Jim Prentice

Fifth Annual Politicians in Cowboy Hats

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For a brief history of Stampede fashion, you can read the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 round-ups.

You never quite now what you’ll get at the Stampede. The boy from Calgary became a national laughing stock when he mistook the Stampede for a Village People convention in 2005. And the geeky Liberal pushing the carbon tax was named “best dressed” by both this blog and CP in 2008.

Of course, 6 months later Dion had been pushed out as Liberal leader, and 6 months after leathervestgate, Harper was Prime Minister. So it’s best not to read too much into this (unlike, say, a broken down bus which we all KNOW is directly linked to electoral fortunes).

Federal Politicians

Once again, we have a surprise winner this year in the “best dressed” category. Why, it’s none other than Mr. Ivory Tower Michael Ignatieff. The urban legend in Calgary is that no one had ever been able to find a cowboy hat big enough to fit Ignatieff’s head, but for the first time in five years he has moseyed into town in full gear, hat included, and he doesn’t look the least bit out of place.

Wait, I thought he said he liked the smell of barns! Flip flop!

Layton and Harper have been to enough stampedes that we know what to expect from them. Layton always winds up looking surprisingly at ease for a mustached Toronto socialist. And Harper? Well, since leather vest gate, he always plays it safe and gets a C+/B- grade. The man never looks comfortable, but at least he doesn’t embarrass himself.

You know, despite all the talk of Harper playing chess, I’ve always thought his tactics were more of the “detonator” variety. Kelowna Accord? KABOOM! Census? KABOOM! Promises not to appoint senators? KABOOM!

But if Harper and Layton have become too predictable, let’s all raise a glass of sillabub to toast Elizabeth May. Worst dressed in 2008. Best dressed in 2009. And this year? I’ll reserve judgement until I can find a picture of her before she tumbled into the tie dye trough.


And, in the interests of by partisanship, a special shout out to stampede superstar Jim Prentice – yeah, he’s got a bad record as environment minister, but he rides a horse in the parade every year and looks like he could handle himself in the rodeo.

Prentice has a wide range out outfits and he makes them all work. And the ladies can’t get enough of Jim’s talk of voluntary 40 year emission reduction targets.

Provincial Politicians

Ed Stelmach disappoints every year at the Stampede. In 2007, he had us all smacking our heads on the ground when he called it “the Alberta Stampede“. The last two years, he has celebrated the Alberta Stampede by wearing a suit jacket over top of his cowboy duds. A major no-no.

And this year, it’s more of the same. On the weekend, he went with a rather unflattering vest that Ed’s mom appears to have sewn his name into, and on Tuesday he dusted off the suit for the third straight year.


But despite my criticism of Stelmach, I’m going to give his Finance Minister the title of “Worst Dressed” this year. I’m hesitant to do this based on a profile picture, but I can’t imagine anything going on below the shoulders that could salvage this outfit.

Once again, Ted is just trying to hard. When he ran for leadership, he drafted a catchy little country music jingle. He holds “golf and gun” fundraisers. But, really, he’s just a university professor from the big city trying to pass himself off as a good ‘ol country boy. And, in this case, it shows.

Which brings us to David Swann who is an academic from the big city and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. In fact, he rode his bicycle in the Stampede parade this year.

But you know what? Even though Swann looks completely out of place every year, he puts on the hat, the boots, and the belt buckle. He hosts one of the largest stampede breakfasts in Calgary. And he always looks like he’s having a great time. That’s something Albertans can respect.

Municipal Politicians

This is Dave Bronconnier’s last stampede as mayor and I’ll give the man props, he has always dressed, looked, and acted just like the Mayor of Calgary should during stampede. Hell, the man even rides a horse for crying out loud.

Fourth Annual Politicians in Cowboy Hats

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Featured Posts, Humour, Politicians in Cowboy Hats | Leave a comment

2008
2007
2006

There were no see-my-vest incidents this year but, thanks to a few news stories, a few e-mails, and Jim Prentice’s facebook page, I’m able to present the fourth annual Stampede Fashion Round-Up.

First up, the federal party leaders:


Elizabeth May, quite fairly, won “worst dressed” last year, but the experts turned it around and named her “best dressed” this time around.

Looking at the comparison below, she has obviously improved, but I think it’s probably a case of low expectations and a better picture being used this year, so I’m not quite prepared to crown her as the champ.


So while May earns a solid runner-up ribbon, I’m going to go with Jack Layton as my choice for “best dressed” among the party leaders. For a mustached socialist from Toronto, he pulls off western surprisingly well.


In this picture, Harper tells a local farmer about anti-Stampede comments Michael Ignatieff had made earlier in the day. Harper would later return and clarify that it was actually PETA which had made the comments.

Ever since leather vest-gate, Harper has put in solid, but not spectacular, performances. This year is no different – he seems to have settled on the checkered shirt and dark cowboy hat as his go-to outfit.


So Harper went with the red shirt, and the rookie Ignatieff went blue. While Ignatieff didn’t embarrass himself, he played it safe, and deserves a 4th place finish. I know Ignatieff’s an academic and a bit out of his element, but if Stephane Dion can pull off a cowboy hat, anyone can.


A surprise appearance by Gilles Duceppe! He does go with a hat, so I may have to slot him in ahead of Iggy in the rankings.


Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier poses with Lisa Raitt. Raitt sported a black cowboy hat until she misplaced it by the pancake tray.


This brings us to Stampede superstar Jim Prentice. Sure, past environment ministers have turned in their SUVs for hybrids, but Prentice one-ups them by going horse back.


Prentice poses with the Tory caucus.


Like Prentice, Harry Chase is a Stampede superstar…the man is a cowboy, and could stare down Wyatt Earp. However, I must once again point out that the “Harry Chase MLA” apron is absolutely ridiculous.

While Chase always looks the part, provincial politicians often struggle at the Stampede. Ed Stelmach and David Swann are both nice people but both were clearly outdone by a bunch of city-slickers from Ottawa. I mean, for crying out loud, the tree-hugging Green Party leader had a better Stampede outfit than Alberta’s Premier and leader of the opposition!

Second Annual "Politicians in Cowboy Hats" Blog Post

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Everyone seemed to enjoy last summer’s Stampede fashion review so, after hitting all the major breakfasts on the first weekend, I’m pleased to present my recap of how the big names fared this year. For some historical perspective, the Globe & Mail offers up Stampede pictures throughout the ages.

Ever since the disaster of 2005, the nation’s eyes turn to Stephen Harper every Stampede. Last year, Harper hoped in and out of the Hays breakfast in under 20 minutes, wanting to avoid human interaction at all costs. To his credit, this year the PM stayed and posed for pictures for double that time. As for the outfit, Harper looked about as good in western wear as it’s possible for Stephen Harper to look in western wear. Clearly his psychic stylist is earning her money, although it might be time for a taxpayer funded nutritionist.

I caught Prentice at BBQs Saturday and Sunday, and he wore the same outfit on both occasions. It’s also the same thing he’s worn every single day of the Stampede since, one imagines, his 12th birthday. It’s a good look but it might be time for Jim to mix it up a little bit.

I can’t make fun of Carolyn Bennett for her wild pink outfit since the Stampede has been running a “tough enough to wear pink” promotion to raise awareness for breast cancer. It’s a shame since it would have been really easy to poke fun at her pink shirt, bizarre sweater vest, and green Dion scarf.
Kevin Taft has been everywhere this week – the Stampede parade Friday, a series of breakfasts Saturday, and the Hays breakfast Sunday. The pink worked well on Friday, but Kevin’s wife pulled off Western a lot better than him at the Hays breakfast Sunday. The jacket? Definitely a no-no. Still, at least Kevin is aware that it’s the Calgary Stampede.
Actual conversation with Jason Kenney:
Me: Hey Jason, you’re in MP – I was hoping to get a picture with you.
Jason: Are you Young Liberals or Young Conservatives?
Me: Young Liberals.
Jason: I won’t hold it against you. I used to be a Young Liberal too.
Me: Yeah, in Goodale’s office. Just wanted the picture because I’ve got a collection of pictures of myself with Tory MPs…I got one with me and Anders last year.
Jason: Ha Ha. Well I’m not as bad as Rob, eh?

And, with that, Jason Kennedy went up about 200% in my books. Admittedly, he was starting pretty low so a 200% increase isn’t a lot, but he’s climbing.

Speaking of which…

Craig Cheffins, new to elected politics, obviously has yet to learn the “never dance when there’s a camera around” rule.

Stephane Dion looked almost the same as he did last year. For a French University professor, he always presents himself surprisingly well at Stampede.

Peter Miliken, a frequent visitor to the Hays breakfast flashes his sheriff badge. If only he could lay down the law in the House of Commons and keep the children in order…

Harry Chase is probably the only politician in Canada who can wear a coat like that and pull it off. The man looks like he’s straight out of a Western and probably deserves “best dressed 2007″ for that. That said, it’s never a good sign when you need to identify yourself as an MLA on your apron.

There were also a bunch of other politicians at the Hays breakfast I wasn’t able to track down. Lawrence Cannon was out and about espousing the values of Quebec nationhood to the Calgary faithful (which means he must have felt a bit like Jason Jones in those Molson Canadian commercials). Bill Casey was also shaking hands. Carol Skelton may have been around but since no one alive knows what she looks like, I don’t have a picture (unless she accidentally wandered into one of the other shots).

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