03.20.2011 07:31 AM

In today’s Sun: the connection election selection

Connection. You have it or you don’t.

Oh, sure, the Cons have laboured mightily to craft an Everyman persona for Stephen Harper. They’ve expended a few fortunes to convince you hockey rinks and Tim Hortons franchises are the summit of all Canuck wisdom — and it is Harper alone who loves it there.

Pardon me, but that’s horseshit. If anyone can produce a single undoctored photograph of Stephen Harper lined up for a double-double at a Tim Hortons prior to the 2004 election campaign, we’ll happily post it in this space and issue the requisite mea culpa. But they can’t.

The Tim Hortons thing, like every other political affectation that preceded it, is the invention of boys in the backroom. It’s BS. Ipso facto, he doesn’t connect.


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    ElitistattheGates says:

    How sad that the Everyman persona is what’s viewed as needed to win. I don’t want Everyman running the country as Everyman’s an idiot. He’s watching Don Cherry cheer on head shots while waving the flag 24/7 and never questions his government’s actions. How can he, he’s watching 2.5 men rather than understanding how his government works.

    Admittedly, I am biased, I’ll be voting LPC. Ignatieff is probably too smart for Canadians but, oddly enough, I want a smart leader. And he’s actually held jobs in the private sector unlike a certain PM who preaches the free market yet never was in it…and then had the government buy a car company (IPO was at $33 on that…where’s it now?). Ignatieff, like myself, spent many years abroad as oppsed to a certain PM who didn’t have a passport until he was how old again?

    Between the two, I guess Harper is closer to Everyman and he won’t get my vote.

    Oh, and for the record, I voted for Mulroney back in the day. At least he could say that he worked in the private sector while advocating it.

    They say George W. Bush was the POTUS people felt like they could have a beer with. He was a real Everyman.

    How’d he leave his party looking?

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      Canadiansense says:

      The RNC is cash poor. They have not recovered.

      The anti-bush-Republican wave has ebbed at polls. It has been two years since Obama beat McCain with the Democrats controlling the House (7years?) Senate (majority still) and White House. Historic mid-terms in November 2010 they fired the Democrats at all levels. Are they done? Unlikely. The State and Public unions are next.

      Mayor Rob Ford is starting to shake the nest in Toronto. Any bet if he will capitulate like Miller with the unions in securing concessions?

      Layton has won the beer contest. Our PM is winning on key issues: not the sideshow on the Hill.

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        ElitistattheGates says:

        Harper isn’t winning, the opposition is losing.

        As to Everyman, do want Everyman as your surgeon or lawyer?

        I’ll assume you’re familiar with the argument that the top 5% of society owns the vast majority of its wealth?

        Do you think that top 5% is Everyman?

        PM winning on key issues? Like what, the economy? How does governing like a Liberal make him a winner? How much stimulus was proposed in the Economic Update in Novemer, 2008?…I’ll save you the research…..ZERO.

        Perception may appear to be reality to Everyman, but rest assured it is not reality.

        Have a good day Everyman.

        p.s. When is the economy not the #1 priority of government? When times are bad, you want it to grow more. When times are good, you want it to grow without overheating.

        Harper is lucky the opposition don’t thirst after blood, like the top 5% do.

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          CanadianSense says:

          I don’t accept your premise we elect “everyman” and I don’t decide what the voters will gravitate towards. The pollsters are clear and we have had dozens of them excluding the latest batch in Feb-March with the Liberals polling 23% in three of them.

          The barbarians at the gate and democracy being destroyed being recycled from 1993 campaign won’t work this time.

          I agree the opposition is doing badly as reported in the polls, by-elections since 2006 and balance sheets.

          Are you asking me why the opposition parties have failed to improve their fundraising? Why their messaging is not resonating with the majority of Canadians?

          As a partisan Conservative blogger my voting reflects a change from my Liberal-NDP York South Weston roots. Some of us grow up and don’t blame others for their success. Wealth redistribution model from the progressive left does not sit well with critical thinkers outside the University circuit.

          Are the Conservatives perfect are they “fiscally conservative” enough? No, this is a minority and they have been flexible to win support for 5 years with having EVERY party take turns passing their policies.

          I don’t think Ignatieff is an effective leader/manager. Will he be held responsible for the Conservative majority and a reduction to under 50 seats? I have been clear on the funding gap and lack of success at the by election levels.

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            hugger says:

            Blah Blah, blah blah blah blah.

            You are critical CS, but a thinker you are not.

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            Philip says:

            It’s the Charlie Sheen defense for all the Conservative Party sleaze. “Wining. Duh.”. Just as effective too.

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      JStanton says:

      I can’t disagree with any of this. What pains me especially is that evidently it doesn’t matter that Mr. Ignatieff would make a better Prime Minister than Mr. Harper – certainly he has the required credentials. What matters is charisma – the ability to connect with enough people – regardless of real talent, or absent that, the willingness to deploy the type of subterfuge that caused Mr. Harper’s success, despite the awful consequences for Canada and Canadians.

      Mr. Harper will continue to prevail – not because he connects, but because he has no regard for the costs of his zealotry, and because Mr. Ignatieff has been unable to deploy his own subterfuge sufficiently.

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        Namesake says:

        Sure, MI comes off a bit stiff when he’s in his suit & tie — cuz he’s not really a suit & tie kinda guy;

        but if you see him around, or talking about his wife, he really warms up… and becomes goofy, even (a la Tom Cruise).

        That might help people connect with him more; there are some glimpses of it here in the new ‘Meet Michael Ignatieff’ video:


        others at http://www.youtube.com/user/liberalvideo

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        MH says:

        I’m Michael Ignatieff and you’re not!!!

        Stiff as a board.

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    Cath says:

    I don’t have a photo but I’ve actually seen Harper at McDonald’s with his kids at McD’s in Ottawa one Saturday morning. He knows how to stand in line….so I think you’re wrong on that characterization.

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      AB says:


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      hugger says:

      Probably his part time double. The rest of the time he works for Lego.

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    Canadiansense says:

    What if Canadians feel that he is the best to lead? The pollsters do a leadership thing and he wins against the only other party that was able to form a government. Your guy’s numbers are polling worse than Gilles on trust and honesty. Gilles is the guy who wants to break up Canada.

    This is not about if our PM drinks coffee, he like tea. Heck Tim’s par bakes their stuff and it shows.

    How can less partisan taxpayers trust the Liberals if their own supporters won’t show up or donate to their own political party?

    This is not 1993 and the Liberals don’t have the perfect storm with two regional parties destroying the PC party from both ends.

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      Namesake says:

      Enough with your endless “The CPC has 100,000 donors and the LPC only 50,000” drone, already — those are BOTH damn poor indicators of support in a population of over 20 MILLION voters, and you’re a hyper-partisan zealot to keep crowing otherwise.

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        MH says:

        The Cons should keep crowing as their fund raising is working to perfection.

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      Pete says:

      Mr. Carson and his penis may have delivered the perfect storm.

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        Jan says:

        Did you read the Maher column today – it’s a scene right out of Pretty
        Woman? Is Hy’s the only restaurant in town or what?

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    Skinny Dipper says:

    In the Toronto Star, Heather Mallick had a comment that she would hope that someone smarter than the average Canadian should be our prime minister. I believe she also mentioned that Mr. Ignatieff should not pretend to be someone he is not–an average Canadian. I agree. A leader should definitely be smarter than the average Canadian. He/she should be able to understand the needs of average Canadians, but does not need to imitate average Canadians. I do not expect Michael Ignatieff to line-up at a Tim Hortons drive-thru and scream that he wants a double-double.

    Pierre Trudeau: love him or hate him–he did not pretend to be an average Canadian. He was himself. He could canoe down a river or twirl around royalty. He didn’t pump his own gas when it was 20 cents per litre. Chocolate bars were 20 cents also. Then again, gas attendants pumped your gas for you.

    Mr. Ignatieff should be proud of his accomplishment in life. Let Harper and Jason Kenny pretend to be average Canucks by going through the drive-thru in order to seek the “timmigrant” vote. Apologies for using the derogatory term–timmigrant.

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    Ted says:

    You would never find Harper at a Tim Horton’s or an ice rink before his advisors told him it would help his chances. Deb Grey even admitted that publicly. And remember the Calgary Flames playoff run a few years back, he refused to put on a jersey or attend the game. His own home town.

    I did find this photothough.

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      Nastyboy says:

      Harper’s home town is Toronto. Not sure if he’s a Leaf’s fan though.

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        Pete says:


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          Raymond says:

          Toronto Maple Laffs
          That’s a good one.

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        Jan says:

        No really – a book on hockey? I hadn’t heard that one before.

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          hugger says:

          Yep, I have heard he is working on that. Right now he is busy working on trying to cultivate his very own Grenada.

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    Cameron Prymak says:

    The article brings more insight into our election-no election dilemmas than anything I’ve seen in a long time.

    As for electing a Joe Public persona, I don’t think that’s what WK is saying. We want somebody capable and dedicated to running the country, great (American) example I think was FDR. Couldn’t be defined as an average American but had great dreams and aspirations, faced adversity and could connect with others.

    Just as important as connecting with the electorate so is the ability to appear comfortable in your own skin. Chameleon like image makeovers make it more difficult for any level of comfort to be detected.

    I think that may be a prerequisite for ‘the connection’.

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    Curtis in Calgary says:

    ‘Everyman’ my ass. Harper and his cabal are as ‘elite’ as they come. Most of them wouldn’t know what to do with a snow shovel if it hit them in the face—and I wouldn’t mind being the one swinging (Metaphorically that is. Unlike Tommy Flanagan, I don’t advocate personal or state-sanctioned violence).

    ‘Everyman’ doesn’t suck at the public teat all the while riding their high horse of moral indignation bitching about the evils of big government—well big government that cares about the citizens at least, as apparently big government is just fine if it’s spending excessively on military, prisons, propaganda, professional lobbyists, dishing contracts to friends and supporters and branding a government in the name of an egomaniac.

    Stephen Harper – professional politician
    John Baird – professional politician
    Peter MacKay – professional politician
    Jim Flaherty – professional politician
    Stockwell Day – professional politician
    Tony Clement – professional politician
    Jason Kenny – professional politician
    Rob Anders – professional politician

    Virtually none of these guys have worked in the private sector. Contrary to what Harper said in 2006, being appointed to the presidency of the NCC does NOT make you an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur who has put everything on the line for my business, I was insulted when Harper used that example of HIM being an entrepreneur. I called BULLSHIT then! I call BULLSHIT now!

    Alas, it’s a great irony that The Reform and Alliance stalwarts who supported their parties in the early days by their constant bitching that our government was run by professional politicians and just how wrong that was, avert their minds to the truth of what they’ve become. Quelle surprise.

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    Curtis in Calgary says:

    Forgot to add Pierre Poilievre- professional politician and SMUGNESS personified

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      Derek Pearce says:

      Oh god, Poilievre. He must be doing something right from a Con perspective because I’ve never felt the urge to punch a public figure right in their smug little face before, until he came along.

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    beachdude says:

    I want to start off here to say that I follow the happenings in Ottawa but these”scandals” to me sound like nothing more than partison noise. With all parties trying to see if “scandals” have legs or not. While personally I do not think anyone is the Timmy’s guy, what bothers me about Iggy he that he does speak out of both sides of his mouth regarding my taxes and that doesn’t make me comfortable enough to support him. I think as a whole, we should vote for the most qualified person to be MP in each riding because this election is really a job interview and that is why I am voting for Chris Alexander in Ajax/Pickering. His resume is outstandling while Mark Holland is always looking for a camera to give a partison shot about anything or is suing someone who has connections to the CPC (I think he leads all MP’s in this manner). Mr.Alexander’s superior resume compared to the resume and antics of Mr.Holland have made my choice quite easy going into this election.

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      You'reahack says:

      Amusing to see one of the most biased posters from the G&M threads show up here as non partisan…and under their G&M name to boot.

      Take a hike loser.

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        Pete says:

        He’s trying to be nice for a change w/o realizing he’s the town joke. His garbage in the G&M certainly qualifies him for membership in the reformatort party

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    nic coivert says:

    Ignatieff has social skills, Harper has none.

    Harper can’t go into a room unprotected and unscripted, Ignatieff can.

    Ignatieff is earnest, Harper is Nixon.

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    Pat Heron says:

    Good column Warren. Look forward to seeing the photos roll in.

    Was with an intelligent thoughtful person last night who surprised me with her assessment of the two leaders: Ignatieff is not a people person, doesn’t connect, is wishy-washy; Harper is a “leader” who can “make a decision” despite not being a people person. So that seems to be the Con back-room message that is getting through, and not just to the Con camp. Decision-making is valued, especially if the bad ones are hidden or forgotten.

    I saw Ignatieff at a town hall. He was open and respectful, answering all questioners candidly — no ducking and weaving. Hope that comes through if there is an election. Let him drink Starbuck’s and show his brains and ability to make decisions.

    By the way, I like the fact that there are arguments and factions within the Liberal Party and that the members can actually joke about it. It is refreshing compared to the current repressive Con group where co-operation, consensus building and compromise are dirty words.

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    James Curran says:

    I like ya buddy. But in ’08 I had a beef with these statements.

    “Stephen Harper is winning, and will win, not because of that Tim Horton’s
    vs. Starbucks stuff I said in 2006. That doesn’t apply anymore, because he’s
    been in power for three years. Harper will win because he is the Everyman,
    and that is what folks want right now. They want someone like them. Next
    year, or maybe the year after that, we will want someone who isn’t like us
    at all.

    In this way, politics is like comedy. It isn’t about the quality of the
    material, necessarly; it’s mainly about good timing.

    Stephen Harper’s lucky. Who he is, how he is, fits the times. ”

    But I guess maybe he time is coming for this?

    “Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to over-romanticize this suburban,
    Leafs-loving Everyman stuff. The time will come – soon and soon enough, too
    – when we will again go in search of an erudite, over-achieving
    intellectual, and the Everyman will be discarded like last year’s election
    pamphlets. But, for the time being, the unremarkable is what Canadians want.
    And they’re the bosses.”

    Harper was never an EVERYMAN. He never really had a job. Kinda like Little Timmy Hudak. They’re professional bullshitters that’ll say anything on any given day if the polls tell them that’s what Canadians want to hear. The not-so-accountable, Mr. Accountability Harper will fall on his own accountability sword soon enough. An THAT will have nothing to do with whether or not either of the leaders are resonating with Joe and Joan Tim Horton goer.

    As I’ve written and said a hundred times since 2005. Canadians want to live in the greatest country on earth. They want to wake up in the morning and put breakfast on the table for their children and then ship themselves off to a job and be secure knowing that that job will be there in the years to come. And, at the end of the week when they get their paycheques from that job they want to have 10 bucks left over after paying the bills to buy their kids a pizza. They wanna know tht when tose kids get sick, they’ll be able to get them the care they need with the best health system in the world and that same healthcare system will be able to care for them when they’ve longsince retired from that job. They want to know that the pension they’ve earned on that job they worked at for 30 years is enough to pay the hydro bill every month and that they do’t have to eat pasta every single day because their savings are gone trying to pay their house tax, utility bills and groceries.

    That’s what Canadians want. Whether or not that security comes from an elitist or a Tim Horton’s everyman is irrelevant. They just want to hear that this is their future and all those things I mentioned will continue to be addressed and our great country will remain the greatest inthe world to live in. Nobody is saying it. Not Ignatieff (although his recent tours hinted that he will be campaigning on such issues). Not Harper.

    Sad really. I really love Canada and its perks it offers just by being its citizen.

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    James Curran says:

    sorry for the half million typos

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    dave says:

    Our media is such, and the Prime Minister’s Office power is such, that the article is probably accurate is suggesting that in a federal election we are voting for only one single leader.
    The fact that we vote for one representative in each of 308 constituancies can be buried in the national propaganda campaigns. Sometimes in local campaigns I have seen local candidates pretty well reading answers from scripts supplied by the party’s hq, with little or no reference ot local issues. Even in all-candidates I have often seen party workers dominate the microphones with scripted questions from party central. The national thrust of it all seems to me to drown out any local ‘voice’ in a campaign.

    As for ‘connection,’ I figured that two of the most successful ‘connectors’ I have seen were Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Both represented the economic elite, and both of their regimes accelerated capitalism’s artificial redistribution of wealth from the people to the putocrats, – yet, both came across as really down to earth, working people.

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      hugger says:

      Much like trying to have a real discussion with you. All one receives for responses are previously scripted packets of revisionist history, plausible denial and justification by virtue of past Liberal transgressions, real of perceived with a goodly dollop of innuendo for seasoning. Standard fare for the Harper team around ‘lection time, canned bananas and bullshit soup.

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      dave says:

      My view is that capitalism’s main aim is to accumulate wealth. That a useful product or service comes of capitalism is due to laws, regs, charters, zoning, by-laws and so on that we use to tell business, ‘If you want to make money in this community, you can do this, you cannot do that.’
      When capitalists put $100 in, they expect to get $110 out. If it is a better mousetrap, if it is a toxin, if it is credit defaults insurance, it doesn’t matter. $110 out is what matters.
      The ethic is take out more than you put in.

      Capitalism artificially, as I said, redistributes wealth to the already wealthy. Capitalist politicians and parties (aka, business friendly, or free enterprise firendly), when in power, accelerate that redistribution.
      Middle of the road politicians(like our Liberals) and social democrats (our NDP) think that social justice can be achieved in a capitalist system, and try to slow the redistribution of wealth to capitalists by keeping the wealth among the ‘commons,’ – to the great distress of capitalist, who just cannot get enough.

      I am not sure, Mr Tulk, that capitalism began as long ago as your comment suggests.

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    Raymond says:

    Good morning.
    Hmmm…no photo, but I once did see him ordering at the A&W on Gasoline Alley East when he was NCC pres. He was alone.
    He looked far more at ease than Iggy trying to swallow beer out of a can.

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    Greg says:

    Well, I doubt I have a pic of me buying anything from Timmy’s and I’ve been going there for years.

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    Martin Cooke says:

    I’m with you. It’s really odd, this idea that we should even want to think that Harper is just like everyone else. That’s the last thing I want. I want a weirdo super-nerd with an IQ of 190 who dabbles in gene splicing and who could name the past 10 Speakers of the House. I want him/her to have articled for a Supreme Court Justice and have built a successful export business with his/her allowance in high school. I want her/him to speak thirty two languages, and to be currently working on a sub-dialect of Maori. I want her/him to be the kind pf person with a strong opinion about Bismark’s pension policies. Etc.

    Leave the hockey to someone else, thanks.

    At least the Tories of old used to recognize that generally came from among the privileged, but believed that it demanded that they were responsible in running the place. When you hear Jim Flaherty try to position himself as somehow not one of the “Toronto elites”, it’s like we’re living in Bizarro-land.

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      Skinny Dipper says:

      Gord, do not use accent markers. Your sentences will be chopped off. Use nee, Montreal, Quebec City, garcon, mere, tete, and Madchen (Maedchen) without the accents.

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    Mulletaur says:

    See, Warren, you used the phrase ‘ipso facto’ – you are treating people like they have knowledge, like they can think. How could you, latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, UN-loving, One-World-Government secular humanist member of the intelligentsia that you clearly are, possibly know anything about connecting with the average Canadian ? Obviously far too high brow for the ordinary Canadian, must less the average Sun reader.

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      Skinny Dipper says:

      Hey Warren,

      Just how do you cross the iron curtain that separates the elitist Toronto from the scum that live in the rest of Toronto. How come you elites get to keep the 636 area code while the lowly Springfielders such as the Simpsons are given the more inconvenient 939 area code?

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    Skinny Dipper says:

    Fair comment. However, would Harper be able to describe being inside a Tim Hortons? Would he even be able to describe being in one in 2004? What do they sell? How is the service? What does it smell like? What contest does Timmy’s usually have? What charities does it support? What are the seats like? What sign does one see near the seats? Seating: 20 minutes or less. What restaurant is affiliated with Tim Hortons? Is it usually faster to go through the drive-thru or walk inside to purchase a coffee?

    Years ago, I remember president George Bush Sr. going into a supermarket and marvelling at the new technology: bar-code scanners at the check-outs. That technology had been around for years.

    I don’t expect leaders to be like the common person. They can be well-educated, and work in high places either in the private, public, or National Citizens Coalition sector. I do expect them to be able listen and understand the needs of Canadians. I also expect them to have a high sense of ethics.

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    WesternGrit says:

    Who is best suited to understanding all the trials and tribulations of a nation – from a historical and current events perspective?

    Who can navigate this land through the charted waters of international relations (hint: someone who actually traveled abroad)?

    Who would be best suited to understanding and negotiating an international trade deal?

    The answer on all 3 counts in Ignatieff.

    These are fundamental economic issues – that impact the well-being of every Canadian. Something the “average” voter will start to realize – if they haven’t already. Professional credentials help build nations (ask Manmohan Singh of India, or a series of recent British leaders). Mediocrity leads to mediocrity.

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    Lipman says:

    Gord et al:

    It is starting to get amusing watching you guys scramble.

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    allegra fortissima says:

    At Thunderbay’s famous Persian Man coffee and donut shop. Who says the man doesn’t know how to enjoy a good cup of coffee in good company?


    But this one… I don’t know:


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    Namesake says:

    And on this theme, here are the results of Angus Reid / Vision Critical ‘s new leadership poll, conducted just days ago (March 16-17, 2011, online, n=1,003, MOE 3.1%):

    “Please select up to 4 words [from the following 16] that describe feelings you have about Stephen Harper..”

    Ok, so thirteen percent of the respondents still had NO feelings about Harper (or at least none of the offered ones), which is down 5 points from 18% since they last ran this survey in 2007.

    (In contrast, Ignatieff’s still an enigma to 24% of the respondents, so even tho’ his approval is low, he’s got a lot more room to make converts through the course of a campaign),

    But the words picked most frequently (by at least 20% of All the respondents) by the respondents to describe how they feel about our Dear Leader Stephen Harper, which I’ll group here into Good, Bad, and Good enough / resigned were:

    – Optimism: selected by 26% of all the respondents; up 3 points since ’07, when 23% indicated they felt that way about him.
    – um, that’s it. (Tho’ 3% “love” him.)

    – Displeasure (selected by 35% of all the respondents — up 2 points since ’07’s 33%);
    – Disgust (25% – up 4 since ’07’s 21%);
    – Contempt (24% – up nine since ’07’s 13%);
    – Anger (22% – up 4 since ’07’s 18%);
    – Shame (22% – up nine since ’07’s 13%);

    Good Enough / Resignation:
    – Acceptance (28% — up 5 points from ’07. Sigh).

    Press release: http://urlm.in/hjdb
    Full tables & methodology (pdf): http://urlm.in/hjdc

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      Namesake says:

      oops, sorry, an uncorrected cut&paste boo-boo; should be:

      Contempt (24% ? up 4 since ?07?s 20%);

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    Harvey Martin says:

    Stephen Harper can’t skate. Funny how the Tim’s crowd doesn’t seem to know that.

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    MH says:

    Ignatieff is fake royalty

    Liz May is real

    Vote Green!!

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    Philip says:

    My pet peeve is the phrase:”Joe and Jane Frontporch” to describe the mythical Everyman voter.

    In the first place it is an American political meme, brought up by the hired guns who worked on the early Conservative campaigns. Apparently we can’t even have a uniquely Canadian politcal meme.

    Second, the implied Anglo-Saxon background of Joe and Jane. Small town Canada is a lot more diverse than the back room strategists would like us to believe. Twenty years ago that statement wouldn’t be true but alot has changed.

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    James Bow says:

    Shouldn’t that be “Ipsos-facto”? (rimshot!)

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    W.B. says:

    Same as “My hometown Calgary”. Harper’s hometown?

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    Dr.J says:

    One thing I do know is that the Leafs won’t be having a cup parade this spring and Iggy won’t be in Canada come September if we go to the polls

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      hugger says:

      That’s two things. By jove, you should apply to be Harpers minister of finance.

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