Perhaps it's our inherent Canadian humbleness—a trait we like to drop into every single conversation—that made us think: we bet nobody outside of our Canadian office has a goddamn clue who Stephen Harper, Tom (Thomas) Mulcair, and Justin Trudeau are. (Except the Americans, who we gave some credit to.) This is not a slight but just a simple fact that, outside this country, the battle for control of America's hat just doesn't seem to make headlines.
With that in mind, we sent photos of each candidate that best represented the dichotomy of each one of them—Harper being serious vs. Stephen playing the keys; Mulcair yelling vs. Tom decked out at the Calgary Stampede; Justin being sexy vs. Justin looking weird in the House of Commons—to VICE offices around the world and asked them to write what they thought of our future/current prime minister.
The results, as an ancient media company foretold, might surprise you.
Managing Editor, VICE.com Canada
This guy has a face like a hamburger. Which at first seems like a good thing, but we remind you the Hamburglar also had a bun-ish face. And he was a criminal force that haunted many childhoods, robbing kids of precious sodium. But, saying that, Mayor McCheese had a literal burger for a head. And he was the embodiment of electoral success. So Mr. Harper gets a pass mark from us.
Tom (Thomas) Mulcair
That hat/beard/plaid shirt combo is a concerning feature—in Australia wearing something like that usually means you're a farmer who exports live cattle and goes to barn dances (we call them bushwahzees here). But you're Canadian, so we assume your cowboys fight for more stringent emissions targets and teach inner-city kids to horse ride.
This guy knows what's up. He's handsome like a fancy serial killer. He'd get our vote. Even if he would later drown us in a vat of maple syrup and wear our face like a hockey mask. Imagine watching that face peer down a camera and comfort you over inflation. God, we hope he's not an anti-abortion racist. But it is always the cute ones who break your heart.
America (Los Angeles division)
He probably doesn't sit at a Korg like that very often (What was he playing? Metric cover songs, right? Those have a lot of keyboard). Most of the time, he's probably getting wined and dined by tar sands lobbyists, right? So he probably looks like that second picture, which makes him look scary and vaguely Eastern European, like a Bulgarian kleptocrat with a dead body in the trunk of his Mercedes. Probably a "no" on voting for this guy again.
This guy is your populist spoiler candidate, right? I can't tell if he's a rootin'-tootin', immigrant-shootin' populist, or more of a sticks-up-for-the-average-Canadian-worker, leftist-socialist populist. Either way, he's definitely what every straight guy wants his girlfriend's dad to look like when he finally meets him, so probably a "yes" on voting for this guy.
This guy keeps showing up in elections all over the place: The young ladykiller who rises too fast in national politics and ends up a footnote in history. I'm guessing he's from a vivacious new leftist school of thought, and in that alluring chin-scratching picture, he's flirting with me while also thinking up new ways to battle climate change? In the end, that second photo makes me feel like he might come up behind me in a bar and order a round of shots and then accidentally-on-purpose knock my glasses off with his elbow when he goes to grab them. I hate this guy. It's a "no."
Stephen Harper is the kind of dude who genuinely enjoys eating oats for breakfast. Like: his wife isn't making him eat them, for his heart. He literally wakes up every morning, eyes bolt open, and his first thought is, "Oh boy—oats!" He eats the oats plain, uncooked, with skim milk. He last had a natural erection eight years ago, and he didn't much like it.
Yee-haw and giddy up, it's Tommy fuckin' Mulcair! Tommy Mulcair likes three things: huntin', hollerin,' and waitin' outside women's changing rooms while they try bras on. "Oh, I'm not looking!" Tommy says. All the girls in the shop know Tommy. He buys them Starbucks every day and brings his little fishing stool along. He's holding a cashmere jumper folded four times over in front of his crotch. "No, my thing isn't to see the breasts or nipples. I just like hearing it happen. I just like knowing they are there." He laughs to himself. "Hoo boy, do I go home and have some electric orgasms."
Justin Trudeau went into politics when being a professional wrestler didn't happen. He had this whole thing worked out: he'd start face, then, at WrestleMania or something, he'd go heel, and the whole crowd would just go fuckin' insane. He had his wrestler name down to two options: "Screwjob" or "The Blazer." His thing was going to be that he would always wear a blazer, then rip it off Hulk-style—the buttons pinging crazily into the audience—to reveal an orange leotard. He still has the leotard. In the end though someone got him in a pretty rough headlock at his first wrestling lesson and hurt his ear a little bit, so he sacked it off in favour of politics. "The only thing I do a suplex on," he likes to say, in private, "is the tax system! High five! Come on, kid! Up-top your daddy!"
First up is Stephen Harper, apparently the current Ruler of Canada, who definitely gives off a tender, hearty, Man-of-the-People vibe. Mr. Harper's meticulously clippered bicycle helmet of feathery grey hair indicates that he is a wealthy patriarch, but not necessarily masculine or dominant—more in a way that says he confidently sits down and pees, and almost certainly sports Walter White-style tighty whities. This high-society air of being pampered makes us wonder just how he came to lead a nation as rugged as Canada, with all of the bearfighting and hockey-based challenges we imagine such demands. Also, we suspect Stephen's political fire stems from his days as the soulful keyboardist in his college blues/gospel group, "Murky Like Maple Syrup."
Next up—YEEEE-HAWW, I do declare, it's Tom Muclair!
Here's a man who takes what he wants, and wants what he takes! The strong cowboy hat and even stronger beard say it all. Clearly a character with a past in something like moose-wrangling or lumberjacking. He does look like he could be a bit of a hardliner, loose cannon-type though, a man who would flinch as little at signing off on a the creation of secret weapons program as disowning a gay relative.
And finally, Justin Trudeau.
This guy has all of the warning signs of a snide, privileged douche (come on, Trudeau even sounds like a Disney villain). He's obviously plotting something, or at the very least, scheming. Also, didn't he play a cliché bad guy on one of those risqué daytime shows like Suits or One Tree Hill? It's unimaginable that this man has gone through life without at some point having uttered the words, "I'll have you know that my father..."
It's 10 o'clock at night, Stephen Harper is sipping a bit of wine in his mansion on the shores of Lake Ontario whilst reading today's Financial Times. He sighs, folds the paper, looks at the fire burning in the hearth, then turns to his wife and says: "Honey, I don't understand any of this shit, but I am glad people think I do, otherwise it would be much harder ruling the country. Sometimes, I wonder if I should be Prime Minister. There are so many things I didn't understand: True Detective season 2; who was the main character in The Wire; and why did David Carradine trousers fall exactly at the moment he died? Fortunately for me, all I have to do is point things out with a serious look on my face and play a bit of Elton John on my keyboard."
He looks like he is born on the wrong side of the border, though he successfully convinced himself along the years that he was the most Canadian man in Canada. Every morning, he has pancakes with Maple Joe syrup and four rashers of bacon whilst listening to Céline Dion and the NHL. He is so bored of hearing about Uncle Sam that he plans to pass a bill to call Canada "Uncle Tom." Stephen Harper makes him angry. So angry that he has decided his political agenda, were he to be elected Prime Minister, would be the exact opposite of Stephen Harper's and would include banning Elton John from territory entry.
Predestined for a career in modelling, young Justin spent most of his teenage years looking at himself in the mirror, inclining his head, raising an eyebrow whilst smiling. After signing a modelling contract with Ubercrombie and Flinch in the early 2000s, he started climbing in the hierarchy before proposing to owners not to recruit ugly people. Just before it all blew out, and the brand became associated with vain, soulless corporate management, he left the company to join a cosmetic enterprise: Liberal. Apex of his career: When asked why he joined, he thought this was the moment he had been training for all his life, inclined his head on the side, raised an eyebrow, smiled and said: "Because I am worth it." He is, by far, the most credible candidate!
America (New York Division)
I know who this guy is a bit and what his policies are, but based on his photo alone he seems intensely boring, like he works as an accountant and then goes home to sort different-sized bolts and nails in his garage. Maybe he has a marginally odd fetish, like he likes to watch women take off and put on pantyhose, and he occasionally indulges himself in this but always feels deeply ashamed afterward and purges his browser history.
I bet this guy really likes to eat. Like on the campaign trail he'll really be down to get photographed eating a big ole steak or whatever when he stops by Winnipeg. He's got a really powerful handshake, the kind of handshake that leaves you feeling good and confident for hours afterward.
He's a little too handsome to trust, isn't he? Like, he could be an evil lawyer in an '80s Eddie Murphy film. Any politician who looks like that, I assume in a few years you'll have to be adding on the adjective "disgraced" when you write about him.
There's just one thing this guy loves more than politics: MUSIC. Harper has been self-releasing "do it yourself" CDR's through underground distribution networks under the moniker "Harper Zoundz" for years. This one-piece synth project combines the more mellow sounds of the early-'80s Brian Eno with the harsh noise outputs of Esplendor Geométrico and the likes. All the releases are limited to a few copies and are sold out instantly, considered as "eBay gold material" by collectors. The obscurity of the releases contrasts with the fact that this guy is, actually, the current prime minister. He doesn't sell copies at political meetings so the only way to snatch some is to order them directly on his website listentotherealharperzoundz.cjb.net.
Tom (Thomas) Mulcair
Tom. Thomas. "Bear Claw." "Nature's Best." "The Wild One." Or simply "The Log." Many are the names by which he is known. He hates money, greed, and lies. He loves women and vengeance. For years he has been living in the woods, surrounded by animals and ancient spirits. Now he descended to the city to claim his own place. There's no way to avoid his power, nobody can stop "The Log." Well, there's just one thing: if you get close enough and whisper "coconut, coconut, coconut" in his ear, he will explode and become a bouquet made of a thousand roses. That's nice.
This dude used to date my sister. So many weird stories, I tell you. There's this time when he thought my sister was pregnant and rented a car, bought some shovels and hammers and invited her to the woods, at night. I will never forget THAT SMILE he made when she told him she was not expecting a "real baby." Anyway, the dude is practical, he thinks money can solve everything, even elves. "Problems? Solutions!", that's his motto.