Judging by appearances

By Falice Chin

Since the begining of December, Canada’s conservative right has supposedly been united even though nobody really believed it. With an election on the horizon, Calgary is experiencing daily bombardments of media coverage on party candidates, oops, I mean candidate, singular.

All we hear and see is Belinda Stronach. No, wait, come to think of it, I’ve hardly heard her–but I’ve definitely seen pictures. From CTV to The Globe and Mail, Stronach is praised for her charm, her charisma and, more importantly, her blonde hair and sense of style. Of course, these are the most important assets in the game of politics. In this day and age, we’re in desperate need for more Versace suits in federal politics–don’t you think?

It is quite unfair the other candidates who each pitched in a hundred grand to join the race don’t receive the same amount of attention. So I’ll evaluate each of them for you, based solely on how they look.

Take Tony Clement, middle-aged, politically experienced, cocky, and totally clueless about the fashion industry. For some reason, he thinks just because he’s not Steven Harper, people will automatically vote for him.

Not so in this race.

Judging by the way he dresses, he is oblivious to the fact his suits need retirement. Somebody please let him know the ’90s are over. Also, pastels do not work well with his pale skin, washed-out expression and gray hair. The man needs some colour in his life, for the sake of politics!

Then there’s former Canadian Alliance leader Steven Harper, a man everyone loves and hates at the same time. His fashion sense seems just as complicated. While I must admit the fitted suits really flatter his physique, he is not, after all, the king of fashion.


Because he’s straight and he wants everyone to know it. John F. Kennedy died a while back, but Harper seems comfortable copying his hairstyle. Sorry, Steve-o, it’s not the ’60s.

Talking about male politicians like that is a bit disturbing, isn’t it? So why is it fine when fashion gossip is practiced on female politicians?

Hamilton East MP Sheila Copps calls this sexism in the political world. Copps further complains women are treated differently than men in that their looks matter more.

There may be truth to claims of political sexism, but who knows if Stronach is in fact nothing but a façade? The spotlight is on her, but Canada seems unaware of her agendas. If she indeed has nothing to say, then let the media ridicule her platform. And by “platform,” I don’t mean shoes.

I really couldn’t care less what politicians wear as long as they appear adequately professional. I’d rather look at Elle magazine for fashion ideas. I cannot understand what the big deal is with Stronach’s dress code, or fashion appeal–shouldn’t Canadians be more concerned with political affairs?