Entries from July 2005 ↓

Welcome back

So, the deal closed yesterday afternoon, and we went to my lawyer’s quaint little office on the main street of Milton to pick up the key for our new house. Then Dorothy, Cheka and I drove to Campbellville, exactly one exit down the 401, and into the driveway.

Now, this may make me sound like a real estate flake, but since the last time I was an MP (1993), I have bought, lived in and sold nine houses. The day after that last election, I had two houses in two cities (Ottawa and Georgetown), but a new job in another city (London). Then I was transferred back to Toronto, returned to London for a year, then moved to Toronto (two houses) and Caledon (two more). It all means I have enough experience walking into new digs to know how much work lies ahead.

So, yesterday was great. The former owners left the place immaculate, right down to having the lawns cuts and gardens pruned. There were a couple of impressive bottles of wine on the kitchen counter, and a pleasing note. A real class act, we thought.

As arranged, Danny the floor guy showed up, and with his helper they demolished the fuzzy, chocolate brown plush carpeting in the living and dining rooms. Then they hauled in the wood flooring that will replace it, leaving it in the house to get acclimatized over the weekend. Everything went pretty well as planned, and we hope to get enough stuff moved in by the end of next week to at least camp out.

Our dilemma is, of course, that we still have our existing property just outside of Belfountain to sell. There has been a lot of interest – five showings last week, and a bunch more this weekend – but the pressures of my Halton campaign made me come to the decision we had to close on the Campbellville property now, without waiting for the old place to find a buyer. It’s all somewhat inconvenient – it would be unwise to denude our existing house of furniture, since that would not exactly help it to sell. But at the same time, I’ve got to move my base of operations south. But, hey, we’ll figure it out. Still the right thing to do.

This morning we went and bought a mess of paint, figuring the best time to lighten the place up is before the new floor goes down. Dorothy is an ace painter who even has a favourite brush size (“Make sure it’s a two-incher,” she calls from the truck as I trundle into Home Hardware).

There is something very satisfying about picking up a roller, changing a wall or a room, making something reflect your own tastes. I haven’t done enough of this in the past few years, with all the traveling I have done giving financial seminars and doing TV production. The Campbellville house, we believe, will be a long-term hold, and a place to enjoy with all our friends in the area. Since 1993 I have been too much of a rolling stone, cross-crossing the country every few weeks. And in the last five years my focus has been on starting up some new companies and then acquiring commercial real estate. Home, as most people know it, took a back seat.

So, already there is a sense of impending permanence in these walls. We are back into an area that gave us great times a decade and a half ago. We are now in the center of this riding that I intend on winning for the Conservatives, and where I will once again enjoy the unique job of being a Member of Parliament. The stars are lining up, even if I am now carrying the mortgage debt of a small country!

So, in the Home Hardware, it was cool. A guy I did not know came up and said, “Mr. Turner, welcome back.”

Grewal

An email to share with you:

I certainly wish that the Conservative Party would make a statement clearly regarding this newly released issue. At present the media is defining the priorities of this situation, and insinuating that Mr. Harper is not a Leader.

If you review news.google.ca, you’ll see how the story is being treated by all the various national (and international) media. It is understood that there will be a caucus meeting soon with this on the agenda, but the slant the media places on this today is damaging.

Predictably, the story had become Mr. Grewal and Mr. Harper instead of the (repeated) unethical behaviour of the Liberals. Without a strong, clear statement from the Party, the media is filling in all the blanks. Hopefully the caucus and the RCMP and the Ethics Commissioner will put this to rest to the satisfaction of voters, and the Liberals will be exposed.

The fact that “some Conservative MPs are quietly” questioning this is not helpful at all to the Party and all its loyal members. The media is still allowed to insinuate that Mr. Grewal is under investigation for other things, even though he has been cleared of the “other” allegations. The smear is so far successful.

Ann Dempster
Toronto (St.Paul’s riding)

Closing day

Another good night. We hit an area in north Oakville not far above the Queen E., which has quite a diversity of housing. In one end of the poll the homes are skinny, the lawns parched brown and the walkways made up of cracked concrete patio stones. In the other end, the homes are really substantial, the gardens immaculate and driveways have been paved with acres of those expensive Brussels blocks stones.

Esther, my campaign manager, was with me, trucking along in her designer sandals. She’d take one side of the street and I the other, with her calling me over whenever somebody wanted to talk. I knocked on one door around 9 pm, and was immediately whisked inside, through the living room and onto the back deck, where a dinner party was in full swing. These folks were great – sticking a glass of red wine in my hand – and then sending me off with buoyed spirits.

Maybe they’re all just not home, but I am having a hard time finding many Liberals. Esther told me she stumbled across one last night – which is about normal on these nocturnal sojourns of ours.

It’s been a busy week, which has seen me neglect the blog too much. On Wednesday night we held a fundraising barbeque at a country inn north of Milton, which went exceedingly well. The star was Peter Appleyard, the internationally famous vibes player, who came out to entertain the troops with a fabulous keyboardist who drove in from St. Catharines. The effort was really appreciated, since Peter had just returned from a gig in Britain the day before. The man is a cultural icon, and most people do not know he lives on a farm in the north end of the riding – up in Nassagaweya.

And today is another big day for Dorothy and I, since we close on our new home 15 kilometers down from Peter’s place, in Campbellville. As I wrote here previously, I made the commitment during the nomination campaign to move into the riding if selected. So, I am. It’s not the smartest financial move in the world, since we now own two substantial houses 30 minutes apart, one in Campbellville, and the other in Caledon. Of course, the Caledon property is on the market, but there’s no guarantee it will sell quickly. Meanwhile I have a nice, big mortgage – variable rate, of course.

The plain fact is, however, that the move south is completely necessary. I am spending too long every day commuting into Oakville and Burlington to do my canvassing , meet with stakeholders and do everything else this campaign requires. It is my intention to win the election before the writ is even dropped, and to do that not one hour can be wasted.

Esther sent me one of her rah-rah emails this morning, She said: “325,000 hits to blog. 1,000 doors knocked. 5 newspapers covering photo ops. 3 editions of Voter’s Guide. 1 visit from party leader 1 successful fundraising event. 5 events attended. ???? emails from campaign manager. 3 days left in July. Come on, Garth – get the lead out!!”.

Gotta go. It’s closing day.