Saturday, October 3, 2009

Canadian PM Harper & Yo-Yo Ma Sing The Beatles

Perhaps President Obama could take a page out of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's book.

There was a gala at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa this evening featuring world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

Then to the shock of the audience, Prime Minister Harper came out and sat down at the piano. Accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma, Harper then proceeded to sing the Beatles "With A Little Help From My Friends."

It is believed this song wasn't picked at random. Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff introduced a motion of non-confidence against Harper's Conservative government on Thursday. However, Jack Layton and the NDP opposed the motion effectively keeping Harper and the Tories in power.

So what would the audience have done if Harper had sung out of tune?

Well, not a thing. Harper actually sang in tune and got a standing ovation at the end of the song.

Ringo Starr should be proud.

If you don't believe me then check out this video.

In the past, Harper has been critical of government subsidies to the arts and culture and this cost the Tories seats in Quebec during the 2008 election. So Harper has been making amends as well as friends. Perhaps his appearance shouldn't be such a surprise as his wife Laureen was the co-chair of the gala which is raising money for arts and youth organizations.

But perhaps most importantly it shows "the human side" of Harper. I met Harper once during my travels on Parliament Hill and to say he is reserved is putting it mildly. I would have never believed Harper capable of something like this fifteen years ago much less five.

It also kind of reminds me of when Bill Clinton played saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show during the 1992 Presidential campaign. That appearance helped Clinton come off as "human." People also got the impression, "Man, he can actually do something."

For a lot of Canadians this is a side of Stephen Harper they've never seen before. Having this added dimension gives Harper an advantage against Ignatieff whenever the next election takes place. Ignatieff is seen in many quarters as arrogant, imperial, petutlantly professorial and condescending. Come to think of it arrogant, imperial, petutlantly professorial and condescending are adjectives I would use to describe President Obama.

Then again I could see President Obama and Michael Igantieff singing a Beatles song together - "Nowhere Man." Or perhaps "Taxman."

1 comment:

Cedarvale Toronto said...

Harper's performance just shocked me. I didn't think he would ever do something like this. And more importantly, he did it well. Wondering how his singing is going to influence the public opinion polls.