Let’s go second-by-second through that weird new eight-minute video from Kellie Leitch:
0:01 “Hi, I’m Kellie Leitch and I’m running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.”
“Hi, I’m Kellie Leitch! You may remember me from such campaign themes as ‘STOP, IMMIGRANT!’ and ‘Is Canada Canadian enough?’”
0:07 First in a series of awkward pauses.
Collect all 1,033!
0:11 “Over the last several months, I’ve been traveling across the country, speaking to thousands of Canadians.”
Ever the trailblazer, Leitch here becomes the first Canadian politician to pronounce the word “thousands” with four syllables.
0:14 The camera moves to the left.
This is a common tactic in political videos – an effort to inject some dynamism in an otherwise static composition. Except in this case the camera moves so far to the left that it looks as though it’s trying to make a run for it. Good instincts, camera.
0:24 “Everywhere I go, I hear the same message.”
“And that message is: ‘Rats, I thought Kevin O’Leary would be here.’”
0:34 “Canadians are proud of their country – and proud of their unified Canadian identity.”
‘Unified Canadian identity.’ That sounds like something Einstein might have come up with: Eureka, at long last I see it now – the long-sought unified theory of Canadianness! It was right before my eyes all along: (x+y)/z, where x is ‘bacon slices’, y is ‘tweets slagging Nickelback’ and z is ‘lifetime apologies.’
0:37 “They’re proud of their values – values like hard work, generosity, freedom and tolerance.”
“Unlike the other nations of the world and their misguided adherence to lazy, indifferent racism.” (Also, small thing but: Pretty sure most politicians say “we” when they’re talking about Canadians, not “they.” Unless… hmm… hey, did someone let Kellie Leitch into the country without a face-to-face interview with a trained immigration official?)
0:42 Leitch looks to her right.
You’ve all watched a nightly newscast, right? You’ve seen the savvy veteran TV correspondent glance away from the camera in the middle of her standup. It’s a move meant to convey reflection – or create the notion that the reporter is pondering what to say next. When Leitch does it, however, it looks as though she’s greeting an invisible friend. BONJOUR MRS. CANTALOUPE!
1:02 Let’s talk about Kellie Leitch’s face.
There is nothing wrong with a politician smiling – or, as in this case, trying to smile. I’m all for it. But for much of this video, Leitch wears a spacey expression that can best be described as “hobo who just smelled the aroma of a cherry pie cooling on a windowsill.”
1:06 These cutaways are weird, aren’t they?
Jarring, really. They lend credence to the rumour that this video was put together using the new Adobe software, Edit Like You’re Baked.
1:10 Leitch looks again to the right, and this time her head almost takes her entire body with her.
By the six-minute mark, Leitch is going to be speaking with her back to the camera. Either that or she’ll be upside down.
1:15 “Canada is” – pause meant to convey that she is spontaneously searching for the right word even though this is a scripted video but it turns out to be such an oddly long pause that it instead suggests she needs to be rebooted – “an opportunity.”
1:18 Leitch pauses, turns to the right AND steps back at the same time.
Believe you me: This is the triple Lutz of political-video moves. Joe Clark tried it in 1978 and tore his ACL. We’re dealing with a pro here, folks.
1:27 Leitch looks to the right but then also looks up.
She’s displaying all the range you’d expect from the star of a cat food commercial. LOOK UP HERE MITTENS [jangles car keys].
1:43 “And Canada is a place where we can each choose how to live…”
Wait, what about our ‘unified Canadian identity??’ You mean I just went out and bought 34 million matching red turtlenecks for nothing????
1:45 “… in freedom and with tolerance.”
“If I keep repeating the word ‘tolerance,’ I can’t be an anti-immigrant bigot. THAT’S JUST SCIENCE.”
1:58 “This is why so many people seek to come to Canada, to this place, each year.”
“And this is why I will personally shoo away each and every one of them with a broom. ‘Shoo!’ I’ll say, ‘and also sometimes, for variety, git!’”
2:01 “Because a better life is possible here – a life that is prosperous, generous, freer and more tolerant.”
“Did I mention ‘tolerant?’ I did? Good. But did I mention ‘tolerant?’ I did? Good.”
2:14 Folks, I’m pretty open-minded politically but I’m not sure I can vote for a leader who can’t decide whether to stand up or sit down.
I guess the good news for the Leitch campaign is that although she’s losing the leadership race, she’s kicking ass at this game of musical chairs.
2:16 And she’s back up.
And walking toward the camera – coming right at us! Welcome to Dr. Leitch’s 3D House of Pancakes! (Google it, kids.)
2:25 For the first time, Leitch turns to her left – thus proving to skeptics that her body is capable of awkward human-like gestures in both directions.
The full Harper!
Here, Leitch pauses long enough for her eyeballs to come to three distinct stops as they glance randomly around the room. The only reasonable conclusion is that a swarm of bees has been released. Kudos to her for remaining composed.
2:52 “…only nine to 15 per cent of immigrants receive an interview with a trained immigration official before they come to Canada.
“Okay, so now we’re getting to the part where it’s going to sound like I’m being racist. Please remember all the goodwill I built up by repeatedly saying tolerant.”
3:09 Freeze it right here. Leitch is looking to her left, with a proud grin on her face.
It’s as though she just learned that her imaginary friend Mrs. Cantaloupe is out of rehab and enrolled in night school.
3:52 Look to the left. Look at the camera. “This is a problem.” Look to the left.
At minimum, Leitch is going to come out of this race with a recurring role on The Young and the Restless.
4:17 “This is why when I become Prime Minister…”
Killer line, but I believe you’re supposed to open with your jokes.
4:19 “…I’m committed to ensuring that all immigrants, refugees and visitors to Canada receive a face-to-face interview with a trained immigration officer.”
Wait – visitors too? Given how long the line is going to be coming back into Canada from the U.S., we’d better hope that two of our enduring Canadian values are “patience” and “holding it.”
4:34 Another awkward cut.
One gets the sense this video must have taken hours to shoot. Or perhaps it’s still being shot right now. Perhaps time is a flat circle – we are cringing at Kellie Leitch because we have always been cringing at Kellie Leitch.
4:44 “There is a second part to my proposal…”
“We will build a moat along the U.S. border.”
4:47 “…that is to screen all immigrants, refugees and visitors to Canada for their agreement with Canadian values. Do they support the ideas of hard work, generosity, freedom and tolerance?”
“Hi. I know you just want to come across the border to go skiing for the weekend, but can I please see a notarized copy of your last six years of charitable tax deductions. Also, someone in the car needs to have calloused hands.”
5:05 “Do they believe that men and women are equal? Do they believe that violence has no place in political disagreements? Do they believe that all should be left to worship as they see fit?”
“Do they believe in the power of you and I?”
5:31 Marvel at Leitch’s hand gesture here.
What a flourish! She missed her calling as a magician and/or Price is Right model.
5:43 “We are a tolerant society.”
“I mean, what says ‘tolerance’ more than building an entire political campaign on the foundation of exclusion, distrust and fear?”
6:18 “Newcomers to Canada are already tested on their knowledge of [our] values. Under my proposal, we will ensure that they agree with them as well.”
Truth serum! It works in the movies!
6:40 “Our immigration system is too important to get hung up on numbers and quotas…. So I cannot tell you what the number will be. The only commitment I can make to you is that every immigrant, refugee and visitor will receive a face-to-face interview.”
“Actually, I can make one other commitment: When I am eliminated from this race on the first ballot, you will all feel slightly better about your country.”
6:49 For just a brief moment, Leitch falls out of focus.
I prefer to think that this is the camera’s way of saying, “Look, I’m a professional, but even I have my limits, guys.”
7:06 “We must protect and promote our shared Canadian values and our unique Canadian identity. That is what you asked me to do.”
I for one specifically asked Kellie Leitch for only one thing: Mrs. Cantaloupe’s cell phone number. That girl has finally got her life together and I want in.
7:14 “And that is what I will do…”
“…when I am elected Prime Minister in an alternate universe in which politicians are chosen based solely on their inability to look directly into the camera.”
7:22 “No other candidate in this race will do this.”
“Remember: There are, like, 740 other candidates. And none of them will do this. None of them agrees with me. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think that my signature policy is a completely unhinged non-starter.”
7:43 “I made this video today because I wanted to speak to you directly.”
Look closely at the painting in the background. If you really zoom in and squint, you can see the director of this video drowning himself in the pond.
8:25 “I stand alone in this leadership race on this issue. I need you to stand with me.”
Think of me as Donald Trump without the charisma, moxie, wealth, instincts, savvy or success!