The Old Star Has Returned
I was glad to see the headline this morning in the Sunday Star: “Driving Mr. Harper“. The story was a ludirous attempt to paint the Prime Minister as following in U.S. President George Bush’s footsteps with a “presidential motorcade”. How many days has it been since the new editor and publisher were installed to return The Star to its editorial roots? 6? The headline clearly serves notice that the old guard is back at last at One Yonge Street!
The piece included a photo of a Chrysler 300M “limosuine” being escorted along the Gardiner Expressway. Now, if that’s the same Brampton-made car that I think it is, tens of thousands of Canadians will be delighted to hear that their wheels have just been upgraded to “limo” status by The Star’s cutline writers. No longer will teenagers need to book a stretch Lincoln Town Car for their highschol prom — now they can just call Budget Rent-a-Car and book a Canadian-made 4-door sedan.
In 1981 I took a photo for the CP wire service of then P.M. Pierre Trudeau exiting a beautiful Cadillac limo on his way to his Centre Block Parliament Hill office. His smile was captured in the mirror-like finish of the roof. Now the Star’s favourite Prime Minister in the last forty years is certainly Mr. Trudeau, but this story only mentioned that he travelled with a smaller convoy than the current Prime Minister. Nothing was said about the beautiful stretch Caddi that I recall. Ah, the lack of institutional memory of these newspapers. Or is it political leanings?
As any former senior P.M.O. staffer knows, there are 8 security threat levels in the RCMP’s lexicon. While I won’t discuss who gets what “package” from the RCMP (the Pope vs. the Queen vs. the PM vs. the Governor General), I will point out that it really doesn’t matter what the PMO staff think the P.M. of the day should be receiving security-wise. RCMP make the call, both ways.
I always thought P.M. Brian Mulroney’s security detail was largely designed and staffed to prevent someone from punching his lights out; but is didn’t seem to me that they would be truly able to prevent an assassination attempt, for example.
If the RCMP have decided to up the intensity of their security coverage for the current Prime Minister then I applaud them for it. High time.
Some might wonder why former P.M. Paul Martin appeared to be enjoying RCMP protection while having lunch with some friends in Toronto a couple of weeks ago. All former U.S. Presidents and First Ladies receive 24 hour U.S. Secret Service protection for life. In Canada, Prime Ministers lose it immediately after leaving office, unless they specifically request a security package each and every day (or the RCMP has identified a specific threat identified against them for some reason). It isn’t for his staff to decide.
Being a Liberal P.M., the Star didn’t touch on that so-called “Presidential trend” either. Welcome back, trusty Old Star. We almost missed ya.