The image of politics in Canada isn’t always what it seems. Indeed, a tale of two politicians illustrates this point quite clearly.
One political leader grew up in Ontario as the son of an accountant who worked for Imperial Oil. He later moved to Alberta and earned a master’s degree in economics from the University of Calgary and worked his way up the political ladder to Ottawa. He still owns a modest house in a modest neighbourhood in Calgary.
The other leader grew up in 24 Sussex at the feet of a prime minister who, along with his wife, is the closest thing to Canadian royalty this country has ever seen. After living a privileged childhood, he became a teacher — the only thing common in an uncommon life.
The two leaders, of course, are Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, respectively.
But due to the spin of politics, their image among Canadians doesn’t quite match up with their actual lives.
According to a Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey, 33 per cent of respondents picked Trudeau compared to 24 per cent for Harper when asked which leader “shares your values.”
What exactly those values are is anyone’s guess, but it’s likely to be handled by Trudeau in
a way that will relate to middle-class values, a group that stands at the centrepiece of his
leadership. No doubt he will say their values are his values.
But what is interesting is that the middle-class life he cites is quite foreign to Trudeau.
On the flip side, Harper, who is quite familiar with middle-class living and knows the benefits of tax breaks and the value of a buck, is seen to be the opposite of Trudeau.
The poll gives an insightful perspective on the two politicians and it will be interesting to see how polls nearing an election in 2015 play out and where, after the political spinsters get their hands even dirtier, their public image stands compared to reality.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.