Huron-Bruce needs Liberal candidate Allan Thompson as its MP to get things done in Ottawa, said retired General Romeo Dallaire during a swing through the riding on Thursday.
Thompson introduced Dallaire to a group of friends and campaign supporters who came to the impromptu gathering at the Rabbit Dash coffee shop in Port Elgin.
Dallaire said he got to know and trust Thompson during his days as a Toronto Star reporter and said he has the depth, the integrity and the energy to represent Huron-Bruce.
“You’ve got someone with depth, somebody who can sniff things out, who also knows what door to knock on and how to influence,” Dallaire said.
“You’ve got what we call a force multiplier, you not only get an MP but you get an MP with the smarts to know how to manoeuvre and to get stuff through a system within the party, so he can influence policies and he can influence locally instead of hoping for scraps off the table,” Dallaire said.
“This guy is something special,’’ said Dallaire, who took time before a speaking engagement in Port Elgin to support Thompson’s campaign. Dallaire said Thompson won his trust during his days as a journalist and would serve Huron-Bruce well in Ottawa.
Speaking directly to Thompson, Dallaire said he’d make a great MP. “You’ve got smarts, you’ve got guts, you’re not afraid taking on the big guys, you’ve got a good pen to explain it, credibly and ethically. So this county could actually surge.”
“Allan, you’re a good man. You come from a good family, a good community, good churches and schools and values. And you’ve never wavered, even though you’ve gone through some pretty tough times as a journalist in the past. And that has gained my respect, and that of many others.”
“Allan gives this riding a step up from somebody who is interested and is there, but who is really satisfied in being a back-bencher. There’s no way in hell Allan will let the party make him a back-bencher,” Dallaire joked.
“I’ve had the pleasure of introducing Romeo at a number of events and I always describe him as my favourite, living Canadian – after my Mom of course,” Thompson said. As a journalist, Thompson travelled to Rwanda with Romeo Dallaire in 2004 for the general’s first trip back since the 1994 genocide.
“It was remarkable for me to be there and to see you in that context. It takes a lot of courage to go back to places like that. Since then you’ve been going forward in your life. It has been such a thrill in the last few years, seeing you from time to time and now just to see you going forward living your life and enjoying your life.”
Dallaire said he always enjoyed his interactions with Thompson during his reporting days. “We built confidence in each other. I enjoyed very much being grilled and held accountable. It was done fairly.”
“We grew the kind of relationship you want to have when you trust somebody. He’s been able to establish that kind of relationship with me and with others,” he said.
Dallaire came to Huron-Bruce in 2015 to support Thompson’s first bid for office. “When he decided to go into politics, it wasn’t so much a surprise because he’d been in the Ottawa press gang, on the outside and on the inside,” Dallaire said.
Dallaire said that as a journalist on Parliament Hill for a decade, Thompson gained the kind of experience that would serve Huron-Bruce well and has the tools and credentials for the job.
“Journalists gain a lot of insight into the political elite and the political functioning and the government functioning of our country. If you’re picking up somebody with that background, you’re not picking up an amateur,” Dallaire said.
“The only problem we’ll have with him is how to stop him. I used to be called the energizer bunny, but I think he gives me a real run for my money,” Dallaire joked.
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