Monday, July 19, 2010

Fifth Annual Politicians in Cowboy Hats

For a brief history of Stampede fashion, you can read the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 round-ups.

You never quite now what you'll get at the Stampede. The boy from Calgary became a national laughing stock when he mistook the Stampede for a Village People convention in 2005. And the geeky Liberal pushing the carbon tax was named "best dressed" by both this blog and CP in 2008.

Of course, 6 months later Dion had been pushed out as Liberal leader, and 6 months after leathervestgate, Harper was Prime Minister. So it's best not to read too much into this (unlike, say, a broken down bus which we all KNOW is directly linked to electoral fortunes).

Federal Politicians

Once again, we have a surprise winner this year in the "best dressed" category. Why, it's none other than Mr. Ivory Tower Michael Ignatieff. The urban legend in Calgary is that no one had ever been able to find a cowboy hat big enough to fit Ignatieff's head, but for the first time in five years he has moseyed into town in full gear, hat included, and he doesn't look the least bit out of place.

Wait, I thought he said he liked the smell of barns! Flip flop!

Layton and Harper have been to enough stampedes that we know what to expect from them. Layton always winds up looking surprisingly at ease for a mustached Toronto socialist. And Harper? Well, since leather vest gate, he always plays it safe and gets a C+/B- grade. The man never looks comfortable, but at least he doesn't embarrass himself.

You know, despite all the talk of Harper playing chess, I've always thought his tactics were more of the "detonator" variety. Kelowna Accord? KABOOM! Census? KABOOM! Promises not to appoint senators? KABOOM!

But if Harper and Layton have become too predictable, let's all raise a glass of sillabub to toast Elizabeth May. Worst dressed in 2008. Best dressed in 2009. And this year? I'll reserve judgement until I can find a picture of her before she tumbled into the tie dye trough.

And, in the interests of by partisanship, a special shout out to stampede superstar Jim Prentice - yeah, he's got a bad record as environment minister, but he rides a horse in the parade every year and looks like he could handle himself in the rodeo.

Prentice has a wide range out outfits and he makes them all work. And the ladies can't get enough of Jim's talk of voluntary 40 year emission reduction targets.

Provincial Politicians

Ed Stelmach disappoints every year at the Stampede. In 2007, he had us all smacking our heads on the ground when he called it "the Alberta Stampede". The last two years, he has celebrated the Alberta Stampede by wearing a suit jacket over top of his cowboy duds. A major no-no.

And this year, it's more of the same. On the weekend, he went with a rather unflattering vest that Ed's mom appears to have sewn his name into, and on Tuesday he dusted off the suit for the third straight year.

But despite my criticism of Stelmach, I'm going to give his Finance Minister the title of "Worst Dressed" this year. I'm hesitant to do this based on a profile picture, but I can't imagine anything going on below the shoulders that could salvage this outfit.

Once again, Ted is just trying to hard. When he ran for leadership, he drafted a catchy little country music jingle. He holds "golf and gun" fundraisers. But, really, he's just a university professor from the big city trying to pass himself off as a good 'ol country boy. And, in this case, it shows.

Which brings us to David Swann who is an academic from the big city and doesn't pretend to be anything else. In fact, he rode his bicycle in the Stampede parade this year.

But you know what? Even though Swann looks completely out of place every year, he puts on the hat, the boots, and the belt buckle. He hosts one of the largest stampede breakfasts in Calgary. And he always looks like he's having a great time. That's something Albertans can respect.

Municipal Politicians

This is Dave Bronconnier's last stampede as mayor and I'll give the man props, he has always dressed, looked, and acted just like the Mayor of Calgary should during stampede. Hell, the man even rides a horse for crying out loud.



  • I'm hoping Jack Layton is getting better. He looks really thin in the picture you posted.

    By Anonymous Sean Cummings, at 8:59 AM  

  • Sean:

    I saw Jack in person a couple of weeks ago in Toronto at a black tie event. He looked gaunt and pale. He does not look healthy at all.

    By Blogger Reid, at 11:45 AM  

  • FYI. Stelmach's wearing a Calgary Stampede vest.

    You've been in Toronto too long not to notice the "CS" logo?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:34 PM  

  • Wow Ignatieff does look great... completely natural...

    This should seriously be his new look.

    By Anonymous Jacques Beau Verte, at 11:13 PM  

  • No Danielle Smith pictures? I think she'd be able to pull off the look quite well.

    By Anonymous Deb, at 12:28 PM  

  • What you seemed to have missed is the white hat Ignatieff is wearing is way too small. He was officially White Hat-ed by Alderman Brian Pincott that day, and despite the fact - I'm told - that it was the largest hat available, it remained awkwardly perched a'top his head for the remainder of the breakfast.

    Man, does that man have a melon!

    By Blogger Matt Grant, at 1:52 PM  

  • I don't see why this world class event is fed-funded if world class gay pride parade in T.O. isn't.

    With land use, emissions from tar are around 130% of oil (and around 75% for methane, too bad Harper doesn't switch truck fleet over like he promised to copy). AB killed the free market carbon tax; her philosophy is okiedoke with end of civilization but not a free market carbon solution. Voted in a PM who put the ball in USA's court. USA needs domestic jobs so if the choice is kill the coal or kill the tar imports, duh. And small-g cheerleading not helpful for exports either. I did all I could for carbon tax and AB. How many EC votes does AB have? Maybe should join. $60B in historic federal funding buys a lobby against future mid-20th century growth events elsewhere in Canada. No daycare, no wind, no new trucks, no retrofits, no wave, wave bye-bye Canada's future.

    By Anonymous anochrism, at 10:58 AM  

  • My preferred solution is a simple lobby-free pork-free carbon tax. Now that we've been brainwashed that and not Cgy-Chi biz school neocon principles leads to Great Depression, my second preferred solution is the bank report last year suggestion to buy up the most carbon intensive companies/crowns/sites. If we did it earlier, say during P.Martin or Dions PM stint, could use the revenue to attract everything the world's stimulus paid for green. The oil industry in 1970s couldn't diversify in USA; they tried mining (CSP uses copper and wind is employment-intensive aerospace) and sucked (though we have mining competancy in this land). While EU weaned themselves off oil and built post-modern states, repaying the world for WWs. If AB took the payout, would be able to build sustainability, or would piss it all away? I look at idiot and superidiot tied in polls, and I know the answer.

    By Anonymous anachronism, at 11:48 AM  

  • Last election PM platform was diesel tax break instead of natural gas (or even future battery R+D at Edm's NNI) truck retrofits, based out of AB or whatever base location. If we did it then we wouldn't've just had a 33M truck market, we'd've had a shot at 370M. Now I assume after this summer we'll be buying from American companies. Is a problem with lobby economy that no one cries foul that those jobs are lost. I'd love to make $10/hr+ once in my life in the private sector; but I won't sacrifice Earth to do it like you all are.

    By Anonymous anachronism, at 11:53 AM  

  • ...guess who would've supplied the natural gas for a green trucking fleet? No if I'm a biz person looking for a trucking company, and I see a carbon-soot intensive fleet on one side of the border, and a sane fleet on the other...200000 truckers lobbied for their own unemployment last election, as I witnessed at Dion's town hall.
    At least Harper didn't go into a homeless shelter and insult them during last election.

    By Anonymous anachronism, at 1:03 PM  

  • I like your blog very

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