Here’s how to get a selfie with the Minister of Environment while wearing a death metal t-shirt

Vancouver's Stupidest Politics Column


What would you do if you were the author of a politics column and, as you were peacefully enjoying a beer to yourself at a local brewery, a political fundraiser sprung up around you?

If you’re this guy [points both thumbs towards chest] you’d see how long you could go before getting kicked out.

It was 5:15 pm yesterday when I sauntered over to Big Rock Brewing. It’s located literally 200 feet from our newsroom in Mount Pleasant.

I had no prior knowledge that something political would be happening there and was simply interested in enjoying a beverage after a long day.

Upon my arrival the sandwich board outside told me that a private event was to occur at 6:00 pm, so I figured I’d have time to read a couple articles from the magazine I brought (the latest issue of Maclean’s, if you must know) before being asked to leave.

Just before 6:00 I realized what the event was. It was a fundraiser for the Liberal Party of Canada’s candidate that they’re running in the riding. I knew this because they started hanging up large signs that read TEAM TRUDEAU, with a guy’s name that I recognized underneath. One of those signs shrouded my view out the window.

Sometimes you just want to quietly enjoy a beer at a local brewery. Photo Bob Kronbauer

Nobody asked me to leave when the event began, so I continued to sit at the table I had been at since I arrived, sipping on an IPA.

I was then joined at my table by a nice couple from the West Side who recently moved into the riding and were very excited about helping get the Liberal candidate elected. One of them had a TEAM TRUDEAU scarf which they kept under the table as opposed to around their neck for some reason.

I told the couple I worked at a publication located next door, that I didn’t belong at the event but wanted to see how long I could stay until they asked me to leave. I figured that moment would come as soon as the political staffers I know (and whom I began to recognize filing in) spotted me.

And naturally I did what most people would (not) do in this situation; I started a Twitter thread about my experience, offering a play-by-play of the strange situation I had gotten myself into.

When the Minister of Environment and Climate Change entered the room I wondered how difficult it would be to get a selfie with a high-ranking caucus member of the most selfie-friendly political party in Canadian history.

It wasn’t at all difficult.

I walked up to her, asked for a selfie and it was done.

Oh, and I had to smile and make it look like I was happy to get a photograph with this politician.

I mean I actually was happy, but not for the reasons most people who would get this photo of themselves would be.

I was happy because I was wearing my Gross Misconduct death metal t-shirt, and lately I’ve been sending the band members photos of myself wearing it in Disney World and other places. I figured they’d get a laugh out of seeing it in a photo with a government minister. And maybe it would get me kicked out of this place once and for all.

They did laugh when I texted it to them. And I didn’t get kicked out for being a fraud in a room otherwise full of partisan supporters.

Catherine McKenna poses for a selfie with Bob Kronbauer, who accidentally crashed a Liberal Party of Canada fundraiser. Photo Bob Kronbauer’s Blackberry

I tweeted the photo out and tagged McKenna, and her Director of Communications immediately followed me on Twitter. She waved from across the room, “Hello!” and I smiled and waved back semi-nervously.

McKenna then made her way to the front of the room and delivered a speech to the Liberal  supporters (and me) about why she thinks Taleeb Noormohamed should be the next MP of the Vancouver-Granville riding. She also ran through a bunch of talking points about climate change and everything you’d expect her to say.

Surprisingly there was no mention of SNC-Lavalin or the ethics commissioner.

Then they passed around a hat for people to drop cash donations into.

Now, if the name Taleeb Noormohamed sounds familiar it’s because he was hoping to run as the mayoral candidate for Vision Vancouver in the last municipal election. He dropped out of their leadership race after suffering a “sudden cardiac event“. Noormohamed also ran in the federal election in 2011 as a Liberal candidate in the North Vancouver riding, losing to the Conservative candidate there.

Suffice it to say the party thinks he’s got the chops to defeat now-independent incumbent MP Jody Wilson-Raybould in the Vancouver-Granville riding.

Taleeb Noormohamed. Photo Dan Toulgoet

That riding is (not-coincidentally) where I crashed this party, it’s where the V.I.A. office is, and it’s where I live. In the coming months I’ll introduce you to all of the candidates who are running here, as well as candidates running in the other ridings in Vancouver.

Vancouver-Granville is going to be one of the most interesting races in Canada leading up to October 21st, because of the Jody Wilson-Raybould saga that continues to play out.

In the last election the NDP took 27% of the vote in this riding, the Conservatives 26% and the Liberals’ Wilson-Raybould won it with 44%. The Greens garnered a mere 3%, and it remains to be see what affect Wilson-Raybould running as an independent will have on the outcome.

I’ll make a not-too-bold prediction that as an independent she’s got about as much of a chance of winning as the Marxist-Leninist candidate does, but it’s possible that she’ll shave just enough votes from the Liberals so that either the Conservative or NDP candidate could take the riding.

Oh, and they never sent me packing like a WIlson-Raybould from their event. I even managed to get a promise from Noormohamed that he’ll give me an interview leading up to the election.

I should probably wear my Gross Misconduct death metal t-shirt more often.



This is Vancouver’s Stupidest Politics Column. Read the archives HERE and follow @BobKronbauer on Twitter if you want play-by-play of political fundraisers being crashed.