Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm just a regular Joe, with a regular job…

I know the Conservative messaging is that Stephen Harper is a regular guy that goes to Tim Horton's, writes books on hockey and shakes his children's hands good-bye on their way to school, but this story today takes the whole messaging narrative just a tad too far:

Mexican President Felipe Calderon and his family are about to share in that most Canadian of summer experiences – a day at the cottage.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has invited his NAFTA partner and new-found political soul mate to spend the night at the prime minister's official summer residence at Harrington Lake next Tuesday, the first time Mr. Harper has extended an overnight invitation to a foreign leader for a stay at the cottage.

Mr. Calderon, his wife Margarita and their three children will be heading to Harrington Lake in the Gatineau Hills of Quebec at the end of the North American free-trade agreement summit with U.S. President George W. Bush in nearby
Montebello, Que.

Harrington Lake, a cottage? Sure, if a main building with 16 rooms covering 8,300 square feet with eight outbuildings, situated on 13 acres of grounds, counts as a cottage. That’s a much bigger cottage than any house I’ve ever lived in.

But in order to play into this Harper as regular guy myth the Cons pretend he’s just having Calderon up to the ‘cottage’ and the media just play along. Maybe Calderon can help him with his book on hockey over beers?

And is a summer at the cottage really a regular Canadian experience anyway, or is it an upper-middle class to wealthy Canadian experience? Now, the great thing about using terms like regular or average in political messaging is that nearly everyone, despite their social or economic strata, identifies themselves as normal or average.

But growing-up an Air Force brat my family was certainly never able to afford a cottage. We went camping, in tents. Cooked canned potatoes on a Coleman Stove. Much fun. Now, if Harper takes the Mexican president camping then maybe this regular guy narrative will be going somewhere...

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JimBobby said...

Whooee! Cottage, my ass! Everybuddy knows a REAL cottage has walls that don't go all the way to the ceiling and curtains instead o' doors. The cupboards are filled with chipped, mismatched china and you need a flashlight to use the outhouse after dark. There's a stack of 4 year old Field & Stream magazines next to the pull-out sofabed.


A BCer in Toronto said...

Sure it's Field and Stream you're reading there JimBobby?...

Dan said...

Jeff, point of order, if you're going to title a post like that, you really ought to embed this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCHYOwbxDhE

JimBobby, I recommend a Coleman lantern over a flashlight for night-time outhouse trips.

A BCer in Toronto said...

I was trying to be a bit subtle with the reference Dan, but I'm glad you got it. :)

ottlib said...


I saw the PM driving around in his limo the other day and it had whale skin hubcaps and baby seal eyes for headlights.

As well, I swear I saw John Wayne, Lee Marvin and a case of whiskey in the car with him.

So maybe there is something to Mr. Harper's claims to being