Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Everything I Wanted to Learn from Scott Brison But Was too Afraid to Ask

On June 3, Liberal MP Scott Brison, was the guest speaker at a Townhall meeting in Kingston, Ontario.

I had been looking forward to the event for weeks, studying his resume and creating what I thought would be intelligent questions, that I could present to the Critic for International Trade.

I was going to get a picture with him to post on my facebook, and give a glowing report of our exchange of ideas.

But when the big day finally arrived, I started having second thoughts, and developed a case of nerves.

What was wrong with me? I've never been one to be star struck. I once bumped into Dan Ackroyd, literally, and after an exchange of pleasantries and demands for the name of my lawyer, he asked if I would like an autograph.

I replied; "No thank you." He chuckled and walked away, while I banged myself on the forehead "Idiot, idiot, idiot." Why didn't I take the damn autograph? I could have thrown it in the trash or given it to someone. I like Dan Ackroyd, but autograph seeking has never been my thing.

However, with Mr. Brison it was different. He is smart and I have always been intimidated by smart. What if I asked my question and he realized that I was a fraud? What if he demanded I return my recently acquired Liberal membership card, and cut it up in front of me?

But after a bit of soul searching and a lot of booze (kidding, I don't drink, but really wish I did at that point), I mustered up my courage and headed for the local City Hall.

Making my way through the coiffed and well dressed crowd, I plonked down in the front row, tucked my $20.00 Payless shoes under the seat and carefully placed my notebook over the stain on my pants, determined not to be thrown off by anything.

Mr. Brison finally arrived, only very fashionably late (the day's session didn't end until 4:30 and he had to be in Kingston by 7), and I was immediately impressed with his warmth. Rather than taking his seat at the table where a microphone was placed, he grabbed the mike and stood facing the crowd, as he gave a short speech.

He then opened the floor to questions, and I could feel my hand wanting to go up, but for some reason, it refused to move.

Fortunately a gentleman on the other side of the room arose and after citing facts and figures, posed an intelligent query on what Canada's position would be on whatever those facts and figures were.

Through glazed eyes, I looked down at my notebook and realized that 'boxers or briefs' just wasn't going to cut it.

The rest of the evening continued in much the same way. People cited their visits to Africa and South America; their studies and their life experiences and Mr. Brison was spot on in his answers, never faltering.

He joked and inspired, and the audience was captivated. I just sat on my hands and pretended to be invisible.

At one point, when he was discussing a program, whereby the brightest university students would be given an opportunity to work abroad for a year in a mentoring program, I wanted to ask 'but wouldn't that mean they were just visiting'? But I didn't. At least I assume I didn't, because he had already moved on to another topic.

So I continued to sit on my hands, deciding to wait for the promised 'meet and greet', that would take place when the formal question period was over.

I dutifully stood in line, got my camera out of my purse, accidentally snapped a picture of my foot, and charged out the front door.

Later, however, I found an opportunity to finally engage him in conversation. I was waiting for my ride when he and his aid came out the front door. Standing in the shadows, I finally found my voice and blurted out 'Bye', perhaps a little louder than I intended.

The poor guy jumped about three feet, but when he realized that I wasn't armed, graciously extended his hand. I may or may not have said something else, but I doubt it.

As Mr. Brison finally drove away, I banged myself on the forehead "Idiot, idiot, idiot."

More Postings on Scott Brison:

1. Are Gay Politicians Cool Now? I Love This Story.


  1. Emily, you are so brave. You are being too hard on yourself I think. Your work is useful and important to Canadians. I am rooting for you.

  2. Emily,I hope all your self-doubts have flown the coop!There is absolutely no need for them.Give your head a shake & verbalize your thoughts.
    Keep up the excellent exposes,but don't be afraid to take a break.

  3. I'm not nearly as timid as I used to be and found that I can actually talk to people.

    I have been researching the Reform movement for about three years so much of my writing comes from that. It keeps me out of trouble.

    When Michael Ignatieff is Prime Minister I will take a break ... maybe.