Harper FedEx’s Obama His Lucky Cardigan To Ease Canada/U.S. Tension
OTTAWA -In a time-honoured tradition of Canadian soft diplomacy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper signalled that he forgives President Obama for calling him a “large lump” by sending the President a piece of his personal clothing…his favourite button-up sweater.
The White House had earlier acknowledged they were honoured to have received the cardigan that Harper first wore 19-years ago to propose to his now-wife, Laureen, and has worn every year since for his annual Home Hardware Fireside Chat With Canadians.
The historical Canadian tradition of giving a lovingly worn item of personal clothing to defuse disputes may have been a tough gesture for Harper. Rumours have been flying that Harper was incensed to the point of throwing chicken wing bones and twanging spoonfuls of Cool Ranch Dip at an American flag hanging in the Canadian Consulate in Washington, D.C., after Obama was captured by Fox News calling Harper a “large lump” and saying that Harper “is never standing where his voice seems to be coming from.”
“President Obama is under a lot of pressure and I still admire him and consider him a friend,” said the PM after emerging from a raucous caucus Christmas party to make the announcement. “I know Barack did not mean it when he said I am shifty. Or that I’m all fudge and pudge…and hair.”
The faded baby blue cardigan, now in the Oval Office, came from the Hudson’s Bay department store and is a moose-wool/polyester blend with five faux wood buttons and casual-fit gussets, size XL. The Prime Minister’s Media Director Andre Chabot says the sweater was one of Mr. Harper’s favourites but now is playing a bigger role than just being worn by Canada’s leader with draw-string sweat pants and white tube socks on weekends.
“This sweater is now a symbol of our friendship, an important gesture on Canada’s part,” said Chabot, a beaver pin on his lapel. “There is one small raspberry-gooseberry jam stain on the belly but we hope the President wears this gift in the spirit it was intended.”
When asked by a CTV reporter if he had any message for the President as both countries move to ease the tension that is largely based on a personality clash between the two leaders, Harper said that he had spoken with Obama by Skype and had accepted the President’s explanation that he had meant to refer to Harper as a “larger than life leader” but somehow “large lump” came out of his mouth.
“We’re friends. We speak each other’s language. I told Barack to just chillask,” said a smiling Harper, confusing reporters with the comment.
Chabot quickly explained that the Prime Minister told the President as one friend to another to “chillax.” (The term “chillax” is a wannabe hip-hop hybrid word used mainly by pale white urban teenagers to mean “relax” or “calm down” or “take several deep breaths and exhale slowly through your mouth.”)
As Harper ended the media conference, he commented that he was pleased that talk Obama flat out doesn’t like him had been put to rest. Harper left the media room humming Little Drummer Boy and singing the pa-rum-pum-pum-pums aloud.
The last time a Canadian Prime Minister carried out the tradition of giving the leader of another country an item of personally used clothing was when Pierre Elliott Trudeau gave Fidel Castro his maple leaf speedo in 1973.
Reporting for The Lapine