Prime Ministerial authenticity watch - Macleans.ca
 

Prime Ministerial authenticity watch


 

The minivan-driving hockey dad from the suburbs‘ stylist is no longer being paid by the taxpayers. You are covering her airfare and hotel costs though.

Meanwhile, Mr. Harper—”Meeting celebrities isn’t my shtick. That was the shtick of the previous guy.“—has been jamming with Bryan Adams, hanging with Chad Kroeger and chatting with Gene Simmons.


 

Prime Ministerial authenticity watch

  1. I'm sure Say Anything Steve was being genuine when he said "Meeting celebrities isn't my shtick."

    I'm sure he was talking about CanCon rules when during his photo op with Bryan Adams, congressed with Yo-Yo Ma about Pacific Rim trade agreements during their photo op, took testimony from Simmons on Harper's "tough on crime" laws and discussed repairs to 24 Sussex with Kroeger during their photo op.

    Afterall, Harper is not one to skip out on a global conference for a photo op with a celebrity Canadian athlete (and one who refuses to play for his own country at that) or two or three or four or five.

    He's too busy for that kind of "sideshow" afterall.

    • On the other hand, compared to all the other G8 leaders, Harper probably meets with the fewest celebrities.

      • I have no idea and I am quite sure you don't either.

        From what I know about Merkel and Brown and Hatoyama, I'd be very surprised if they were as photo op obsessive as Harper and meet with more celebrities. I don't know about Berlusconi or Sarkozy, I doubt it as well but in their case I wouldn't be surprised if they met with even more celebrities than Harper.

        As for any US president, it's a different ball of wax. Celebrity culture is such an ingrained part of the fabric of the nation that no US president can afford not to be seen with lots of celebrities. I wouldn't even say that Obama has been the worst in this regard.

          • So according to all these links, Harper is socializing with multiple celebrities, while other world leaders meet with celebrities at conferences trying to tackle issues of global significance. That's about what I would expect.

          • Nice logic there. ;-) If I had to guess, I'd say that the leaders of Japan, Germany and England tend to meet foreign celebrities when they're on the road "tackling issues of global significance", and they tend to meet national celebrities when they're in their own countries.

          • Paul Martin met with Bono over the issue of aid to Africa. For this he received the typical Harper sneer.
            If Harper's meeting with celebrities for anything but the photo-op – what is it?

          • And, really, Gene Simmons? A man who claims to have a wheelbarrow full of Polaroids of women he's had sex with?

            To be fair, the notion of politicians doing photo ops with celebrities doesn't bother me any more than the old Giant Novelty Cheque routine (as long as party logos aren't involved). But it's fun – and just so easy! – to call out Stephen Harper on his latest climbdown from his sanctimonious past.

            Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

          • Actually, one of my favourites in the genre is that classic picture of Richard Nixon, shaking hands in the White House with an obviously drug-addled Elvis Presley. Priceless.

          • The most priceless part was that he was there to become an "official" DEA agent (well, technically not the DEA, it's precursor). Presley had badges from a number of law enforcement agencies who had made him an honourary agent of one sort or another, and a DEA badge was a big addition to the collection. So, yes, he may well be drug addled in that photo, which just adds to the irony that he was there ostensibly to discuss what he could do to assist in the President's efforts in attacking the scourge of drug use.

          • Awesome.

          • Didn't Elvis mostly abuse prescription drugs? If so, there's another layer of irony in this, as he assists the President in his efforts to eliminate one category of drugs.

            I could be wrong, I was but a child at the time.

        • From what I know of Hatoyama, he actually does quite a few more celebrity photo ops than Harper – only in Japan they are called "talento" for some reason.

      • To be fair though, in order to become a "Canadian celebrity" you often find yourself working outside the country and not readily available for photo-ops.

        Also helps if you pick up US Citizenship along the way it seems.

      • Photos or it didn't happen.

        The point being overlooked here is not that politicians meet with celebrities, it's that Harper says it's something he doesn't do.

        When evidence says otherwise.

      • "On the other hand, compared to all the other G8 leaders, Harper probably meets with the fewest celebrities."

        Please source this — and if so, prove it isn't because the celebs have better taste than politicians on whom they allow to be seen with.

  2. Honestly, it's not the big stuff that makes me worry. It's the total clampdown on info on stupid crap like "who pays the stylist" that indicates the some odd fear of engaging the public in a less than positive light.

    Step out, say "I had a stylist on my payroll for a year. I talked with some people, decided it wasn't the best use of my office budget, and the party offered to pay up. I've asked the ethics commissioner to make sure we're good with apying her expenses on trips. Next question?"

    Ta da! A story that hangs around, popping up every few months with each new FOI request becomes a 3 day wonder, a couple of bad hair jokes and a Rick Mercer sketch. I just can't see why he doesn't bite the bullet here, take the (small) hit and move on.

    • Have you seen Harper admit being in the wrong ever?

      • Or be open and accountable?

        Or accept any question or tackle any issue that might not put him in the best possible light?

        Or make a difficult decision no matter how it might look on him (income trust perhaps being the only counter-example) or show leadership and forthrightness?

        Or treat Canadians as adults and show respect for us?

        • Harper Holiday! Culture of deceit!

          • You're starting to get the hang of it.

        • I was just giving my open take on what the best course of action would be in a situation like that .
          It really does puzzle me, though, given the G8 misquote reponse. He has done it before, and after a few head nods, the story went away.

          Seriously, what the heck do his communications people do?

          • Seems the're glued to the CBC looking for bias.

          • You don't need to be glued to the CBC to find bias. Casual channel surfing will do.

      • Yes. He apologized to Ignatieff at the G8 I think for attacking him over what turned out to be a misquote.

        But you are right. It doesn't happen as often as it should.

        • And as MAN has stated, it's such a perfect example of how the story goes away! We have so many counter-examples, where the apology doesn't come and the story sticks around, that I do wonder how this very clever man (and he is clever in a crafty way) doesn't learn from it. Which leads me to wonder what craftiness lurks in the approach that I just haven't seen.

  3. Here's the link to Gene Simmons's website (scroll halfway down): http://www.genesimmons.com/122009.html

    Dec. 7
    I'm proud to say one of the people who bought an Axe Bass is CANADA'S PRIME MINISTER, STEPHEN HARPER. I did a video conference with the Prime Minister to find out what he wanted personalized on the Axe.

    Exciting.

    • I thought the bass was a gift… at least, according to the PM's filing with under the conflict of interest act:http://ciec-ccie.gc.ca/ClientDeclarationPreviewMe

      Unless, of course, there are two Gene Simmons' basses kicking around 24 Sussex…

      • Most likely, Simmons was mistaken about who purchased it.

  4. I don't really care who's paying the stylist, as long as she's still a psychic.

    If the PM can get inside information on the future from his hairstylist, then I think that's a worthy use of taxpayer funds.

    • She's already predicted that he will never, ever go bald. ;-)

      • It's all trapped in place with shellac.

        • I read somewhere she uses turtle wax to keep it water and wind-proof.

      • Yup – she keeps the scalp glue handy.

    • Given Harper's predictions on the economy when we were paying for her… ?

      • Well, you can't blame the PM on that score I don't think. I'd imagine the psychic advised the PM to rapidly increase federal spending and keep an air-tight lid on government secrets. At least, that's what I'd have advised if I were being paid with taxpayer money and wanted the government not to tell anyone how much I was getting.

        I for one am impressed that the PM held off so long on abandoning any sense of fiscal prudence or open, accountable and transparent government. Psychics are scary. In the same situation, faced with advice from a lady who says she knows the future, I'd have abandoned everything I ever stood for at least twice as fast as the Prime Minister did.

  5. I thought Potter was on the authenticity beat?

  6. Nevermind who pays for it. In light of the final product, either that stylist should be ashamed to take money for the resulting "style", or one shudders to consider how the honourable PM would look without such assistance.

    • I have long thought it odd that PM Harper often looks like he just finished a couple cherry popsicles. And his hair looks weird too but it's the red lips that always get me.

      • We know he uses eye makeup, so I don't see why he couldn't tone down the lips a bit with a bit of lipstick.

        Maybe Gene Simmons could give him some additional help with makeup advice…

        • I would pay money to see Harper wearing Gene Simmons makeup.

        • It's more fashionable, and, I'm told, demure, to focus on one feature of the face, and "go more natural" with the others.

          Eg, go heavy on the lids, but relax with the blush and lips. Or, go heavy on the lips, but relax with the man-scara.

        • Actually, all the stylist does is put skin toned make up to hide the snow white skin and and die his natural green hair to grey.

          The real miracle is what the speech therapist did to his maniacal laugh.

          • Not only that — Harper has to eat his diet of rodent vermin out of the sight of reporters etc., including at official state dinners and the like. I guess what he does is duck off to the washroom, swallow a couple of dead mice, then return to the dinner table and pretend to eat and enjoy the regular human food. It's quite a feat, really.

          • First of all, it's kittens. Reptilian creatures from other planets eat KITTENS.

            Second, I believe conservatives have already scientifically determined that Dalton McGunity is the only reptilian kitten eater from another planet in Canadian politics today. Or, at least, he's the only one the Tories have been willing to expose publicly…

            … ah, I see what you're saying! It was a clever ruse! They called McGunity a reptilian kitten eater to draw attention away from themselves! It's evilly genius!!!

            Hey, everybody, Orson's figured it out! Harper's a reptilian alien like from V! This explains EVERYTHING! The "stylist" with ESP. Completely abandoning every principle he's ever said he had! Chad Kroeger!!!

            You've opened my eyes Orson.

          • YOu think that's his adam's apple, but it's a whole vole, digesting…

      • It's called lip gloss. It gives transparent colour and shine. It's the eye liner that he has on sometimes which is just too Cage Aux Faux for my taste.

    • Yeah, seriously, audit that haircut already! Tender it out and give Magicuts a shot at the contract.

  7. Reminds me of a former minister and his chauffeur. A lot of people were shocked that taxpayers were paying his airfare.

    It's a good thing that Harper is not gay – though, I wonder, are all transvestite necessarily gay? With that kind of fondness for makeup, I can imagine a piano, a chandelier, and a Harper in ermine and sequins singing All You Need Is Love.

    • Anyone who has to appear in front of television cameras should want to wear makeup, lest they look like they just crawled out of a stinky gutter, albeit in a finely-tailored suit.

      • Indeed, and whenever I've done it the TV station provided the make-up artist. I guess they provided such service for prime ministers and others who preceded Harper. Harper is the man who sent out a Christmas card of himself admiring photographs of himself. Harper is unique – and he knows it and loves the fact.

  8. Why the hell are we covering her travel costs?

    • Do you have any idea how much Air Canada charges for a ticket to another plane of existence?

      If the PM's going to get style advice from the future out of the deal, could there possibly be a price too high?

  9. Are we not perhaps missing the larger picture here?

    No Canadian politician should be able to be photographed with Chad Kroeger or any member of Nickelback without suffering scathing, immediate and irreparable political damage. This problem won't solve itself people. If the PM is able to survive politically with pictures of him smiling with Chad Kroeger all over the internet, then the battle's all ready lost. Not only are we never going to stop Nickelback now, we arguably can't even blame the Americans for their popularity anymore if our own PM is just openly cavorting with them like that. Something needs to be done. If Canada's PM just implicitly approves of Nickelback like that, publicly, how are we going to keep diverting the blame for their popularity to Mississippi and Alabama?

    My bigger problem isn't with the PM wasting his time with celebrities, it's with him wasting his time with LAME celebrities. Of course, the one advantage Harper has here is that in posing with Chad Kroeger, he's posing with the one Canadian on Earth who's been beaten more savagely than the PM in a Facebook popularity contest versus a pickle. (Well, that, and the fact that Kroeger would probably make a better Minister of the Crown than half of Harper's Cabinet).

  10. Every picture I see of Mr. Harper make me think he must be the Prime Minister of Westworld. That wonderful place where "Nothing can go worng".

  11. Yes, it's hypocritical, but right up there with what all politicians do. I've got a few hundred gripes with the current government. The PM meeting with Chad Kroeger is about number 301 on that list.