“I think that if the [Stampede] founders could be here today and see the great city — see what has build up around this event — they would be amazed. They would be amazed to see that their Stampede has been part of giving birth to the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.”
Yes, the Prime Minister said that. At the Calgary Stampede last week. And why shouldn’t he? He does, after all, represent a Calgary riding, he’s been a resident for nearly three decades (despite having grown up in Toronto), and his professional career got its launch here. And, compared with a major Canadian metropolis like Toronto or Montreal, you’ve got to admit that Calgary does have quite a bit going for it.
Funnily enough, this is one of those statements that, oddly enough, can add to the Prime Minister’s personal appeal. Contrast what he said with the other party leaders.
Tom Mulcair: “I want to work hard for all Canadian cities. ‘I’m better than you’ is not the best way to get results.”
Bob Rae: “Toronto is my hometown. Now that I am a National Leader all of Canada is my home.”
The other leaders sound like they’re on a campaign trail, trying to be non-controversial and therefore sounding inauthentic. The PM, by contrast, sounds genuine.
Now, the PM’s proclamation isn’t going to make Canadians put Calgary on their travel itinerary. Jean Chrétien’s public affection for Shawinigan falls along the same lines: it’s a personal preference, like hockey and playing piano, a defining of the PM as a genuine person. You get the impression that journalists are trying to judo-flip this into something shameful, but so far the only person to take the bait is the mayor of Vancouver, who of course will boost his own city.