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Irish rock star Bono expected at Liberal leadership convention

Posted on Wednesday, November 05 @ 01:32:23 CET by Macphisto

OTTAWA (CP) - Paul Martin's Liberals may have found just what they're looking for.

Pop superstar Bono is expected to be a marquee attraction at the party's convention next week, adding glitter to what has been a lacklustre leadership race. The U2 frontman is expected to make a guest speech at an evening party where Liberals will celebrate the coronation of Martin as the federal party leader. The Irish rocker was wooed by the Martin campaign in an attempt to spice up the victory celebration his organizers expect to hold a week from Friday.

Bono's appearance would add star power to an event that is seen as such a foregone conclusion that the Liberal party has had trouble attracting delegates to attend.

A Martin campaign source who did not want to be idfentified said Bono was expected to appear, and that he would speak to the thousands of Liberal delegates.

The prospect of Bono, with the trademark bug's eye sunglasses, attending a partisan political event in Toronto is not as implausible as it sounds.

The Grammy-winning singer has met with Prime Minister Jean Chretien and Martin in the past.

Bono has talked extensively with Martin about a common cause they share: relieving Third World debt.

In 2000, the Irish rocker was brimming with praise for then-finance minister Martin's zeal for easing the burden of debt on poorer countries.

"He (Martin) struck me as more than a money man, actually, he had some vision about it," Bono said at the time.

"Canada doesn't have the size of debt that some of the other major players have, but for that reason, I think it has a chance to speak out and to take the moral high ground on this issue and we're really grateful to Paul Martin for that."

In addition to spurring interest in a drama-free convention, a Bono appearance would hammer home a message that Martin organizers have been trying to convey for months.

They want to portray the arrival of the 65-year-old prime minister-in-waiting as a changing of the generational guard from the retiring Chretien, who is just four years Martin's senior.

What better way to make that point than inviting a contemporary pop icon to party with Martin and the gang?

In contrast, the outgoing Chretien will have 1950s crooner Paul Anka and jazz legends Oscar Peterson and Oliver Jones performing at his going-away party.

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