The Calgary Stampede got under way last week. Some folks demonstrated against the annual event as being cruel to animals. But westerners love their stampede and politicians, knowing this, are all over this event like maple syrup on a flapjack. This is a chance to rub shoulders with the little, er, ah, working people; to roll up their sleeves, roll out their smiles and roll about in the dirt – metaphorically speaking.
This year’s parade marshals were Jet and Cord McCoy from Oklahoma. Now if those names sound familiar it’s because Jet and Cord are reality show stars from The Amazing Race.
Never one to miss an opportunity, the Prime Minister was photgraphed with the cowboy globe trotters, deep in what appeared to be a real heart-to-heart conversation.
The Prime Minister’s wardrobe is toned down somewhat from a few years back.
The staged photo with the McCoys was reminiscent of a stunt pulled a year or so ago by NDP leader Jack Layton who attempted to appeal to the patriotic side of Stampede-goers, while not having to talk at all.
For his part, in an effort to show he was a down-to-earth, man-of-the people kind of guy, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff took a less staged and more direct approach with Stampede lovers.
Later that evening the Opposition leader hosted a BBQ for Alberta Liberals. It was a very small event. In fact, you could probably have counted the number of participants on one hand. Nevertheless it was a lavish affair which included typical Stampede fare: hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken wings and ribs.