George Laraque: NHL fighter and giant teddy bear. via
Stephen Harper hasn’t even called for a byelection and already the Green Party has announced that George Laraque will be a running for a seat in Parliament in the Montreal-area riding of Bourassa.
If you’ve never heard of him then let me tell you, he is a multifaceted man. He’s an ex-NHL heavyweight fighter, a vegan, an animal rights activist, a charity-supporter, a karaoke-singer, and a spokesperson for a variety of products like a juicer and an alcoholic energy drink (which he got in trouble for, but redeemed himself by apologizing, saying that he didn’t know the content of the commercial). Laraque owns a vegan restaurant in Montreal—where my editor once contracted food poisoning—and he is the Canadian sales rep for Super-Glide, a company that sells synthetic ice pads. He’s also written an autobiography about his struggles with racism growing up playing in a white-dominated sport.
Laraque grew up in the Montreal area, his parents emigrated from Haiti before he was born, spent his childhood playing sports and dreaming of the NHL. When he finally made it, he became a six-foot-four, 250-pound enforcer spending a almost 1,200 minutes of his 12-year career in the penalty box for teams like the Oilers, the Penguins, and the Canadiens until he retired in 2010. That same year, Elizabeth May appointed him Deputy Leader of the Green Party, most likely out of the fact that he’s this giant teddy bear of a man with a charming smile, and outspoken personality. He certainly doesn’t shy away from attention; in fact he seems to thrive on it since he’s down for almost anything, i.e. his TV commercials for TekSavvy, Octane 7.0 (see below), and JuiceXtra.
A commercial with sexed-up girls where Laraque shows up in the last ten seconds. via
Here, Laraque gets reaaaally excited and just makes a fool of himself.
On Tuesday morning I received a text from the Green Party (yes, I know) announcing that Laraque would be running for a seat in Parliament. This didn’t come as a surprise to many people out there since, his Twitter account has been hinting at big news coming soon for a while now. He has also mentioned before that Elizabeth May wanted him to run in the 2011 elections. At the time he was heavily involved with a project to build a children’s hospital in Haiti, so Laraque turned it down.
Well, the hospital is still on the go, but the right time seems to have come for May to make her move putting Laraque in the fighting position for candidacy in the Bourassa electoral district. The previous representative, Denis Coderre who’s been in office since 1997, resigned last month when he announced he would be running for Mayor of Montreal.
So, how can Laraque win? The district has a Haitian population of 17.5 percent, which may very likely work in Laraque’s favour. Mix that with his charming smile and his big personality and he might actually have a chance.
But, Laraque isn’t a politician. He has no experience in Canadian law-making; he has no experience in any sort of political scene besides showing up with May at Green events, showing his face and saying a few words in his deep, calm French accent. It seems weird to me that such a huge man who used to tear up the NHL’s biggest fighters, like Tie Domi, is now running for a seat on Parliament with the Green Party.
Laraque says he doesn’t like to fight, yet here he is wooping Domi’s ass. via
Elizabeth May has put Laraque at the forefront of her party’s image right from the beginning. To her, he’s just a puppet: big and strong, good-looking with a nice smile and loud voice. He’s a poster boy, who she hopes will win her more votes while she continues to stick her nose to the grindstone and try to get things done.
Since Laraque has jumped the gun by announcing his candidacy before Harper has even called for a byelection, it’s difficult to imagine his chances. What we do know, is that he’s a fighter, so if things get dirty we just might get to see the old Laraque where he throws down his gloves, jersey’s his opponent and throws some punches.
I bet that would get him some votes.
Follow Ken on Twitter: @kjrwall
For other recent news about Canadian politics: