THE TORONTO TELEGRAM
Thursday, August 20, 1964
RAY HILL at City Hall
Unlike other 12-year-olds, Victor Deschenes doesn't collect frogs, stamps or snakes. Instead, Victor collects politicians.
Back from a two-week stay at Stornaway House as guest of John and Olive Diefenbaker, Master Deschenes is preparing for school in September and for the civic election campaign in November.
Currently, his position at City Hall is somewhere between that of a mascot and a confidant to the administration.
There is little doubt about his future. It will be politics all the way.
Victor Deschenes got his political start under the careful tutelage of Arthur Maloney, the Conservative Member for Parkdale until disaster struck in the 1964 election.
Simple curiosity, says Victor, took him to Mr. Maloney's headquarters where he took a job delivering pamphlets.
Hard work soon won him a transfer to the headquarters of mayoralty candidate Donald Summerville where Victor was given the difficult task of finding prominent places for 23 large campaign posters.
It was at an Arthur Maloney testimonial dinner this year where Opposition Leader Diefenbaker and Mrs. Diefenbaker, invited Victor to their home for a holiday. At Stornaway, the childless Diefenbakers and their young guest lived together as a family, talking politics from breakfast to dinner.
At the knee of the old master, Victor learned about politics and ethics.
And he also deserted the Liberal tradition of his family and became a dedicated, dyed-in-the-wool Tory.
On political ethics, Victor has one motto: You keep your ears open and your mouth shut."
On John Diefenhaker's chances of returning to power, Victor shows flashes of political pragmatism, not usually found in one so young - "I don't think he will win. We can, just, work hard and do our best and that's all we can do."
Highpoint of his Stornaway stay was attending a buffet dinner where he supped and chatted with Conservative members and senators.
Time and experience have endowed Victor Deschenes with a matter-of-fact attitude about his friends in high places.
He finds that he's just as much at home in the back seat of Con. William Dennison's limousine or in a big leather chair in the mayor's office as he is in the City Hall room where city chauffeurs wait for their orders.
During free time, Victor caddies for Con. Dennison. But free time is becoming increasingly scarce.
"Mr. Robarts and I are having dinner together sometime next week - whenever it's convenient for him," he told me.
Then there's work to be done in the civic election campaign.
He's going to work for Con. Allan Lamport in the mayoralty fight. And he's going to support Controllers Dennison and Archer and Ald. George Ben for Board of Control. In Ward 5, Victor will be working for the re-election of Ald. Joseph Piccininni.
"They came and asked me," he shrugged.
"I can't take on anymore. You just can't work for too many people and get them all elected," he said.
"Besides, you have to believe in what they do and you also have to believe that they are doing what the people would like them to do," said campaigner Deschenes.
To make himself more knowledgeable about the issues, Victor attends nearly all civic committee meetings.
And politicians contrive to father him.
Metro, Chairman William Allen, for instance, has given him one of the best seats in the house for the grandstand show at the Exhibition.
And, says Victor astutely: "Mr. Allen doesn't need any help with his campaign. He doesn't have to campaign."
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