Harper humanizes, scores points

Tease the day: Every time the PM softens his own image, he comes out on top. Why not do it more?

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Adrian Wyld/CP

Every time the prime minister attempts to humanize himself, the effort is cast as some new strategy in image management. Yesterday’s #dayinthelife adventure is just the most recent example. Stephen Harper had staffers tweet photos and videos of his (fairly mundane) day on the job. iPolitics’ Colin Horgan asked his followers what they thought of the exercise. Some enjoyed the harmless tweets; another called it a “rather lame attempt to humanize a dude who conceals his personality 99% of the time.” Naturally, people disagreed about the whole thing, but most papers this morning gave the tweets prominent play, so Harper wins again. And here’s the important thing to remember: the PM’s no stranger to these small victories. Remember that sunny weekend last October, when he dropped in on a couple shooting their wedding photos? And, a few days later, did his annual Hallowe’en thing, handing treats out to neighbourhood kids? Whenever the PM tells the world he’s a normal guy, he never comes out the bad guy. I’m left asking the same question as last October, which I’ll keep asking until the answer becomes clear: Why doesn’t Harper do this more often?


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Canadian special forces on the ground in Mali. The National Post fronts the NDP’s apparently foolish push for the government to respect the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the payment of and withdrawn charges against a correctional officer after the death of troubled inmate Ashley Smith. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Department of National Defence’s plans to have much of its ageing property privately managed. iPolitics fronts Ontario premier-designate Kathleen Wynne’s meeting with her caucusCBC.ca leads with unrest on the streets of Egypt. National Newswatch showcases a Calgary Herald story about Liberal leadership contender Justin Trudeau’s support for a national energy plan—not, notably, a national energy program.


Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Gun control. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent the CEO of TD Bank a letter requesting the financial institution stop lending money to gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson. 2. Richard Henry Bain. The man who stands accused of murdering a woman on Quebec’s most recent election night was declared fit to stand trial, a conclusion he celebrated in court.
3. Foreign workers. A mining company in B.C. has sent 16 Chinese workers out of the country after two unions challenged the workers’ hiring and forced expensive litigation. 4. Infrastructure. Opposition critics renewed calls for a long-term federal infrastructure plan, echoing concerns consistently expressed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

What should I cover?

I’m going to tell you about a few things happening today on Parliament Hill, and then you tell me what I should go watch—and, following that, report on. There’s plenty of action on the Hill today. Eight parliamentary committees, including three Senate committees, are talking about various studies and pieces of legislation. The list of meetings I can attend, if we’re being realistic, is below, along with the orders of the day for each. So tell me: Where should I go?

Status of Women Sexual Harassment in the Federal Workplace
International Human Rights Human Rights Situation in Tibetan Areas of China
Public Accounts Chapter 4, Regulating Pharmaceutical Drugs – Health Canada
Natural Resources Innovation in the Energy Sector

If you think those committees are boring and know about something, you know, more interesting, pop it in a comment. You could also send it in an email or—gasp!—a Twitter DM, but why keep secrets from everyone?




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Harper humanizes, scores points

  1. dont you reporters know a snow job when you see it ? i thought reporters and journo were intellegent people.to be sucked into a photo opp like some reporters and journos do,it makes my thinking even more sure.most reporters and journos have the IQ of a turnip.report imortantant news reporters,leave the fluff for the tabliods.what i saw was the harper goverment”a one man show” steve harper(he was alone in the room with a cat) ! the last man i saw alone in a room with a cat,was dr.evil .

    • Harsh, but maybe not unfair. Here what also struck me is the unwarranted unsupported conclusion that Harper has benefitted from this silliness – any polling data showing people’s opinion of the man changed because they saw these type of things.

      • I suspected people would offer these criticisms as I wrote the post. They’re fair. We’ll have to agree to disagree about what this all means.

        • Time may tell!

        • i gotta question for the author,why would you want to humanize a PM,who demonizes certain segments of our population ? devide and conquer .isnt it more important to humanize PMs who try to bring a country together and not PMs who use devision ? also remember the $ 600,000,000.00 deficet and counting.how can you humanize that ?

          • The author’s job is to report & summarize the newspaper headlines. Hence the “Above the fold” subsection, the “What should I cover?”, etc. Part of this job is publishing the media’s reaction to the PM’s tweets.

    • Oh take a pill.

  2. If this does anything for him,then the cost of voters has gone down.

    • politics has always been about ‘ bread and circuses ‘ and the moment a leader forgets this is the moment his opponents have a meeting with him in a little hallway right outside the arena !! thus it has been and thus it shall be!

      • No, politics hasn’t always been this way. Some people are serious about running a country and it shows.

        Harper peaked long ago ….he has his base, which will follow him blindly no matter what he proposes…..and that’s it.

        Looking lonely at the breakfast table doesn’t gain him any more votes

        • of course it has – go back and read some history esepcailly Rome : read some Cicero he dovted a life to it – my favorite is when Caligula got really upset at the Seante he appointed his HORSE !!!!!!! :) – same ol story then as now !

          • We are talking Canadian history here……and we’ve had a long series of ‘good gray men’…..no circuses.

            Rome was dying when they got silly….building and expanding the Empire didn’t involve foolishness I assure you…..so you’d better hope we aren’t into ‘bread and circuses’.

            Caligula did not appoint his horse to the Senate. That’s the Hollywood version.

          • as usual Emily1 – you fail to research = check out ‘ incitatus ‘ as that was the Horses name and Caligula was in the process of making him a consul and talked about him making the ideal senator as he could not be bribed as well he thought out loud the convenience of making him a priest – used to feed him gold flakes on top of his grain : as to revisionist history Rome was nowhere near dying at that point .. as to building the empire it was ‘ Bread ‘ that demanded it you see a non pagan (pagan means you don’t live in the city) you got a monthly stipend of bread and it was from conquered lands where all the bread came from !!!!!! and the reaon for most of it’s wars !!!!!!!!

          • “While repeating the earlier stories, the later sources of Suetonius and Cassius Dio provide additional tales of insanity. They accuse Caligula of incest with his sisters, Agrippina the Younger, Drusilla and Livilla, and say he prostituted them to other men.[100] They state he sent troops on illogical military exercises,[67][101] turned the palace into a brothel,[44] and, most famously, planned or promised to make his horse, Incitatus, a consul,[102] and actually appointed him a priest.[76]

            The validity of these accounts is debatable. In Roman political
            culture, insanity and sexual perversity were often presented
            hand-in-hand with poor government.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caligula#Scandals

            Sooooo obvious!!!

  3. journos and reporters are too forgiving to this harper goverment.as a taxpayer,i dont forget the f35 fiasco,misleading parliment(and thats still happening as we speak),g-20,gazebotony,and the cost of harper to have 1500 staff members in his office for spin purposes only.reporters and journos have very short memories,i dont,and i will continue to complain about fluff reporters.mark twain was the man who said,reporters should report news,not create it.

    • you can’t be serious? – if there is one PM who desn’t suck up for votes or to the media and in pojnt of fact goes to the extreme in doing things that drive the ottawa (so called) journalists to new levels of righteous indignation because he ignores them is Harper! We haven’t had a PM since Dief the Chief that aggravates the main stream media as much as harper does – time for a new batch of koolaid or some new tin foil !!!!

  4. Harper is just a normal guy, a sensible (very smart) normal guy who made it to the PM’s job. Not a wealthy lawyer, no special connections, just a normal (very smart) family man who has convictions about public policy, so he reached for the brass ring and he got it. It’s his opponents (including the MSM) who keep trying to portray him as something else, something bad, or mean, or sneaky, or evil. But he’s not. When he’s seen at work, or giving out Halloween candy, or stopping at someone’s wedding, that’s him. It’s not an act, it’s what you or I or any other normal person would do if we found ourselves in that position. Perhaps many who hate Harper do so for political reasons, because he’s successfully pushed his political opponents into opposition. But those who hate him for the person he is hate a media/Liberal/NDP construct. Any objective person would say that Harper is a typical (but very smart) Canadian who is genuinely trying to make his country a better place today, and lay a strong foundation for the future.

    • When he’s breaking the promises he made as opposition leader for half a decade, seemingly on a whim and for little long term gain – that’s even more him.

      Sure he’s above average smart, but he’s also an ideologue, and that makes a toxic combination, because it’s easy to believe everyone who doesn’t agree with your out-there views just isn’t operating on your level.

    • Not only that, the poor man has a closet just bursting with his beloved sweater-vests. Which he can’t wear any more because you people made fun of him.

      I hope you’re all happy.

  5. I’m almost with he g-man on this one; only the journalists were so excited by his day in the life that they peed their pants and reported on it, over and over and over, rinsed, and repeated. His life looks boring, lonely, and bereft of any actually human emotion; he eats alone and his day seemingly includes no one from his family. The car ride through Ottawa was a joke. They actually staged monotony. And journalists reported on it, then wrote about that nobody cares about INM. I guess all Canadians care about is whatever carrot is dangled in front of the journalists’s noses at any given time. Let me be clear when I say I don’t want to see photos of the pm eating at his desk or at his cheap-looking kitchen table. Mila, now she would have had a waaay better kitchen table.

    • patchouli….”cheap kitchen table”? Please…the money for that kitchen table comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket. All of the furnishings in that house were provided by the taxpayers. You are probably right about “Mila having a waaaay better kitchen table”. That would be nothing to brag about. It means she spent waaay more of the taxpayers money decorating a house she was only going to a temporary resident in. Obviously you just gave Mr. Harper a compliment about his willingness to live within the taxpayer’s means.

      • I love it when you get on here and parse my comments.

    • Good thing Mr. Harper didn’t spend the day at the shore, lest the troubles lapping at them be caught on-frame.

  6. I don`t want a PM with an expensive kitchen table.
    I don`t want a PM with Gucci shoes and a taste for paper bags of cash.
    I don`t want a PM that needs to have weekly meetings with the Desmarais family.

    I don`t want a PM who needs to constantly consult and then dithers.

    I want a PM that confidently goes about what he perceives is the best means of governing the country. If that means he is somewhat aloof and unwilling to engage with the media regularly, I can understand that—-hey, it keeps you guys always wanting more.

    • I can agree with most of this – as long as the PM in question is someone other than Harper ;-)

  7. One of the many things I have always admired about the man is that he most definitley is not one of the elite, corporatist, empy suits with even emptier minds that most of the leading politicos tend to emulate. Not only does he keep his fingers out of the till but he still even looks uncomfortable in his suit! Harper is a throwback to the ol squeeze a dime Scot that founded this country and although at times he needs a persoanlity transplant his ability to remain a supercharged ever ready political bunnny who takes a lickin and keeps on tickin and kickin opposition keyster is quite simply amazing !!! BUT I daresay his best character trait is his ability not to suck up to everyone for their vote instead he keeps on doing what he thinks is the right thing to do for canadians and the long term health of canada..case closed … this drives partisans to new hieghts of idiocy and more often than not his haters do a better job of getting him votes than any PR firm -

    • Interesting how HQ has deployed the internet commenter forces today. I certainly hope this is volunteer work or CPC-funded and not taxpayer-funded. I guess we won’t know till they’re out of office, and even then they might shred the expense reports behind them.

      • ………and on queue one of the Harper-Haters shows up and spews forth that age-old bull that a rational analysis of the reason why the PM continues to have the confidence of the nation, could only have originated from the PMO.

        This, of course, is the sign of exasperated desperation.

        • start by looking up “rational”

          • Start by looking up “Harper Derangement Syndrome”

      • If I could figure out a way to get paid for honestly experessing my political views I would! You do realize that the natiure of your post only confirms the point I was trying to make don’t you? – You are the reason Harper will keep winning – if people such as yourself honestly believe what you post we Tories salute you becuase we have little to worry about!

      • You just proved DiscusL55′s point. Harper does drive you up a wall cecause you know he’s doing the right thing.

        • He drives ME up the wall – but precisely because I know he’s doing the wrong thing and I have at least a couple more year of his doing so before we can turf the lying SOB.

  8. The arrogance of Rahm Emmanuel, Obama ex-Chief of Staff and Mayor of Chicago, to think he can tell the TD Bank who they can and cannot lend money to is mind boggling. That story should be published.

  9. I don`t know of any time in recent memory when we have had weaker leadership at the provincial level, especially in regards to economic matters.

    Just when you thought the removal of Mcguinty in Ontario might improve matters, things just got worse a couple days ago.

    Other than Wall in Sask. and Dunderdale in NFLD. there does not appear to be much competency concerning finance matters.

    Even if he is taken for granted now, history will tell us we were fortunate to have a competent National leader like Harper at this time.
    Try picturing a Trudeau or Mulcair chairing a useless gabfest at a Federal-Provincial meeting today—-that oughta send a shudder down your spine !

  10. “Why doesn’t Harper do this more often?” Probably because, unlike previous PM’s, he’s actually busy running the country. He’s clearly an introverted guy, so the photo-ops aren’t really his thing. Which is why so many lefties constantly complain about how closed and un-personable the PM is all the time. Which is also why these little things drive them up the wall, because people like GFMD spend months trying to portray him as an evil kitten-eating monster, then the PM just comes along and crushes his months of work without even blinking.

    • very true !!!!!

  11. Harper eats cereal for breakfast like the rest of us! What an equalizer.

    • bet my last dolllar when the camera turned away the kitten disappeared :)

  12. According to Rex, this is how he sees it:

    With Stephen Harper the emotions he elicits — especially the extreme
    ones of contempt and near-hatred, have to be a projection of his
    enemies, far more than an assessment of Harper’s character or policies.

    For, step back a little, make a little space, and you will see that
    in his personal and domestic conduct, Harper is almost stereotypically
    Canadian. He’s a mild, un-obnoxious, hockey-mad fellow. He doesn’t
    boast.He shuns the spotlight he could be commanding every day. He keeps
    his privacy and doesn’t insist, like many public figures, in conducting a
    soap opera around his position or his family. He’d be the ideal
    neighbour — he wouldn’t just drop in, too reserved for that (which is
    great), but I’m sure he’d lend a shovel when needed. Probably even help
    dig out your car if you were stuck, and take your thanks with a
    self-conscious smile and reassurance that it was no trouble.“

    I agree with Rex.

    Methinks, if one were to dispose of Harper-hate glasses, reality would be most visible.

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