Canada’s politicians and the movies.

Following up my recent post on the favorite movies of John McCain and Barack Obama, I looked up the Facebook pages for the national leaders of all five Canadian political parties (there are more than five parties in the country as a whole, of course, but there were five with MPs in Parliament when the election was called last week), and here is what I found:

  1. Stephen Harper, Conservative Party:
    Raising Arizona (1987), Lost in Translation (2003), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).
  2. Stéphane Dion, Liberal Party:
    Lawrence of Arabia (1962).
  3. Jack Layton, New Democratic Party:
    Star Wars (1977).
  4. Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Québécois:
    No favorite movie listed.
  5. Elizabeth May, Green Party:
    No favorite movie listed.

It is disappointing, of course, that two of these leaders do not list any favorite films at all — particularly in the case of Duceppe, who comes from a province with a thriving film industry.

It is also striking how, just as Obama gave a series of very “safe” choices, all of which had won the Oscar for Best Picture, the left-leaning Canadian candidates have opted for movies that are so universally loved that they could have been plucked at random from one of those meaningless American Film Institute Top 100 lists.

Don’t get me wrong, I love both Lawrence of Arabia and Star Wars — anything with Alec Guinness and sand dunes gets my vote — but without any further explanation, I learn absolutely nothing about the candidates as a result of these picks, nor am I intrigued by these picks to wonder what it is about these candidates that draws them to these films.

And for that matter, which Star Wars film is it that Jack Layton likes? The first one? One of the sequels? One of the prequels? Is he a fan of the entire franchise? Does he have any thoughts on The Clone Wars? Questions abound — questions that demand answers.

That leaves Stephen Harper’s list — and it is striking how Harper, widely distrusted for his lack of support for the arts, and widely regarded as something of an all-business policy wonk, has picked three films that, by and large, were more popular with movie critics and the cult followings of their respective directors than they were at the box office or the awards ceremonies.

I would be very interested in hearing him flesh out what it is about these three films that he likes so much. And the same goes for the other candidates, too, of course — at least those that could be bothered to pick a favorite movie in the first place.

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