Harper Stars as Cowboy in “Disturbing” New Tourism Ads
OTTAWA — Moose, mounties, and stunning scenery are gone in Canada’s new $30 million tourism ads written and directed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and starring Harper himself as a grinning urban cowboy.
But critics are already panning Harper’s performance calling it “bad acting 101” and “likely to put tourists off their lunch”.
One Toronto ad executive says Harper’s close-ups where he is seen shouting “Yeeeehaw” loudly into the camera are “disturbing…very disturbing”.
“Howdee world. I’m the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Canada’s lead cowpoke, and I’m inviting you to come see my Canada,” Harper says in a drawling John-Wayne-sounding voice as he is seen galloping into frame on a tan horse with a large red maple leaf painted on its slightly sweating right flank.
The ads continue with Harper singing the Canadian version of “This Land is Your Land” written in 1940 by American folk singer Woody Guthrie.
“This land is my land…this land is my land,” Harper belts out with his thumbs stuck in his blue jeans as scenes of tourist attractions fill the screen behind him, including shots of Harper holding a baby and an adorable puppy, Harper flipping pancakes at the Calgary Stampede, and Harper inexplicably playing goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The five 30-second ads made for TV and the internet will run this fall leading up to the October 19th federal election and will appear on YouTube, Facebook, and MuchMusic with television ads running in the U.S., Europe, Israel, and, oddly for ads aimed at tourists, in Canada.
“These ads are truly stirring and put a bold new focus on Canada’s most famous face,” Minister of National Defence Jason Kenney told reporters earlier today.
“Ha! These ads are just Mr. Harper bending over and goosing himself,” NDP leader Thomas Mulcair shouted over Kenney’s shoulder as he walked by the media scrum on the steps of Parliament.
Harper’s Chief Spokesman Rob Nicol refused comment to reporters’ questions about whether the Prime Minister is the right image for Canada or whether his acting is likely to scare tourists away.
Nicol also refused to comment on growing criticism over other Harper Government ads costing $75 million that most often feature Conservative Ministers in casual clothing waving small Canadian flags.
“From Bonavista…to Vancouver Island. From the Arctic Circle…to the Great Lake waters. Oh yeah…this land was made for me and me,” Harper is seen singing at the close of the ads as he waves to the camera and pats his shiny belt buckle.
Harper himself is said to be excited about the coming release of the ads but reportedly is disappointed he was unable to accompany himself on organ while riding a horse.
Reportering for The Lapine