Our leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, turned up at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa Saturday night. It was a surprise to the audience at the gala event; Harper is not known to be a fan of the arts, and his presence at this sort of event is unexpected. You know what else is unexpected? This:
Politics aside, and musical taste aside, I just think it’s cool that he did this. Harper is known for maintaining strict control over his public image and message, and he does not like to look like anything other than a stately leader. When this happens, he is quick to make sure we Canadians get a different message.
The famous photo of him in a black leather cowboy vest and hat was the last time anyone saw him dressed like a member of the Village People. The shot of him sternly shaking his son’s hand on the first day of school made people question his approach to parenting, and led to a long list of photos of him being really dadly. And that shot someone snapped a couple of years back of Steve’s big belly led to not only a Harper weight-loss effort, but an encouragement to his caucus to cut the fat from their waistlines.
So I was surprised and happy to see him up there on stage, singing badly, unashamed and smiling, just a guy having some fun. It was a good reminder that he isn’t a robot after all. Just because he’s been accused of being against funding and supporting the arts doesn’t mean he has to get up on stage and prove he’s a rockin’ guy. Not at all.
Kind of cool that he had Yo-Yo Ma on stage with him, though.