Scott Piatkowski alerted me yesterday to CTV’s contest, Political Idol:

If you believe you have what it takes, here’s how it works: Question Period viewers are asked to send in a minute-long written campaign speech on a topic of their choice to questionperiod@ctv.ca or to the following address: 100 Queen St., Suite 1400, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 1J9.

….Every week, Question Period will pick a winner and send a camera to shoot that person’s campaign speech, which will then be aired on the show.

At the end of the election campaign, viewers will vote for the best of all the campaign speeches that have aired.

Setting aside the apparent 93% discount on your 15-minute fame allocation, there’s a real challenge here: making a compelling case for an idea in 60 seconds. At a reasonably deliberate speaking pace, you’ll have 120 to 160 words to play with. That doesn’t leave much room for lengthy quotations or rambling anecdotes.

Now, nothing in the rules says you have to keep your speech private (and as far as I’m concerned, that kind of defeats the purpose). So if you want to share it with the world — or at least that thin sliver that frequents these pages — just leave it as a comment at the end of this post.

(I just ask that you leave nothing libellous, no personal attacks, and nothing that promotes hatred or discrimination against people on the basis of gender, race, sexual orientation or identity, religion, province or country of origin, or choice of operating system. Unlike Political Idol, we welcome submissions from candidates, party staffers and Bell Globemedia employees.)

Incidentally, check out the speechwriting tips on the CTV page from reporter Craig Oliver. It’s pretty much all good advice, although this one gave me momentary palpitations until I reread it:

Structure the speech like an essay

Readers and listeners like structure — have an introduction, make your point, back it up with evidence, and repeat your central theme with a strong conclusion.

That’s structure your speech like an essay… not write your speech like an essay. The kind of lengthy, complex sentences that work well on the printed page can be oratorical death on the podium.

Okay — get those keyboards clicking, team!

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