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The crew from the Cable Public Affairs Channel (CPAC) that saw Stephen Harper famously kick a chair this weekend, say he gave it such a good, swift boot that it flew about five feet across the floor.

What caused this angry outburst remains a mystery, although it has fuelled delicious speculation about a Chrétien/Martin-like rift between Mr. Harper and his deputy, Peter MacKay.

There are theories that the incident was provoked by Mr. MacKay's public attack on Tory MP Scott Reid's effort to undo one of the key Progressive Conservative/Alliance merger provisions.

Speculation is that Mr. Harper kicked the chair after it was suggested he add a line to his speech to reach out to Mr. MacKay, or face a drop in support on his leadership vote.

While none of the theories have been confirmed, there were eyewitness accounts of the chair-kicking. Here's what happened: Mr. Harper had just come backstage at the huge convention hall after an afternoon walk-through of his Friday night speech extravaganza.

His family had gone ahead, when he stopped to have an animated discussion with his press attaché, Carolyn Stewart-Olson. Pointing his finger in her face as he talked to her, he then kicked the chair and it went flying.

All this was witnessed by the CPAC crew, taking a break behind the stage.

When asked about the incident on CTV's Question Period yesterday, Mr. Harper joked he had also kicked some balloons on the convention stage.

Ms. Stewart-Olson is not talking either. "You will have to forever live in questioning wonderment," she said yesterday. Huh?

Tough crowdWe told you the story of Liberal Scott Reid, Prime Minister Paul Martin's director of communications, who was roughed up by an elderly Tory delegate who hit him with his cane as he was registering as a convention observer. But the rough housing didn't end there.

Mr. Reid, who is often seen on television sparring with Tories, was accosted by another male Tory, who grabbed him and said: "I'll make you cry, you . . . We're coming for you."

Later, the national director of the Young Liberals, Denise Brunsdon, was left with a bleeding and broken nail after some Tory youth tried to grab Grit buttons from her purse. When she told a Harper aide that she needed "medical attention," the aide said, "You Liberals and your spin. You're not bleeding." She showed him her bloody nail. "He was like, 'Oh,' " she said.

The Tories voted down creating a youth wing.

No wonder, they're so rough.

Tory golden couple Peter MacKay and Belinda Stronach actually made a public appearance together during the convention.

They arrived together, with their various entourages, at Mr. MacKay's party Saturday night at a Montreal bar. (The two try to keep their private and professional lives separate.)

While Mr. MacKay's party was packed, it was not nearly as glamorous as the one held by Ms. Stronach on Friday night. Canadian singer Tom Cochrane performed at the swank, Manhattan-esque venue where the ice cubes in the martinis glowed Tory blue and the food, much of it on skewers, was plentiful. The MacStronachs are each rumoured to be after the party leadership.

Hot and not Hot: The teleprompter. Mr. Harper used a teleprompter, very successfully, for the first time for his big speech Friday night. He liked it so much that he wondered aloud to his strategists at a meeting Saturday morning whether it would be available for his wrap-up speech later that afternoon. His aides made sure it was.

Not: Elsie Wayne. The former Tory MP from New Brunswick was booed for saying party members are not in favour of "killing babies" during a debate on abortion. Mrs. Wayne lost as Tories supported a resolution not to bring in abortion legislation if they form the government.

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