Ottawa Citizen

From one fan to another: Harper gives king a puck

- BY CHRIS LACKNER

While Jean Chrétien loved his golf balls, Stephen Harper prefers the gift of hockey pucks.

The prime minister gave an autographe­d hockey puck to the visiting King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden yesterday. The puck featured his signature on one side and the Government of Canada’s logo on the other side.

Mr. Harper, an avid hockey fan who is also writing a book on the sport, distinguis­hed himself from a pattern set by former prime minister Chrétien, who often handed out golf balls to visiting dignitarie­s.

“ The prime minister wanted to give small gifts that have meaning for him. It is well known how fond he is of hockey,” said Dimitri Soudas, Mr. Harper’s spokesman.

Mr. Soudas took a sly shot at the Liberals when he said that, in contrast to Mr. Chrétien’s golf balls, “ The hockey pucks were paid for by the Conservati­ve party.”

Mr. Soudas would not say how many pucks the party paid for.

During the sponsorshi­p scandal inquiry, Mr. Chrétien’s habit of distributi­ng publicly funded golf balls was criticized by Justice John Gomery, who labelled the practice “ small- town cheap.”

Mr. Chrétien famously mocked Mr. Gomery’s comments when he took the stand at the inquiry himself. Pulling one gold ball after another out of his briefcase, he pointed out some other “ small- town” people who handed out golf balls such as former U. S. presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush, as well as President George W. Bush. He also displayed a ball made by Ogilvy Renault, the law firm that employs Mr. Gomery’s daughter, the inquiry’s chief counsel, Bernard Roy, and former prime minister Brian Mulroney.

You “ can't call them small town and call them Westmount cheap — it would be an oxymoron,” Mr. Chrétien said as Judge Gomery looked on.

 ??  ?? The puck given to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf — a fellow hockey fan — and Queen Silvia by Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday.
The puck given to Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf — a fellow hockey fan — and Queen Silvia by Prime Minister Stephen Harper yesterday.
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