Liberal "protester" at Jack Layton appearance not just another face in the crowd
Posted by Joanna Smith, Ottawa Bureau
As the New Democrat campaign bus pulled up at the East Coast Music Awards in Charlottetown, P.E.I. on Friday afternoon, media on the bus noticed a guy holding up a sign for Sean Casey, the Liberal candidate in running to replace retired Liberal MP Shawn Murphy in the Charlottetown riding. The NDP candidate is Joe Byrne and te Conservative is Donna Profit.
"Look, it's a Liberal protester!" someone on the bus joked, for it would be hard to describe the quiet, slightly dishevelled man in shades and a white baseball cap standing alone in the corner as a demonstration. "Maybe it's Sean Casey?"
As I soon discovered on Twitter while trying to find out whether anyone at the East Coast Music Awards had noticed NDP Leader Jack Layton was there, the lone protester ended up being none other than Ashley MacIsaac, the renowned and colourful fiddler from Cape Breton, N.S.
A couple of my reporter colleagues managed to catch up with him later and learned that while he had some nice things to say about Layton, including that some of his favourite MPs belong to the NDP, he is a Liberal supporter. One of his songs, Wingstock, has even been playing at campaign rallies for Michael Ignatieff.
Later on in Seven Mile Bay, P.E.I., Layton was asked about MacIsaac.
"The last thing I’ll do is comment on Ashley MacIsaac. I’ve shared stages with him and he’s a character, that’s for sure and a fun guy and I love him when he’s got his fiddle on the go," Layton said, adding that he performed for a fundraiser Layton was part of years ago in Toronto.
"I’ve got a special place in my heart for him. Sorry I didn’t get to bump into him and talk to him while he was there," said Layton.
Had Layton been paying closer attention to the man carrying the Liberal sign as he made his way into the hotel hosting the awards, he might have realized that he very nearly did bump into him.