By Sabrina Almeida
Mississauga, September 25 (CINEWS): Yes, looks are important to Canadians and being clean-shaven can certainly give you an edge. Many of my male friends were given this advice when they came here and quickly shaved off moustaches and beards before they entered the job market. It may seem trivial even discriminatory but they weren’t looking to make a statement or break new ground.
Now NDP leader Tom Mulcair is faced with a similar dilemma (lighten up) as he prepares for the prime ministerial office. Several websites have been a buzz about his beard and whether or not it will hinder his prospects, gaining him a dedicated twitter handle on the subject. One site even offered a look at how he might appear without one. After all, the last time a Canadian prime minister wore a beard or moustache was more than a hundred years ago.
Mulcair of course says he is standing his ground, having lived with a beard since he was 18. In fact he is expecting to start a new trend considering the clamour for more bearded men in office. This should please all the bearded men—from the slightly hesitant with a rugged shadow to the middle-of-the-road goatie and the wild hippie or the full-blown hobo. Nobody’s complaining about Brad Pitt or George Clooney’s beards but I guess they’re not moving into 24 Sussex Drive anytime soon.
While Mulcair has his fans who aren’t deterred by his facial hair, there are others who are quite certain that he should lose it if he expects to have a fair chance. Wow! I’ve never been a fan of beards and solemnly swore never to get involved with a man who had one (I guess I’ve always been Canadian at heart.) but would it influence my vote? Let’s just say everything else being equal it might finally come down to the facial hair thing.
I took a look at today’s world leaders and figured that the beard-protesting Canadians might be on to something. EU heads of state tended to be clean-shaven as were most Asian leaders. With the exception of Indian PM Narendra Modi. Most African dignitaries too preferred the clean look. Even Middle-Eastern leaders kept it minimal.
I got pretty entangled in this beard-or-no-beard issue. Would it matter if Liberal leader Justin Trudeau spotted a beard, I wondered. He did wear a well-trimmed goatie or circle beard at one time and his great hair often creeps into the conversation even at election time. Just ask Mr. Harper who couldn’t refrain from a comment breaking away from usual tight-lipped approach. That fact is that several Canadians are consumed with Trudeau’s boyish charm and tempted by the thought of a good-looking prime minister. Perhaps that is an indication of how much of an impact election manifestos are making. That voters can see through their election gimmicks.
I couldn’t however wrap my head around a bearded Mr. Harper. That could certainly lose him the elections I thought. One website had a field day trying to decide what type what suit our Canadian prime minister and I’m happy to report that they didn’t make anything stick.
It’s less than four weeks to elections. Current polls indicate a tie between the Conservatives and Liberals. Even Trudeau has probably acknowledged that and hinted at joining hands with the NDP. Yet here we are debating Mulcair’s beard! Perhaps Canadians are fed up with all the elections we had in the recent years. Worse still is the thought that a minority government or a coalition holds the promise of yet another one. Until then we can only speculate whether the next prime minister will be bearded or clean-shaven and how long before we make the switch!