Politicians have a responsibility to not only carry out the will of the people, but also to engage them. Quite frankly, some are better at this than others. As you know, over the last few weeks, The Hour has hosted three party leaders: Stéphane Dion, Jack Layton and Elizabeth May. Missing was Gilles Duceppe and Stephen Harper. I can understand Mr. Duceppe declining to appear. He recognizes and even stated during the debate, that he knows he will never be the Prime Minister of Canada. His concerns are more regional than national.
But what about Stephen Harper? As much as I have enjoyed the highly amusing up-the-ante antics of Harper Bait '08, I find it disappointing that visiting The Hour did not fit into Mr. Harper's plans. Was it that he could not control the questions? Unlike his opponents, did he not take George/The Hour seriously? Did he recognize that perhaps his own demeanor would not mesh with the tone of the show? Or that perhaps the reaction of a live audience might be unfavourable and not play back well on TV? I could continue to speculate, but only Mr. Harper and his advisors know the real reason.
Regardless of what that reason was, it was an opportunity lost. While the demographics of The Hour are quite broad, I have observed a substantial number of young people in the audience. For many, this federal election may be their first opportunity to vote. Mr. Harper could have used an appearance on The Hour to bridge the gap between the common man or woman and the political elite. Instead he chose not to participate...sometimes silence speaks volumes!
So does humour...I am entitling this diorama "The Interview That Never Was...":