The election is over, but Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s image makers — and specifically the advance team that worked on his campaign — are evidently still keeping their eagle eyes out for high-quality photo ops.
And so it was that the prime minister-designate trundled over to RCMP headquarters for a grip-and-grin with Commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli. The two met on the front steps — cue the snappy salute from Zaccardelli — and went inside for a 45-minute meeting away from the cameras.
The assembled hacks were herded into a nearby building to cool their heels.
Then, as the two were about to emerge, uniformed RCMP communications staff (ably assisted by soon-to-be PMO officials) lined up a campaign-perfect assortment of officers from various police departments — women, visible minorities, young men, not-so-young men — on the steps and then told them where to stand and how to act as the various media photographers and camera folks were marshalled into position.
After exchanging stilted small talk, the pair moved down the steps and across a lane to a statue of James Farquharson MacLeod, the third commissioner of the Northwest Mounted Police.
Harper looked on studiously as Zaccardelli filled him in on the history behind the statue and camera shutters snapped.
With a perfunctory "that’s all guys, thanks" from Harper’s handlers, Zaccardelli walked the incoming PM a few steps back to his limo — as reporters threw a couple of questions at the pair, which were batted away — and watched as the car quickly pulled away.
Staged? Tut, tut, such a cynical, subjective term. We prefer to describe it as elegantly choreographed