Exhausted forest firefighters refuse to sing O Canada for Harper

CORRECTED VERSION - CORRECTS DAY OF WEEK - B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Prime Minister Stephen Harper talk with firefighters near the scene of a wild fire in West Kelowna, B.C. Thursday, July 23, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Harper tries to conduct firefighters but they refuse to sing O Canada for him.

KELOWNA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper is getting slammed on social media for having a group of front-line firefighters pulled out of the smoky hills near this bustling B.C. city so they could pose with him for a patriotic, pre-election picture.

But things didn’t go quite as planned for Harper’s advance team of organizers.

The selected firefighters were so tired and annoyed that they just silently watched Harper as he waved his arms around like a conductor and tried to get them to sing along with him in a rousing chorus of O Canada.

None of the group sang or even hummed along.

And none of them accepted the “Canada’s Better With Harper” t-shirts that the PM’s bodyguards were handing out.


“Shit man, we’d all been out there for 12 hours or so and suddenly we’re hauled out, lined up in a parking lot, left standing for an hour, and then expected to sing O Canada so Harper can get a picture?” front-line firefighter Ted McKinley told local radio station AM 1150.

“That’s complete bullshit. Harper just wanted a picture as quickly as he could get one…he still smelled like garlic from whatever he had for lunch,” said the 37-year-old father of two.

With forest fires just miles away and nearly 200 fires raging across the province, Harper addressed the firefighters briefly saying that “once the dust settles” he would consider assigning a team to see if anything can be done better next time.


Immediately following receiving the silent treatment from the firefighters, Harper over-compensated for the snub by waving wildly for the cameras and singing ‘The Maple Leaf Forever’ as he boarded a helicopter with Premier Clark to return to Kelowna for a scheduled beach-side fundraiser event.

Local news site infonews.com said the blatant politicking using exhausted firefighters was rude, dangerous, egotistical, and pig-headed.  The site refused to use Harper’s name in their coverage, referring to him instead as “a man in a blue suit”.

Sue Dunum
Reportering for The Lapine



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