At least our man isn’t Donald Trump

May 11, 2011

Canadians like to complain that Stephen Harper is a cold fish, a man so devoid of personality and charisma he wears an earpiece operated by a real live human who tells him when to smile—or so I’ve heard.

Yes, it’s true his staffers had to force him to drink a sip of champagne for his victory night photo op. Yes, it’s true he shakes his own son’s hand before school. But we already know all that. Harper has always been like that awkward math teacher you had in high school who tried to shut down the school newspaper and kick kids out of assemblies for wearing the wrong shirt.

There’s no surprise there, just like there’s nothing remotely cool about the party he leads. They are the angry chess club of Canadian politics. When Harper’s Tories swept to power earlier this month, one man remarked on Twitter that “the Conservatives are like Nickelback (that gratingly annoying Canadian rock band). I don’t know anyone who likes them, but they always seem to do well.”

But if you’re dreading the next four years living under a Harper majority government, consider this: at least he’s not Donald Trump. No matter how terrible our leaders may seem, we can never outdo our neighbours to the south when it comes to finding truly unqualified people to run the nation.

Trump, of course, isn’t a leader yet, but he wants to be — as the next Republican president. That Trump, a real estate tycoon with a string of bankruptcies and a laughably cartoonish reality TV host, thinks he’s fit to run the most influential nation on Earth says a lot about what’s wrong with the United States.

Stunningly, many Americans agree with him. A Pew Research Center survey in April asked Republicans which potential candidate they had heard most about, and 39 per cent said Mr. Trump — more than all the other candidates put together. A New York Times/CBS poll found 32 per cent of Republicans view him favourably.

Trump has long been a bit of a running joke in American pop culture – but he doesn’t seem to know it. He genuinely thinks he’s a legitimate contender for the White House.

Riding his ego alone, there he was, demanding to see President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, stoking the fires in an already ultra-partisan, conspiracy-obsessed nation. In Canada, count ourselves lucky our conspiracies are limited to whether Tim Hortons’ maple glaze doughnuts are really just vanilla glaze doughnuts with brown food colouring. (They are! I read it somewhere online!)

Imagine if Canada’s political discourse even remotely mirrored the bizarro world that has become Trump’s America. We all know Jack Layton was born at a used car dealership in the Soviet Union — but do we really need to see his birth certificate to prove it?

Critics have tried to rein in Trump’s aspirations by saying his obsession with Obama’s birth certificate is racist. The billionaire cleverly defended himself by saying he couldn’t be a racist because six years ago Randal Pinkett, an African American, won the honour of being Trump’s apprentice on his NBC show.

“I am the least racist person there is,” Trump said.

Good luck with that, America.

Say what you will about our man, but at least Harper’s hair is all his own. Until Trump can produce a certificate of origin for his own double comb-over, we can’t believe he’s 100 per cent American.

So the next time you start feeling down about our prime minister, consider yourself lucky. You don’t have to look far to see how it could be far, far worse.

Greg Mercer is a Guelph-based writer. His column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at, and past columns can be read at

3 Responses to At least our man isn’t Donald Trump

  1. KR on May 11, 2011 at 10:48 am

    I love the pic you chose of Trump for this post. Very appropriate!

  2. Gordon Kaufman on May 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    It is refreshing to know that you so blatantly have solved the birth of Jack Layton.

  3. Edward Pickersgill on May 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    I long for that moment a couple of rejected apprentices sneak up behind him and dump a big bucket of gatorade over his head. The youtube of his suddenly soaked comb over would go viral!!

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