Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leslie Feist v. Stephen Harper - musicopolitical smackdown time?

I'm just thawing out my typing fingers from the freezing they got at today's Rally for the Coalition at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto. I know it's not traditionally sympatico for journalists to join such things, but Harper's latest moves have really upset me. I've lived in cities from West to East across this country, and I love it all the way across. And I have never seen a leader as divisive as Harper, someone who seeks to divide people and regions rather than unite them.

So I went and shook my sign and said "boo!" and "yay!" at all the appropriate parts; 'tis political theatre after all, but hopefully a useful kind. In any case, I was a little surprised to see Leslie Feist there onstage with coalition leaders Dion and Layton--does this mean no more cool-kid Sesame Street skits will be played by the youngsters of the Harper household? No more date-night soundtracks for Stephen and Laureen courtesy of a certified Calgary-bred crooner? It ain't a Will-i-am/Obama-level stunt, but it interests me how celebrities might try to use their influence in these instances, and what politicians' families feel they must do as a result. (Recall how Laureen Harper, reportedly a theatre fan, had to bypass a National Arts Centre gala after her hubby dissed the arts, and galas for same.)

On a different creative-person-turned-politico note, MC Mary Walsh was terrific. Her career as a humorist definitely serves her well in this capacity. "You guys must be freezing out there. It's hard having a PM with all the warmth of an iceberg... who's treating the nation as his own personal Titanic," she proclaimed. Also, when Dion and Layton were taking too much time to reach the stage, she said "Oh, they must be working on a little video back there. I'm sure we'll see it soon." Yay Mary, and all our great Canadian comedians who lighten up these dark times.

Image of Feist--at an awards gala, watch out Harper!--from

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