Thursday's flying visit to the flood-ravaged Yorkton area was a classic Harper "photo op", with handlers steering newspaper and TV cameras into prime
positions while deftly keeping reporters and their pesky questions well away from the PM. After his plane landed at Yorkton Municipal Airport, Harper took
a helicopter tour over the area with Premier Brad Wall, met with a farm family and then was whisked back to his plane for a flight to the Calgary Stampede. The
whole thing was over in little more than two hours.
Harper didn't make a public statement or take questions and the event was so poorly managed that there wasn't even an opportunity to take a photo of Harper actually looking at a flooded field.
... And it's not just reporters Harper seems to loathe. It's anyone who appears to question him. In Parliament, when Harper tires of opposition parties asking awkward questions and demanding accountability, he shuts the place down by proroguing. There are those who think Harper is just doing his job as he sees fit and has no obligation to talk to the media. These are the same supporters who wonder why Harper often gets poor press.
Being prime minister entails communicating with Canadians -- and not just via photo ops and sterile news releases. Yorkton was yet another lost opportunity.
Same old, same old. The "image" of a prime minister without the substance. Karl Rove would be so proud.