On Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s annual tours of the North, like the one he undertook this week, photographers know to be quick with their cameras whenever Harper mounts an ATV or gets down on the ground to fire a .303 Lee Enfield rifle. Whatever the photo opportunity, though, one thing is constant—the big, blaring CANADA brand frequently emblazoned across his chest or back.
The patriotic clothing line, from the Bay’s Olympic Collection, has become a staple for Harper at events where his go-to sport jacket and open-collar shirt are still too formal. During his 2011 election campaign, Harper wore the jacket for many a stump speech and to photo-ops, sporting it as he posed with preschoolers and bowled with seniors.
Laureen Harper wears the Hudson’s Bay Olympic gear, too, and donned a red Canada jacket while boarding the plane bound for Hay River, Northwest Territories. In Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, she wore a white hoodie bearing the word ‘Canada’ in blue text as she was presented with a seal-skin purse this week.
When it comes to world leaders, the Harpers seem to be alone in their overtly patriotic apparel. We don’t see U.S. President Barack Obama wearing a jacket emblazoned with a screaming bald eagle against a backdrop of stars and stripes (though, we wish he would). Instead, The U.S. president is known to clip a stars-and-stripes pin to his suit lapel. Likewise, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron keeps his sartorial patriotism subtle, and has been spotted wearing Union Jack cufflinks.
But really, what’s not to like about the Canada jacket? Harper’s version is a basic black, and the jacket itself connotes the national pride that swelled in Canada during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. If past behaviour is any predictor, we can expect to see Stephen Harper’s Canada jacket, and Laureen Harper’s Canada gear, make at least a few more public appearances in the months, and years, to come.