Smart. For Sure. But Cold
Date: Saturday, April 30 2005
Topic: Canadian Politics
Even those that would vote for Harper have to resort to vague and incidental reasons for why he would be their choice.''''''4Canada
Toronto Star, Apr. 30, 2005
Few doubt Conservative leader's abilities and intellect
But many still wonder if he can connect with voters
CALGARY—Even here in his hometown, Conservative Leader Stephen Harper remains unknown — and to some extent unloved.
People say they respect his intellect. Most interviewed by the Star this week say that whenever a federal election is called, they will almost certainly vote for Harper's Conservatives in order to drive what they see as a corrupt Liberal government from office. But, save for the few who know Harper personally, there is little affection.
"I think he's fake," says Dave Olsen, who runs a small jewellery shop on the University of Calgary campus. "A smart politician but a shallow man."
"He doesn't light my fire at all," says Gerald Winters after inviting a visiting reporter into his tidy home in Calgary Southwest, the riding Harper represents.
"With some people, you just know that this is the right guy. Not him.
"Still," Winters says, "he should be given a chance. I don't think the Liberals are doing a very good job and there's no one else."
Lavonne Howard, another of Harper's constituents, is harsher.
"I'm really disappointed that he's our choice," she explains over lunch at a pizza parlour in a south Calgary mall.
"I can't relate to him in any way. He seems polished, looks right. But what can I say? He has too much hair spray."
In a Safeway supermarket just a few doors down from Harper's constituency office, Sheena Meurin turns away from the paper towels to ponder a reporter's question.