Need to know: How a Harper photo-op raises expectations - Macleans.ca

Need to know: How a Harper photo-op raises expectations

And why a Prime Minister’s Club isn’t anywhere on the horizon

by

Adrian Wyld/CP

“I’m not a grumpy politician anymore. I’m a statesman.” —former PM Brian Mulroney

Four prime ministers sat beside each other on an airplane to South Africa, and they even shared some laughs. The National Post‘s front page attributed the scene to the Mandela Effect, a nod to the late world leader’s unfailingly positive influence on those around him, even as they travel to his memorial. The Post consulted a team of PR experts who explained exactly what the image of the former prime ministers means, from why there was only one drink on the table to how the quartet arranged themselves.

All of that from a photo on an airplane, expertly snapped. Stephen Harper looks like a leader among leaders. Tom Mulcair, of the opposition NDP, was also on the airplane, as were two former governors general, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo, Alberta Premier Alison Redford and former justice minister Irwin Cotler. They’re not pictured, though. They’re elsewhere, doesn’t matter where. The Prime Minister, who’s not had too many shining moments in Ottawa of late, and only brief snippets of public revelry in between, could use a happy photo in the papers. Voilà.

Mulcair did manage to tweet a photo of himself with former PM Jean Chrétien, former GGs Michaëlle Jean and Adrienne Clarkson, as well as Gaston Barban, the High Commissioner to South Africa. Quite a group, to be sure, and it was smiles all around. But a tweet doesn’t get picked up by the papers when it’s up against four prime ministers, including the guy in power.

The Ottawa Citizen mused about the utility of a Prime Minister’s Club, a quasi-council of elders meant to impart wisdom. David Mitchell, the president and CEO of the Public Policy forum, laments the absence of such an arrangement because Harper “suffers the lack of wisdom that his predecessors represent by not drawing upon the experience and counsel of people who have held that lonely office.” Fair point: people learn from other people. But if anyone’s expecting this Prime Minister to found that club, and go beyond your average sunny photo op with the old gang, they should prepare to be disappointed.

 

What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail The feds want to invest in aboriginal K-12 education.
National Post
Six things to know about Stephen Harper‘s trip to South Africa.
Toronto Star The Parliamentary Budget Officer is still trying to assess government cuts.
Ottawa Citizen Liberal MP Irwin Cotler is asking the feds about victim surcharges.
CBC News Barack Obama called Nelson Mandela a “giant of history.”
CTV News Obama was one of dozens of heads of state to mourn Mandela.
National Newswatch The federal Liberals could win most Montreal seats in 2015.

 

What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL G20 conviction. Const. Babak Andalib-Goortani was sentenced to 45 days in prison for using excessive force during the G20 protests of June 2010. Andalib-Goortani, 33, was released on bail pending appeal. His lawyer argued for an absolute discharge because of his client’s personal setbacks.
THE GLOBAL Water. A long-negotiated deal will see a desalination plant on the Red Sea pump 100,000 litres of water a year through a 180-km pipeline to the Dead Sea, which has receded drastically in recent decades. The plant will also pump water to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian authority.

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