Stephen Harper actually got to meet THE GREAT Yo-Yo Ma!!! What a lucky man!
OK – so my first reaction to this was a little bit atypical: I am not so good at ‘typical reactions’… And, my second reaction was: what a waste of such a good singing voice – why didn’t Steven Harper pick a good song?
Just for his performance, I actually sat through and listened to a WHOLE Beatles song! I guess there is a first time for everything… and, it DID have Yo-Yo Ma in it! Even if it WAS a Beatles’ song.
For those not ‘in-the-loop’: Laureen Harper is the ‘hands-on’ Honorary Chair of the NAC (National Arts Centre) Gala. This year’s headliner was the legendary Yo-Yo Ma – and the event raised over half-a-million dollars for the National Youth and Education Trust. And, with Mr. Ma’s help, Mrs. Harper convinced her husband to be a surprise performer at this year’s show! But, there is a little more going on in the background…
Last year, Mrs. Harper’s husband (our Prime Minister) tried to re-distribute the ‘arts funding’ in two major ways:
As a pre-Olympic preparation thing, he tried to give a greater piece of the overall ‘arts-funding-pie’ to British Columbia. This earned him the wrath of Quebec artistic elites who claimed that by giving them a smaller piece of the pie, even temporarily, Prime Minister Harper was attempting to murder Quebec culture and that he would singlehandedly destroy it… Oh, the screeching was unbearable – and it did cost the Conservatives much support in Quebec. (Frankly, I did not think one single Anglophone was capable of destroying Quebec culture, but the Quebec arts intelligentsia obviously have a higher opinion of Steven Harper!)
Also, he tried to shift a little bit of the funding away from supporting well-established artists and into education programs which would make arts accessible for all kids.
Take from the professional leeches (anyone who thinks ‘government grants’ are ‘owed’ to them, because of their ‘calling’ as ‘an artist’ is a professional leech) and give to kids instead! How will the elites remain elites, if just about everyone will understand art?!?!? Unthinkable!
Predictably, the elitist and snobby elements from within the arts community (the loud ones – who rely on government grants for a living) started to say some nasty things about Mr. Harper. He, in turn, lost his temper and said something about taxpayer money going to support ‘a bunch of rich people at galas’ not resonating with ‘real, hardworking people’….
They ate him alive.
The meaning of what he said -and tried to do – was lost in the rhetoric. That whole ‘taxpayer money going to support’ bit was dropped…and the ‘galas’ part was played up…I mean, why bother with substance when one can get a snappy headline? And the bit about bringing art education to kids….well, that was interpreted as ‘not supporting the arts’!
And here he was, this past Saturday: performing, live, on stage with Yo-Yo Ma!
Steven Harper was revealed as a performing artist himself. And a good one – even if he came across as a little shy…. But then again – how many of us would have the guts to get up and perform live, in front of a few thousand people?
Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Harper, for showing one can love art – and still be a ‘real’ person, too!