Hmm. No time to tell …
Re CBC TV’s Behind-The-Scenes Mastermind (Obituaries, Sept. 11): The first time I met Arnold Amber was in the fall of 1989, when he made his way to the federal office of the New Democratic Party. The NDP was organizing a leadership convention to replace Ed Broadbent and the CBC had agreed to televise the proceedings on its main network. Arnold was focused on the Saturday afternoon balloting. We discussed the number of candidates in the field and the nearly 3,000 delegates expected to attend. He challenged me on the party’s claim that we could conduct a ballot and report results in 45 minutes.
I don’t think he was convinced, but he said: “We will cover your convention until 7 p.m. Saturday and then we are cutting away to broadcast Hockey Night
in Canada, regardless of where your party is in picking its new leader.”
The balloting began at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2. After three ballots, the field was reduced to two candidates – Audrey McLaughlin and Dave Barrett. Ms. McLaughlin won. Mr. Barrett came to the podium to congratulate her and make the result unanimous. Then, she addressed the delegates.
In the excitement of the moment, I had stopped looking at my watch and had totally forgotten Arnold’s time ultimatum.
The next morning, a convention visitor told me how interesting the TV coverage had been. “After Audrey spoke, the convention delegates sang
O Canada and then they dropped the puck at the Winnipeg Arena.” – Dick Proctor, Victoria