In an odd series of events, I found out this morning that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would be visiting the school across the street from my home in Guelph. He was going to make some announcement about the charity “Let’s Talk Science”, a program that promotes science in schools. Although I am not the biggest fan of Mr. Harper, I decided to see just how close I could get to this event. Pretty close as it turned out. It was as easy as walking into the school, showing my business card and driver’s license, putting on a media pass, and joining all the other press.
The kids were so excited and for that I was happy. Amongst the press, however, there was skeptical ramblings that this was merely a political move with hints at an upcoming election. I particularly enjoyed the part when one of Harper’s aides went around to the press and invited them to ask a question during the Q&A. The condition – the questions had to be submitted and approved in advance. I guess this is how politicians roll with public appearances.
Part way into the Q&A a student standing in the group behind Mr. Harper began to feel ill and nearly fainted. It was entirely not a big deal and the school staff very quickly and discreetly aided the boy, without disrupting the event. Mr. Harper’s aide drew attention to this and Mr. Harper took that as his opportunity to end the Q&A with one more question. Shortest Q&A of all time. Politics.
In the end I didn’t even hear what the official announcement was. It was that insignificant. Just a lot of hand-shaking and back-patting. I’ll chalk this one up to another lesson in politics.