Monday, May 02, 2005


Fine print

Stephen Harper was in Sarnia last week visiting the Pathways Health Centre for Children and doing some finger painting with children. It had the makings of quite a good photo opportunity, however, it wasn't so smooth. The Opposition leader avoided a suggestion the tour was an exercise in showing his softer side. "The real reason I came here was to practise my fingerpainting," he said. That is good because that is exactly what he needs to do. As Paul Wells put in Macleans last month, Harper needs to show that he cares about the country and wants to run it.

Well it appears that Canadians (and Tories) shouldn't get too excited about this new soft side of Harper. According to Ottawa Citizen columnist Anne Trueman, his friendly image needs some more work. In her Minority Report on Saturday, Trueman wrote that the picture of a smiling Harper finger painting with children in Sarnia went a long way to painting the Tory leader as a looser, more comfortable shmoozer. Just before the cameras rolled he wasn't quite in the mood yet. Reporters nearby watched him doff his jacket, loosen his tie and whisper to one of the finger painters: "Don't touch me." Nice work Iceman, way to scare the kids!

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