Dryden backstops London Liberals

CHIP MARTIN -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:52 PM ET

Former NHL hockey great Ken Dryden boosted Liberal Sue Barnes in London yesterday in her faceoff with the uncle of another hockey great.

Dryden, former netminder for the Montreal Canadiens who helped them win six Stanley Cups in the 1970s, urged 100 party supporters to work hard in the closing hours of the London West campaign.

Barnes is seeking to fend off challengers Al Gretzky, a Conservative and uncle of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, and and New Democrat Gina Barber to retain London West.

Dryden, the federal minister of social development, told the crowd, including Liberals Joe Fontana of London-North-Centre and Glen Pearson of London-Fanshawe and their workers, the sprint to Monday's finish is important.

"This is a big weekend," he said. "It feels like a playoff weekend."

Dryden said the campaign "is a contest, a real contest . . . the last few days before an election I get nervous."

"Polls aren't votes," he said, referring to recent polls showing the Tories have kept their lead over the LIberals and might form a minority government.

Dryden said he can't understand why the Conservatives are anxious to change Canada at a time when "things have rarely been better. This isn't opinion. This is as it is."

He said the Conservatives are "so limited, so limiting" in their view of Canada. "I don't think (Conservative Leader Stephen Harper) thinks in terms of great national endeavours," unlike many of the country's prime ministers.

Dryden said Harper and the Tories focus on the individual, "but not much of any great importance can be accomplished alone."

"We need our neighbours and our neighbours need us," said Dryden, who has visited more than a dozen ridings across Canada to support Liberal candidates. He is running for re-election in his Toronto riding of York Centre.


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