Tease the day: The prime minister smiles for the cameras - Macleans.ca

Tease the day: The prime minister smiles for the cameras

And, oh, there’s other important stuff to talk about, too


Give the prime minister credit: His government’s fighting the opposition on a number of files that involve several cabinet ministers, including everything from food safety to a fight with a parliamentary watchdog about cuts across federal departments. Still, Stephen Harper manages to crash a wedding photo shoot and earn a bunch of happy press about it. “It must have been one of Stephen Harper’s most unscripted moments,” wrote the Toronto Star. Indeed. The Ottawa Citizen published a photo gallery of the meet-up that gave Jocelyne Potvin and Patrick Sullivan their 15 minutes of fame. They have a lasting memory, and Harper’s image softens just a little bit. The bigger question is: Why doesn’t he do that more often?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with a story about stricter foreign takeover rules for state-owned companies. The National Post fronts the fight in Michigan over a new bridge to Canada. The Toronto Star‘s top story is about a top secret Correctional Service of Canada surveillance video that will likely be screened publicly in court. The Ottawa Citizen leads with Tory efforts to re-open Ontario’s legislature. iPolitics fronts Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose’s possible admission that the feds are looking at alternatives to the F-35 to replace Canada’s current (aging) fleet of fighter jets. National Newswatch showcases a Tim Harper column in the Toronto Star about the importance of Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page’s ongoing battle for government data.

Stories that will dominate the Hill Stories that will be (mostly) missed
1. Federal cuts data. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, is taking departments that won’t provide him data relating to federal cuts to court. The opposition will continue to pressure the government to release the data. 1. Underage radicals. The Security Intelligence Review Committee says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service needs a new approach to handling so-called “underage radicals,” who are more and more coming into contact with CSIS.
2. Foreign takeovers. Don’t expect the opposition to let up on the foreign takeover file. It’ll continue to push for clarity from the government on how it measures a “net benefit” to Canada, until the feds finally reveal their criteria. 2. DND property. Canada’s auditor-general reported yesterday that the country’s military infrastructure is crumbling thanks to inadequate maintenance by DND. The news took a back seat to other A-G revelations.

Where I’ll be today…

I’m going to keep following the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, which is studying Bill C-27, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. I’ve followed the committee’s last few meetings on the topic—first, when the Assembly of First Nations testified; and second, when the Canadian Taxpayers Federation testified. Today, the committee will hear from members of the First Nations Financial Management Board, Membertou First Nation, Norway House Cree Nation and Sawridge First Nation.

What do you still want to know about C-27? Chime in here, or on Twitter, or wherever else you can find me.

Scorecard for yesterday’s Tease: What a terrible mistake I made yesterday. None of the papers had the news of Auditor-General Michael Ferguson’s report. Don’t blame them, though. The news of the report only came out later in the morning, something I should have foreseen (even without details, A-G reports are a constant source of news and opposition attacks). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m trying to peel myself off the mat to get back into the game.

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Tease the day: The prime minister smiles for the cameras

  1. “The bigger question is: Why doesn’t he do that more often?”

    I dunno….how many times are you willing to fall for that trick?

    • Yes one has to wonder how “spontaneous” this event really was. Harper probably had a team of specialists from his Ministry of Truth that: a) cooked up a number of spontaneous-event scenarios; b) tested them before focus groups; c) engaged in 3 dry runs before the actual event; and d) vetted everyone in the wedding party as card-carrying Conservatives (including searches of their Facebook and Twitter accounts to weed out potential dissidents.)

      Last Canada Day, Harper actually bused in an audience of Conservative supporters for his appearance who chanted his name, “Harper! Harper! Harper!”

      These used-car salesmen will do anything to weasel support…

      • Heh…well I doubt the couple were Dippers, and Harper needed the practice smiling anyway. What worries me is that journos don’t seem to be asking IMPORTANT questions….Even scrums have now turned into Trivial Pursuit.

        • Oh, lord, if I read any more “articles” about Twitter comments, I think I will commit a crime. In the hopes that I will win a Queen’s Jubilee Medal, of course…

    • @emilyone:disqus I think it’s a fair question. Every time the prime minister looks remotely human—a commenter below quipped about the PM’s piano playing—he finds his photo in the papers. And guys like me point that out, and it inevitably spreads further. But those moments are still a rarity. Why?

      • Harper doesn’t ‘find his photo in the paper’…..these are deliberate photo ops. You’ll see them again in election ads.

        We’ve seen Harper on the public stage for years and we know he isn’t a spontaneous or friendly person in general….so when the sweater, the piano-playing or cat pix come out…..we know there’s something else going on.

        • Emily is absolutely correct about this: this is an attempt to “brand” the PM as a regular friendly guy. FFS, LOOK AT THE JACKET HE’S WEARING!

  2. What, they didn’t have a piano?

    • They considered wheeling in a piano but the focus group gave that a low score on “spontaneity”…

  3. “The bigger question is: Why doesn’t he do that more often?” I dunno, maybe because it’s obnoxious to crash someone’s wedding so you can get into their pictures. I wonder what would have been the response if the couple had told him to get lost? This doesn’t show his human side, unless his human side is an overlarge ego that needs to impose itself on others regardless of circumstances.

    • I am picturing Harper and his security detail in limos, parked at a popular wedding photo spot and approaching various wedding parties and being shooed away until finally, one gives in. Really, why would anyone want any politician in their wedding photos, unless party of the family or friend! So weird.

  4. I see a number of you regulars are curious as to why Harper would not crash more weddings or have regular spins on the piano.
    Let me help you.
    Unlike the late Jack Layton or the present Justin Trudeau, Harper does not believe the whole world is a stage and he is an actor. Like most Canadians, it is just not in his nature to shove folks out of the way so he is directly in front of the camera (Layton) or to refer to himself in the third person as he makes grandiose pronouncements about his patriotism (Trudeau).

    He believes his role as PM is to run the government in an efficient and capable manner and occasionally he agrees to do a little campaigning in mid-stream.
    If you want a wingnut like Maggie`s boy running the country—then good luck—the rest of us will make sure Harper stays as PM as long as he chooses to.

    • He doesn’t have time for that publicity stuff eh? Ridiculous excuse!
      Everytime i see the guy toiling at his job in various parts of the country there is nothing going on BUT a prolonged one man ad campaign. In his last visit to the north[ my backyard] he gave no press briefings and no oppotunity for members of the general public or those with northern concerns to confer with him.[ and this was noticed by the way] All he did was hold an fundraiser for his party under the auspices of his public office. The man is a partisan publicity hound – he simply doesn’t have time for much like this wedding stuff. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his words as he was being pushed out the car door were…’but are you sure…they may not be Conservatives you know?’

    • Andrew, is the irony that harper did indeed “shove folks out of the way so he is directly in front of the camera” with that wedding couple lost on you? I’d say his warm ‘n friendly photo opps are quite regular, actually. He just doesn’t look as comfortable as Jack or as handsome as Justin in his, that’s all.

    • The best actors are the ones that don’t appear to be acting….

      Harp has been an act since day one.

  5. Pretty simple, really. It’s not news if he does it regularly.

  6. I noted in the story about this that the PMs car and security guys sat in the parking lot for a bit before the PM just sauntered over. Spontaneous? I don’t know about that really. My partisan guess would be that Harper realized he had enough people on hand to conduct a quick focus group…

    …’So, should i go over there guys? What d’ya think? Not too tacky eh? Don’t think it’ll look too pushy…what about the jacket? Does anyone have a more sporty i’m just a regular Canadian kind of guy who just happened to be going by your neighborhood sort of thing…someone make sure they ask for copies of the pics ok?’

    If it was spontaneous i would have given anything to see his face if it had turned out to be a same sex marriage…but then, would he have got out of the car?

    • Could be a skit on Just for Laughs Gags!

  7. Now I bet you’re all sry you attacked Dion and brought about a Majority: you’re bored.
    For determining which sector can undergo deflationary costs, R+D levels are a start. But some R+D isn’t potentially future deflationary costs: look at alot of rare Earth solar cells R+D 5 years ago. Maybe they will use less metals or recycle cheaply or something but too much platinum and stuff in early desings. And some actual products are really prototypes. The idea is to look at which companies and universities and other R+D actors have increased R+D when given more cash/loans. This should give a velocity of R+D change. If they are broke it doesn’t tell much. But if R+D is peaked, it might be ripe for an infrastructure (where needed) spedning increase, if pavement isn’t getting cheaper. Keep in mind a carbon price factored in kills alot of oil R+D for instance. And a future pandemic price, and a future futre AI/tyrant price.
    Wow. A peat bog environment is really going to suck.

    • …I remember my moment of creativity. Is usually random but I’ll mention in case the MSM gets creative; apart from Coyne stimulating me to wonder why Romney isn’t for negative tax rates, or at least zero….
      I was reading today’s G&M and wondering about their trading strategy: buying resource bonds and selling high deficit nations or something: without a benchmark it seemed dubious now, great a few years ago but assuming no end to resource price rises or printing presses…
      and realized: I’m going to do something useful with my brain. And I turned the page. This sounds like North Korean media coverage.