That should be the easiest question for any candidate to answer, right? Talk about a softball. Allan and I were positively dumbfounded that Stephen Harper couldn't handle it.
Reporter: "Do you love Canada?"
Mr Harper: "Canada's a great country...".
Mr Harper, return to school, and start at the beginning, with Politics 101:
Question: Do you love Canada?
Answer: I LOVE MY COUNTRY. That's why I want to....
Harper's lukewarm answer - uttered seemingly without conviction - displayed a total lack of political savvy.
Now Rob tells me that Harper was caught off guard, because "the patriotism question" is not used in Canada the way it is in the US. I get that. I really do.
However, (a) how can a man who has to face the media every day of his life be unprepared for a basic, straightforward question that should have a knee-jerk response and (b) liberal Canadian bloggers are questioning the Tories' patriotism, so he should have been prepared, regardless.
I don't like to see either side in an election campaign inpugn anyone's patriotism. It makes me sick when the Republicans do it to the Democrats in the US, and the Liberals here - and their supporters - shouldn't take a page from that book. Harper's vision of Canada is clearly very different than Jack Layton's, but neither one of them should be accused of hating their country. I was disappointed to see this trend in the Canadian blogosphere.
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In the early 90s, when I first started writing for New Mobility magazine, I interviewed one Sam Sullivan, who talked to me about kayaking, sailing, and other outdoor activities he enjoyed from his home in Vancouver. A friendly, upbeat guy, Sullivan raved about Vancouver, telling me it was the most beautiful and vibrant spot on the continent - and one of the most accessible. Sullivan uses a wheelchair, as do most New Mobility readers, and the image of this richly diverse, wheelchair-accessible city perched on the water has stayed in my mind ever since.
And I've just learned that Sam Sullivan is now mayor of Vancouver! I saw him on CBC the other night, and shouted out, "I know that guy! I interviewed him once!" (Beware seeing accomplished-people-who-use-wheelchairs with me around, I do tend to do that.)
The mayor! That is so cool. I'm going to tell my Kids On Wheels editor, and hopefully write about Sullivan as a "Roll Model". Sadly, the magazine doesn't have money to send me to Vancouver for an in-person interview. Rats.
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An equation: (swimming two days in a row) + (not swimming for 18 months) = ouch.
Day off needed today!
First Allan and I are applying for our health cards, having passed the three-month waiting period for Ontario. Then later we'll check out some Toronto fun, from the list you guys have compiled for us, supplemented with Time Out Toronto. Naturally I'll report back on both.