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Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper sticks his head out of a window he helped install during a campaign stop in Ottawa April 11, 2011. (BLAIR GABLE/Blair Gable/ Reuters)
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper sticks his head out of a window he helped install during a campaign stop in Ottawa April 11, 2011. (BLAIR GABLE/Blair Gable/ Reuters)

Regional Report

Stephen Harper is a funny guy. And his impressions are great, too Add to ...

Canadians don't realize it but Stephen Harper is a funny guy, says James Lunney, a MP since November, 2000 who is seeking re-election in Nanaimo-Alberni.

The federal Conservative Party leader has "a terrific sense of humour" and does skilled impersonations, Mr. Lunney told the Parksville Qualicum Beach News.

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Mr. Harper does not show his humour because he worries about offending someone, Mr. Lunney said, although he refrained from revealing any of the off-colour jokes that Mr. Harper likes to tell.

Also, increased security concerns have meant that Mr. Harper is less accessible, Mr. Lunney told the newspaper. "People don't get to see him the way we see him."



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At the start of the election campaign, the Prince George Free Press asked whether either Mr. Harper or Mr. Ignatieff could find the city on a map. Neither has shown up but NDP Leader Jack Layton came.

"Kudos to Layton for bringing his national campaign to the two federal ridings in Prince George," the Free Press says in an editorial. "It shows the candidate is at least on the leader's radar," the newspaper says. "Many might think that the New Democrats' hopes here are pipe dreams. But at least they haven't written the ridings off."

The newspaper says Mr. Ignatieff may not come to Prince George because the Liberals are not likely to win and Mr. Harper may not show up because the Tories may feel the ridings are safe Tory seats. However whoever wins will be prime minister of all of Canada.

"Last we checked, Prince George is part of all of Canada. It would be nice to have a leader - and a sitting prime minister, for that matter - visit once in a while."



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Imagine an election where civility and co-operation tempered the highly partisan attack ads of a political campaign. The current election campaign has taken the low road, with political parties "launching an offensive blitz aimed at exploiting the Canadian public's emotional hot buttons and pandering to our lowest common denominators," says an editorial in The Nanaimo News Bulletin . The newspaper believes leaders of all federal parties share the goal of a strong and healthy Canada. The country could have another minority government next month.

The editorial asks, "Wouldn't our country be better served by individuals who have shown the ability, or at least the desire, to get along?"



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The Terrace Standard in an editorial wrote about what to consider when deciding which candidate to support. The $170-million Prince Rupert Port Authority's container port was conceived when former Canadian Alliance Andy Burton represented the riding and opened while New Democrat Nathan Cullen held the seat.

Although both MPs were in the Opposition, the federal government contributed $30-million, the newspaper wrote. Similarly, Ottawa contributed $130-million to the $404-million Northwest Transmission Line, although the riding's MPs throughout the years have been in opposition.

The MPs cannot take credit for the federal dollars in either project which went ahead because they were needed. Where a MP or MLA really shines, the editorial says, "is in the everyday trench warfare required to represent constituents."

The newspaper urges readers to vote for candidates who would be the most effective in representing constituents in dealing with the public-sector bureaucracy.



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Meanwhile in provincial politics:



Independent MLA Bob Simpson (Cariboo North) is calling for a citizen's assembly on climate change. It's uncertain what Premier Christy Clark will do with the carbon tax and the rest of former premier Gordon Campbell's climate-change agenda, Mr. Simpson writes in a column published by local papers in his riding, including the Williams Lake Tribune and the Quesnel Observer.

"Just as we need clarity on the future of HST, we need certainty on the future of the carbon tax. We also need to know what Premier Clark is going do to about the laudable, but unattainable and unrealistic greenhouse gas targets Mr. Campbell entrenched in law," he wrote. "If we are going to "pause and reset" B.C.'s climate-change agenda, then a citizen's assembly may be the most democratic way to engage all British Columbians in this critical work."







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