The concept of the selection of a new leader of a political party through the melding of the ancient idea of a travelling circus with the modern idea of political conventions, is simply brilliant!
We have a very, very large country, with candidates for leadership forced to travel large distances to reach party members so that they can press the flesh with them.
The travelling circus primary the Liberal Renewal plan advocates makes a virtue out of a necessity. It will mean candidates criss cross Canada, going to where the people are, holding debates across the breadth of the country, and then having an online preferential vote taking place.
The circus has a long history, and recent developments in Canada have taken the travelling circus to a whole new level.
We may have the problem of an over-crowded stage, depending on how many candidates we end up with (my best guess is around 15 candidates, including, perhaps The Cat) – the NDP has 9 aspirant leaders so far, with perhaps Pat Martin throwing his hat into the ring very soon.
One way to trim the numbers is to use the traditional circus ring, which is usually 42 feet in diameter – a dimension adopted by Philip Astley because it was just the right size to allow a rider to stand upright on his horse while it cantered around the ring, so that he could perform his acrobatic leaps and bounds on top of the horse.
So we could throw the race open to candidates, but stop the enrolment process as soon as we could not physically squeeze any more candidates into a circus ring of traditional size. Just an idea ...
We could also adopt the idea of The Big Top from the old time circuses: use a large, red Liberal tent to hold candidate debates. Use conventional halls by all means, but send out four or five Liberal Big Tops to travel to the smaller cities or the suburbs of larger cities for the debates. Make sure the sound systems are good, and that the debates are televised. Imagine the scene – hundreds of lucky winners of seats in a ticket draw crowd into The Big Top, to be entertained by bands and music and comedians, before the real show – the debate – begins. And hundreds of thousands of Canadians tuning in to listen to the debates ...
Drooling yet, Party Brass? If not, please report to Dr. Pavlov for some more treatment ...
In 1768 Philip Astley started the first traveling circus in England, using trick horses in the circus ring:
When Astley added tumblers, tightrope-walkers, jugglers, performing dogs, and a clown to fill time between his own demonstrations, he created a modern circus.
The allure spread. Even Lenin, that masterful plotter of revolutions, wanted one for Russia!
And, of course, we Canadians refined the art of circuses into an art form, with the invention of our very own Circus of the Sun:
Cirque du Soleil (English: "Circus of the Sun", English pronunciation: /ˈsɪərk duː soʊˈleɪ/), is a Canadian entertainment company, self-described as a "dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment." Based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, it was founded in Baie-Saint-Paul in 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Daniel Gauthier...
Cirque expanded rapidly through the 1990s and 2000s, going from one show to 19 shows in over 271 cities on every continent except Antarctica... The multiple permanent Las Vegas shows alone play to more than 9,000 people a night, 5% of the city's visitors, adding to the 90 million people who have experienced Cirque worldwide.
Perhaps we should ask the Cirque for some advice on how to run the Liberal Travelling Circus Primary?
And perhaps we could ask our Party Brass, lead by the new Party President, to take a leaf from the Cirque with respect to marketing methods?:
Now that I would like to see.
Gilles Ste-Croix, dressed in a monkey suit, walked through downtown Toronto as a desperate publicity stunt.