the little-known older brother of Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and the virtually unknown Conservative candidate in his brother's high-profile riding of Toronto-Danforth, where incumbent Liberal MP Dennis Mills is fighting NDP Leader Jack Layton for the seat.
While Mr. Layton can claim the Barenaked Ladies' lead singer, Steven Page, as a staunch supporter (he also lives in this artsy riding) and Mr. Mills can boast that he brought the Rolling Stones to town, Loftus Cuddy cannot count on the star power of his brother. And it's not like the brothers don't get along -- Jim went to Loftus's nomination meeting and donated to his campaign -- it's just that they don't agree on politics.
"I'm a musician. My leanings have always been left," Jim said yesterday. Still, he says he's pleased that his brother is part of the process. Loftus, a lawyer, is comfortable with his more famous brother's decision not to get involved.
Loftus, baptized John (he changed his name when he was 13 after becoming inspired by the writings of a great-great grandfather), is new to politics, having joined the Tories after the merger. He said he decided to run because he was frustrated with living in a "one-party, one-man state."
As for his chances? Loftus says that running against such well-known politicians gives him a chance to "get the message out," but you won't be seeing him and Stephen Harper jamming on stage with Blue Rodeo to Rose-Coloured Glasses or Lost Together.
The funniest Liberal Scott They are both named Scott, they are 36 years old and they both answer when someone asks to speak to the "funny Scott."
Scott Reid is a senior strategist in the PMO while Scott Feschuk is the Martin speech writer and a former journalist (more about that later) and they are on the campaign plane minding reporters.
Yesterday, the two Scotts decided to have some fun with the Liberal Leader's peccadilloes (i.e. he dithers, Liberal fortunes are down in the West despite his pledge to win more seats west of Ontario, and the party isn't exactly one happy family). With that in mind, they presented reporters with a Lettermanesque top-10 list.
Herewith is the Scottx2 top-10 rejected names for the Liberal campaign plane: 10. The most important campaign plane ever; 9. Air Force fun; 8. Jets-doh! 7. Dither-air; 6. Still pretty much screwed in the West-Jet; 5. Enola Gay marriage; 4. Not-so-united Air; 3. The Guité Goose (as in Chuck Guité, the former bureaucrat who was recently charged in the sponsorship scandal); 2. Majorit-aire; 1. Earnscliffe Research and Communications.
Don't smile, Mr. Martin The Martin team likes to think outside the box and that's what it was doing when it hired Mr. Feschuk to write the Liberal Leader's speeches. During his journalistic career, Mr. Feschuk has not always been kind to Mr. Martin. Last September, he wrote: "No one in Canadian politics has a fake smile that looks nearly as fake as Paul Martin's fake smile. Even at the best of times, when Martin is refreshed and revitalized, his fake smile leads one to assume that Martin's foot is being stepped on by an antelope."
Hot and not: Not: The Liberal slogan in Quebec d roit devant, or "straight ahead," is the same as that of Mr. Martin's former company, Canada Steamship Lines. Oops. Reported in Le Devoir yesterday, the newspaper says Liberal campaign spokesman Steven MacKinnon called a Le Devoir manager to say that if the story got out, it could damage their campaign.
Not: Mr. Martin's Montreal campaign office for missing the memo about the election call. Mr. Martin doesn't have a working phone at his campaign headquarters in LaSalle-Émard. It's to be installed tomorrow.
Hot: Focus groups. The joke is that the Liberal Leader can't order lunch without having his choice first tested by a focus group. Not surprising then that yesterday's health-care package was put through some vigorous testing. During a conference call with Liberal candidates yesterday morning, Mr. Martin's chief of staff, Tim Murphy, repeatedly said that the health-care platform "tested well."
"This tests well," he kept saying, causing at least one listener to become nervous about the faith the campaign team has in the new plan.
Not: Negative-option political signage. The Tory candidate in Mississauga East-Cooksville, Rina DeFaria, has come up with a bold way of making her presence known. She and her workers go back to homeowners who have taken Tory signs in past campaigns and hammer her signs into their lawns. Ms. DeFaria then leaves a note in their mailbox: "Sorry we missed you. Our records show that you have taken a lawn sign in the past and we hope to have your support again this election. If we have made a mistake in placing a lawn sign on your lawn, please contact our campaign office and we will send someone to pick it up as soon as possible." Right.