It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Pint-size Political Pundits

George and Darcy are chatting in the kitchen. Then George’s voice changes, his eyes twinkle. “Stephen Harper,” he intones, his voice rich with portent and mischief.

Darcy picks up on the tone of naughtiness, and joins in. “Steeephen Haaarperrr.”

Back and forth they go, each imitating the other.

“Stephen Harper.” Giggle, giggle.

“Stephen Harper!” Giggle, snort, chortle.

I have to ask, but I don’t want to lead with my questions. We’ll make it open-ended. “So who’s Stephen Harper?” I ask, light and casual.

They look up at me. “I dunno,” says Darcy.

“He’s the man in the song,” explains George.

“A song on television?” I haven’t heard any jingles about our man Steve, but I don’t watch a lot of television.


I know they’ve just heard the name. It’s been everywhere these last few weeks, along with Paul Martin’s (his picture’s on the right) and Jack Layton’s (he’s the one on the left). But what does it mean to these two? I want to know, so I set them up.

“Is Stephen Harper a good guy or a bad guy?” (Which would be the question of the hour for Canadians.)

George and Darcy have none of the doubts or hesistation of many Canadians. Their answers ring clear, firm, and confident.

“Bad guy!” affirms George.
“Good guy!” declares Darcy.
“Bad guy!” bellows the loose-canon voter, Arthur, who until this moment had paid not a moment’s attention to the debate.

I think they’re representative of the general populace.

January 25, 2006 - Posted by | Arthur, Canada, Darcy, George, the things they say!


  1. I can’t say I’ve ever paid a bit of attention to Canadian politics (I’m just planning the invasion…. you can deal with the same schmucks we deal with once we take over).
    But the guy up top looks like a possible white collar criminal and the two down below look like a couple of used car salesmen…. or outdated news anchors.
    Could be worse.

    Comment by Jeff | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  2. For kids, it can actually be as simple as good guy vs. bad guy. In politics, not so much.

    We’ve been talking with our son a lot about how one cannot tell if someone is “good” or “bad” simply by looking at them. It’s starting to sink in. Sloooooowly.

    Comment by Andie D. | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  3. My older son`s observation, upon hearing Bush on TV: “I don`t like that guy. It hurts my ears to listen to his voice!”
    Just wait `til you understand what he`s talking about….

    Comment by L. | January 25, 2006 | Reply

  4. Jeff: It’s a good thing we don’t elect people on the basis of their looks, huh? Though it might have helped if you guys had noticed before the election that your guy looks remarkably like an aggressive chimp

    AndieD: I doubt these guys know what the leaders of the various parties look like. They’ve seen pictures of our local candidates on lawn signs, but not likely the party leaders, so they wouldn’t be basing “good guy-bad guy” on their looks.

    L: Then it hurts your ears and puts the fear of global conflagration in your gut. Only, what, two more years?

    Comment by Mary P. | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  5. I love L’s comment!
    During our last national election, my daughter kept begging me to vote for Bush. (She knew the hubbie would).
    They had pretend elections at school, and of course, she voted for W. I was wondering if she was getting propoganda from her teacher, so I finally asked why she was so strongly in favor of Bush.
    Her response:”Cuz if he wins, I don’t have to learn a new President’s name!”
    She’s smart but a little lazy…; )

    Comment by LoryKC | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  6. the two down below look like a couple of used car salesmen…. or outdated news anchors.
    Could be worse.

    Martin a used car salesman?

    Right on! Been selling us nationalized childcare over and over in each election. Doesn’t implement the program because then what would he promise? Just like a used car salesman, lots of excitement but no substance.

    Layton? Promises to hold the balance of power but never gets it. Just like a used car salesman…always ending up lying!

    Comment by michael | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  7. Lory: The worrisome thing is that not a few adults vote for reasons not a whole lot more worthy than that! LOL

    Michael: Ummm, Michael? I, for one, am entirely relieved the nationalized childcare program was never implemented. For starters, and very personally: It would have put me out of a job. Then there’s my heartfelt belief that for small children, small environments and small groups are best. And don’t even start me on the notion of an “educational curriculum” for two-year-olds!!

    Comment by Mary P. | January 26, 2006 | Reply

  8. ohmigod. that is so sweet and i am lolll. and, you my friend what are you the newest commentator on the hill with you analysis of the electorate.

    bang bang bang on.

    Comment by mo-wo | January 27, 2006 | Reply

  9. We have a national curriculum for pre-schoolers:-)

    But it is VERY flexible & open for interpretation, saying things like “children should be encouraged to explore their environment” or “children should have the opportunity to learn about different lifestyles). It covers personal/social development, science & nature, Physical activities, maths (colours & shapes), English (vocabulary & sounds), art and probably a few I can’t remember.

    It means all child-carers (except Nannies, who are exempt) can be inspected by the regulatory body and ensure quality care is offered & no-one can set themselves up as a child-minder the n dump the kids in front of Disney videos all day!

    It was massively opposed when brought in at the start of the Labour government (he had an enormous majority back then), and has been universally welcomed since then.

    I can understand your reservations, but it does depend what it says

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | January 27, 2006 | Reply

  10. Mo-wo: Glad you liked the analysis. I live with a man with a strong interest in politics, and by comparison I see myself as not very politically aware at all. Maybe I do better than I think – or maybe you’re the one other person in the country who would agree with me!

    MrsA: I agree that a “curriculum” for this age (seems a pretentious word, but all right) doesn’t have to mean worksheets and rote drill, but you should hear some of the silly things that are being booted about around here. I don’t think proponents of such retrogressive measures will prevail, but I do worry that they will be a strong enough force that they will have to be accommodated in some way.

    The childcare as suggested by the previous (phew) government would have had all four and five year olds in greatly subsidized care the first year, then three year olds, then twos, then – guess what? Mary’s out of a job, because home day care is not “quality care” don’t you know – only giant warehouses of tots staffed by a steadily changing roster of 20 year olds are quality…

    Comment by Mary P. | January 27, 2006 | Reply

  11. Oh. we get subsidised child care from the term after their 3rd birthday. It doesn’t cover much to be honest, but it’s a start.

    But any carer can apply to be inspected against the curriculum (they’re called national standards, but it’s the same thing”, and therefore qualify to apply for the funding. All child-minders get inspected each year anyway, so most are included in the funding scheme.

    Comment by Mrs.Aginoth | January 27, 2006 | Reply

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