Trudeau and Harper compete for manliest political leader

Tom Mulcair’s beard just can’t compete


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Masculinity is all the rage in Canadian politics. Justin Trudeau had just finished showing off his handyman bona fides when Prime Minister Stephen Harper, immersing himself in Canada’s far north for a week, outgunned his Liberal foe. Literally.

The prime minister fired off a few rounds of a vintage Lee Enfield rifle—the same used by Canadians during the First World War—as part of a visit with Canadian Rangers, the military unit tasked with securing Canada’s sovereignty in the north. Let’s review everything Harper accomplished in a single photo-op: a nod to Canada’s military heritage? Check. Active support of sovereignty in the north? Check. Friendly reminder to gun owners that the prime minister looks comfortable with a firearm? Check. Manly man bravado captured for posterity? Check. Once again, Harper demonstrates his ability to control a news agenda without saying much of anything. He let the gun do the talking.

So now we have Trudeau, who likes fixing things, and Harper, who likes shooting things. It’s about time Tom Mulcair, the NDP leader, defined his manliest trait. The beard’s a good start, but hasn’t he ever built his own car, or fought a grizzly bear, or gone a week without a beard trim?

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s image-making trip to Canada’s north. The National Post fronts the Syrian government’s apparent use of nerve gas to kill hundreds of civilians. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the images out of Syria of dead children with no visible scars. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the alleged gas attack in Syria just as UN inspectors are in the country. iPolitics fronts Industry Minister James Moore’s skepticism that the government’s wireless spectrum auction requires rule changes. CBC.ca leads with the harsh criticism of a Quebec government plan to ban religious symbols in public workplaces. CTV News leads with the UN Security Council’s emergency meeting related to alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria. National Newswatch showcases a Huffington Post story about Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau smoking marijuana while he was an MP.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Hockey. Doctors from the Canadian Medical Association spoke out against National Hockey League owners for being too accepting of overt violence in the pro sport, which harms the game. 2. Pipeline. Ontario energy minister Bob Chiarelli says his government is concerned about safety concerns related to TransCanada’s new proposed pipeline from Alberta.
3. Donation. Australian actor Hugh Jackman, in Montreal to film the latest X-Men movie, donated $10,000 to the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation on behalf of the cast and crew 4. Scuba diving. A Canadian man, decked out in full scuba gear, allegedly smuggled eight pounds of marijuana across the St. Clair River into Michigan. He was arraigned in court yesterday.
5. Israel. Polio has spread to northern Israel, a trend the government hopes to quell by urging parents to have their children inoculated. The disease is mostly eradicated around the world. 6. Pakistan. For the first time, the U.S. placed sanctions on an Islamic school in northwest Pakistan that the Department of the Treasury claims is training young al-Qaeda militants.


Trudeau and Harper compete for manliest political leader

  1. UGH! What a clown.

  2. Simple answer – put Harper and Trudeau in a boxing ring. Mano a mano.

    If the roles were reversed, I bet Ezra Levant would be making this taunting challenge daily.

    • I would pay to watch that.

    • Harper must have at least 50 lbs on poor young Trudeau, not really solid lbs but lots of them.

  3. Well I wouldn’t say Harp looks comfortable with a firearm, but since Canada is 80% urban anyway it doesn’t matter.

    • 80% urban???

      • Yes, it is….is that surprising?

        Also at one time Canada was 98% farmers, and 2% merchants and administrators….now 2% are farmers and 98% are everything else.

        • So, according to EmilyOne the matter has been settled; only farmers live in rural Canada. You master, you!

          • Actually, her posts pretty explicitly show that she thinks that lots of non-farmers live in rural Canada, as they do.

            First, Emily said that 20% of Canada’s population lives in “rural” areas (See Stats Can… it’s actually 19%, but whatever). That’s 6,329,414 people.

            Second, she said that 2% of Canadians are farmers (Stats Can again – 293,925 farm operators with 297,683 employees equals 591,608 “farmers” in Canada, which is 1.7% of our population).

            So, since Emily is saying that there are 6,329,414 Canadians living in rural Canada, and there are 591,608 farmers in Canada, then it’s pretty clear that she’s explicitly saying that there are 5,737,806 people who aren’t farmers living in rural Canada.

            It’s axiomatic.

            It’s always weird coming to Emily’s defence, but she’s got the numbers pretty right here. In fact, according to Statistics Canada, she has slightly underrepresented the percentage of the nation that is urban (it was actually 81% of the population in 2011), and slightly over-represented the number of farmers (actually 1.7% of the population in 2011).

          • EmilyOne must like it when you do her homework for her. Some do grow up in that fashion.

          • What?

            It seems clear to me from the accuracy of her posts that in this case Emily did her homework before she posted (unless you think that she just guessed with uncanny accuracy).

            My reply didn’t make Emily’s comment accurate, it simply demonstrated for you that Emily’s comment was indeed accurate.

    • I thought it was well over 90%. I guess it depends on the definition of urban.

      • Probably….I know people argued about it. I think the cut-off point was 10,000 people.

      • See above. Stats Can says 81% in 2011 by their definitions and counting.

        • Without a mandatory census, the urban population could have dropped to zero and we would never know!

          • I know this is just humour, and I’m as annoyed by the changes to the long form census as anyone, but it’s worth noting that population count was never part of the long form census, so it wasn’t actually affected by the changes the Tories enacted. The short form is still mandatory.

  4. How about a winner take all Parliament Hill cage match smack down featuring Stephen ‘The Mad Mauler’ Harper versus Justin ‘The Adjudicator’ Trudeau versus Thomas ‘The Terrifier’ Mulcair. Don Cherry could be called in as a commentator and all proceeds from the show which could be aired during a session of Question Period could go to paying down the country’s debt.

    • You pretty much described Question Period as it is now, with the exception of the debt paydown part.

  5. Harper’s fired more Chiefs of Staff they he has guns.

  6. When Stephen Harper held that gun in his hands, I bet he felt a surge of power… like how God must feel when he’s holding a gun.

    • You are well integrated now, I see. Fitting right in with the EmilyOne crowd.

      • I’m trying to decide if displaying partisan displeasure at a light-hearted Simpsons reference could constitute “rock bottom”.

        I’m guessing not.

        • In fairness to Francien, it’s a pretty obscure Simpsons reference.

          • I suppose. That said, I didn’t actually realize immediately that the quote was specifically from Homer, but “Powerful – like how God must feel when he’s holding a gun” is so OBVIOUSLY a joke (and a line that I remembered specifically, though not its specific source) that it seems a little silly for someone to not just laugh at it.

      • You need to watch more Simpsons. Fifth episode of the ninth season, ‘The Cartridge Family.’ Then it’ll all make sense (and it won’t seem like I’m picking on your guy…)

        • Still trying to tell me what to do.

          Do whatever turns your crank, gottabesaid, if it makes you feel good.

          • Giving you some context constitutes ‘telling you what to do’? Sheesh. No good deed goes unpunished, I guess.

          • “You need to watch more Simpsons.” so spoke gottabesaid.

          • You also need to lighten up.

          • You may like to live your life on someone else’s advice; I make my own choices. I’m not here to be liked.

          • You’re also not here to make comments based on all the information, either. If you were, you’d never have commented on my post in the first place.

          • “When Stephen Harper held that gun in his hands, I bet he felt a surge of power… like how God must feel when he’s holding a gun.” so commented gottabesaid.

            I point out abuse wherever I see it.

          • Noble. Do you also chastise your fellow Conservatives who call Justin Trudeau ‘Justine’?

          • Your original empty comment was not about making fun of a name. I don’t use the name ‘Justine’ when referring to Justin. But if I would do that, I would certainly not object to the fact that you would object to that use of name. And please do when I do.

          • It wasn’t empty. It was a shameless ripoff of the Simpsons. And you said you point abuse whenever you see it. I guess you were exaggerating.

  7. Jeez, Nick … one day they’re softening .. the next day they’re
    hardening … er, .. a distressing mental image .. please, no more.

    • I think my bosses would be unhappy with the content of just about every reply that immediately came to mind.

  8. harper certainly looks like a novice. watch out, you don’t hit yourself in the eye with that gun son(harper) ! and take off those glasses steveo, you look like a doof.

    • And why is he wearing a hijab?


      • Heh…i think you’re on to something. Something about that picture seemed odd. And now you mention it, it does look at first glance like a little old lady in a hijab firing a rifle.

    • Eye protection is a good idea while shooting. Seeing your target clearly even more so. Glasses = goodness.

  9. I don’t know Nick, call be biased[i am] but there’s something about that picture of Harper that just isn’t cool…he doesn’t do cool. Now a real leader would have ripped his shirt off and dived in the nearby lake and brought up a 40lb jack in his teeth.

    • Well the hat, coat and gloves are a bit much….jacket’s too tight as well

    • i hear that after the photo op they kept throwing Tony Clement into a freezing lake, and didn’t let him out until he started crying.

      • So he was just in for what, 6 seconds?

  10. What was unrevealed about this photo op was that the gun was not loaded, not even with blanks, and they had a Ranger closely observing the PM’s trigger finger and making the appropriate “Pow!” sounds at the right time.

    • Further unrevealed – all this is true and Harper actually believes he fired the rifle for realsises.

  11. I still say it’s Putin he’s gunning for not Trudeau. But he’s not in their league until he does the shirtless thing.
    Putin shows it off for the photos about once a week, and Trudeau went bare for the big boxing match. So Steve, time to reveal those massive pecs (?) and bulging biceps.
    Stronach set a hell of an 80 year old bar yesterday,

    • “But he’s not in their league until he does the shirtless thing”.
      Oh, yuck! Please, a sagging belly on a relatively young and out-of-shape humanoid, we do not want to see.

  12. Friendly reminder to gun owners that the prime minister looks comfortable with a firearm?

    Comfortable is such a strong word… Judging by the picture, I’d say he looks “slightly less awkward than usual” with a gun. (Sorry, Harperians, but you have to admit that he rarely looks comfortable, even when he actually IS comfortable!)

    But in all seriousness, I really can’t wait for the NDP to post an Instagram shot of Tom fixing a dimmer switch with a Smith and Wesson.

    • ” I really can’t wait for the NDP to post an Instagram shot of Tom fixing a dimmer switch with a Smith and Wesson”

      It would be so cool if he’s wearing a black cowboy hat when he’s doing that, fillin’ that dangnabit dimmer switch full o’ lead! Preferably in a saloon.

  13. Firing a gun does not make someone manly – particularly when he looks like a complete novice. I doubt he could even pull the trigger with those chunky gloves on.

  14. Oh, brother, how many way can you spell CREEP?!. Harper is such a major loser.

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