It was an offer I couldn't refuse. NDP leadership candidate Paul Dewar was making a stop at the Brass Taps in the University Centre at the University of Guelph. I assumed that this would be a hot ticket, not as an indication of the popularity of Dewar as future leader of the Official Opposition, but because Guelph, as a political animal, usually loves this kind of attention.
Or at least, I thought it did.
The atmosphere at the Brass Taps was surprisingly chill. By 4:30, the time that Dewar was supposed to arrive, there was no sign of any political groups, no politicos like me, and no newsies just there for the story. The student population in bar was also practically non-existent, either because it was between the lunch and dinner rush, or it was Valentine's Day and there are more romantic eating locals.
I put in the better part of 90 minutes waiting for Paul Dewar to arrive. By 5:30 there was still no Dewar, and although I did see several key local NDP operatives hovering nearby, there was no sign that Dewar was going to join us in the immediate future. I know that on the long list of potential next leaders of the NDP that Dewar doesn't make the medal round, but an hour late and still no Dewar! Where were the fans? Where was the press? Where was Dewar?
As I sat in the Brass Taps, politely declining to order drinks and meals from the wait staff, I was struck by some thoughts. Is Guelph no longer the bastion of the so-called "looney left" it once was? Has recent developments in the city dragged us too far to the centre? If Dewar gets so limp a reaction is it less likely that NDP bigwigs in the future will make Guelph a pit stop?
Or maybe he was just running late... Who knows?