In this corner, Stephen Harper:
What Harper Did
The Prime Minister, like millions of other Canadians, belongs to a Church, in this case the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Nothing wrong with that, right? After all, in this enlightened age we don't attack a person for their religious beliefs, right? In fact, embracing Christian and spiritual values might even be considered a good thing, right? Wrong! Harper's religion apparently makes him dangerous.
Why It's Bad
Check out, here, here and here, and you will see why Harper's choice of churches has some people in a tizzy. Basically, the argument goes like this: 1) Harper belongs to an oddball Christian cult. 2) Harper makes his policy decisions based on this cult's superstitious teachings 3) this explains why Harper is "anti-science" and why he hates the environment. Of course, it's all nonsense, but sometimes nonsense works.
When Gerry Nicholls is saying nice things about Stephen Harper, you know the media has gone too far. I had thought the Harper the Theocrat meme died out years out. Guess not. Why come up with new insults when the old ones are so close at hand? Coming up with new insults would divert precious energy from the schmoozing, texting and drinking that comprises so much of the modern scribbler's working day. Actual research on real issues? Pshaw!
The Prime Minister is no more religious than any other modern Canadian Prime Minister. Even when Canadians were a far more devout people than they are today, it was preferred that politicians wore their faith lightly, lest they trip the Protestant-Catholic tension wire. Talk of religion a century ago was kept as ecumenical as possible. Today the PM occasionally uses God in a speech. Then again Pierre Trudeau actually put God in the Charter. Remember that? Yeah.
By contrast we have Maclean's doing its thing by listing Justin Trudeau's top 10 swimming spots:
“Over the course of my life and travels, I have rarely resisted the urge, upon visiting a beautiful place, to strip down to my skivvies and jump in the water (regardless of how cold or inappropriate it may be). Here, then, is a non-exhaustive list of some of my favourite dips from across the country, from west to east.”
I'll give you a moment to get that mental image out of your head. Ah, Chivas dulls the pain.
Where was I? Right. The impression you're suppose to get from Justin's Top 10 list is that he is really, really cool. Much cooler than Stephen Harper or Thomas Mulcair. Way cool. To those less enamoured with his last name and tossed curls, the more likely impression is that our Once and Future King has way too much time on his hands. The ordinary Canadian working stiff might, if he can scrimp up enough time off, go down with the kids for a week to Disney World. How many of us can claim to have "poached" a hot tub at Whistler? One of the most expensive cities in North America.
Note the narrative: The son of an upper middle class accountant from Leaside is an out of touch elitist. The son of a former Prime Minister, as well as the grandson of millionaires and cabinet ministers, who spends his vacation "swimming with the icebergs" understands the concerns of ordinary Canadians. The dig against Lord Iggy was that he was an out of touch elitist. So naturally the Liberal Party pins its hopes on the closest thing this country has to a Crown Prince in residence.
There is, of course, the actual monarchy. We can be fairly certain that Her Majesty has never swum with large blocks of slow moving ice. It's an open question as to whether Prince Harry has ever taken a look at the Arctic Sea and had an inexplicable urge to jump in. Therein lies the difference. Prince Harry being Prince Harry is expected. Every generation of royals has a wild child. Had Princess Margaret lived in the age of cell phone camera it's unlikely she would have fared much better than her great-nephew. But then again aside from embittered old Aussie Anglophobes, who cares?
Prince Harry doesn't pretend to be a Prime Minister in waiting. He is behaving as most people of his age and with his opportunities would behave. Aside from embarrassing his father and grandmother, he causes very little harm in the affairs of his country or the Commonwealth. Should the Son and Heir actually ascend to the Liberal Throne and, by some miracle, return to 24 Sussex Drive the damage could be far greater than the aftermath of a wild weekend in Vegas.
With so active and craven a group of MSM cheerleaders Justin Trudeau has a tremendous advantage. This again contrasts sharply with Stephen Harper who was routinely linked with Nazis and Rednecks in his early political career. Not a word of truth to such allegations, but media is politics by other means. Despite the vigorous smearing of Harper as a vicious extremist, as opposed to the reality of a pragmatist who limps to the Right, he still won. Three times in a row.
The Prime Minister's repeated electoral success is based on the fact, uncomfortable to many, that he is most qualified person currently available. The Right may bemoan his ideological slacking, the Left his supposed fanaticism, but the alternative is who? A Liberal bench warmer? Libby Davies? Lizzy May? In the land of pygmies he bestrides the world as a badly coiffed colossus. These are the facts, horrible though they may seem. No amount of spin can eliminate the Fact of Harper. No amount of spin, at no number of remote Canadian swimming spots, will change the fact that Justin Trudeau is not qualified to lead a conga line, much less a G7 country.