Is Harper a Stephanie Kaye or a Joey Jeremiah?
Aaron Wherry, Macleans.ca | Apr 19, 2007 | 6:11 pm EST
The Scene. According to IMDB.com, Michelle Muntean – now famous as the Prime Minister’s image adviser – once worked on the CBC program Under the Umbrella Tree. That show just so happened to star Stacie Mistysyn, who just so happened to play Caitlin Ryan on Degrassi Junior High.
In effect, Stephen Harper is separated by just two degrees from one of the greatest teen idols in Canadian television history. This strikes us as a fantastic development – quite possibly rendering Harper the coolest prime minister ever.
We were mulling all this over on Thursday afternoon when Harper, looking nicely bronzed, rose to answer another question from Stphane Dion about the government’s Afghanistan policy. “I have to say this,” the Prime Minister said. “We did not hear a lot about this in the last few months because Canadian troops had not suffered casualties. We see some unfortunate casualties and they are back to attacking the mission.”
Oh, that Harper. Never quite refuting an opponent so much as suggesting they are in partnership with Satan.
For obvious reasons, this latest example of Harperese – together with the revelations of his strange connection to Caitlin Ryan – got us to thinking. Specifically, if Stephen Harper were a character on Degrassi Junior High, which character would he be?
This is a complex and intriguing question, the answer to which is probably entirely subjective. Thankfully, after thinking it over for about 15 minutes, we’ve narrowed the possibilities to two competing theories.
Theory #1: Stephen Harper is Stephanie Kaye
Liberal supporters will enjoy this theory. Stephanie was class president and generally considered to be both popular and cool. Still, she was a very divisive and arguably troubled character.
Degrassi.ca – the unofficial Degrassi website – describes her as “a manipulative immature person who would hurt anybody to get ahead.” We have vague memories of her treating her brother, the well-meaning if generally uncool Arthur, quite poorly.
Stephanie was probably most famous for her own image makeover and her subsequent run for the class presidency, including the controversial campaign slogan “All the way with Stephanie Kaye.” She was eventually impeached.
Theory #2: Stephen Harper is Joey Jeremiah
It is on this theory, we believe, that the Prime Minister’s Office is basing much of its communications strategy.
Joey Jeremiah was not a very good student and he spent approximately 73% of his afternoons in detention. He often wore a fedora and his best friends were named Snake and Wheels, respectively. Together they formed a rock band called The Zit Remedy that, by all accounts, had only one song.
Still, for all his misdeeds and awkwardness, there was always something endearing about Joey. As Degrassi.ca explains, “Joey is really an immature, innocent, and child-like character. He is annoying, but not hated, because he is not malicious.” He was by far the most popular character on Degrassi Junior High and often at the centre of the show’s greatest story lines. Eventually, he even won the heart of Caitlin (who, in this theory, is a stand-in for the Canadian public). He would later work as a car salesman.
To be honest, we could see this going either way. And somehow, determining whether Stephen Harper is Stephanie Kaye or Joey Jeremiah now seems the pivotal question of his term in office – the basis upon which he will either succeed wildly or fail miserably. Is he a reckless power-monger bound to undermine himself with his own desperate pleas for popularity? Or is he a loveable goof who can’t help messing up every so often but ultimately means well?
For whatever reason, we find ourselves wishing Mr. Raditch was around to help us sort this out.
The Stats. (A daily breakdown of the issues that dominated Question Period.) The environment, 11 questions. Softwood lumber, six questions. Afghanistan, five questions. Hussein Celil, three questions. Foreign consular offices, fiscal imbalance, fighting terrorism, the fishing industry and the Ianiero murders in Mexico, two questions each. The Queen, Quebec’s shrimp industry and Senate reform, one question each.
Guttural Exchange of the Day. NDP leader Jack Layton to the Prime Minister: “Has he the guts to bring Bill C-30… before the House and when will he do it?” Harper to Layton: “The real issue here is whether any of the opposition parties has the guts to face reality.”
John Baird Highlight of the Day. The Environment Minister managed to reference, indirectly or directly, the following past and present Liberals while defending the government’s climate change policy: David McGuinty, Sheila Copps, Ralph Goodale, Anne McLellan, Garth Turner, Michael Ignatieff and Scott Brison.