Green leader turning heads

Cowboy duds or dandies? It seems everyone is a fashion critic during the 10-day Stampede when even the most staid accountants, sales clerks or high-ranking oil executives trade in their business attire for the swagger that accompanies a cowboy hat, boots and a pair of Wrangler jeans.

Federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May shows off her Calgary Stampede outfit along the Stampede parade route on July 3.

Cowboy duds or dandies?

It seems everyone is a fashion critic during the 10-day Stampede when even the most staid accountants, sales clerks or high-ranking oil executives trade in their business attire for the swagger that accompanies a cowboy hat, boots and a pair of Wrangler jeans.

Those who don’t high-tail it down to the western wear store and at least make an effort to “go cowboy” stand out like sore thumbs and set themselves up to be the target of ridicule.

Politicians are not exempt as they make their all but mandatory appearances at the Stampede to show they’re down with Alberta folk.

“You have to look comfortable. You have to look western, like you belong and like you enjoy it,” said David Taras, a longtime political scientist at the University of Calgary.

“The cost of getting it wrong is the impression you don’t belong, you haven’t given it much thought, you’re not western, you’re not populist. That’s a bad message,” said Taras.

Brian Guichon, owner of Riley & McCormick Western Stores in Calgary, watches politicians closely when they ride into town.

At last year’s Stampede, The Canadian Press showed Guichon photos of the federal leaders in their western getups and asked him to pick the best and worst dressed.

The winner was beleaguered federal Liberal leader Stephane Dion followed closely by Prime Minister Harper. The loser was amiable Green party leader Elizabeth May, wearing something that Guichon referred to as “leisure suitish.”

But times change in just one year.

“Oh. She has done well. This is very nice,” exclaimed Guichon. “Nice buckle. Nice belt. A little bling happening there with a silver-and-gold buckle. The shirt’s fitted well and is nicely westerned out.”

New Democrat Leader Jack Layton also got top marks with his black hat, belt, jeans and NDP bandana.

The prime minister received praise for his new belt and buckle, but was wearing his cowboy hat a little too far back on his head.

But new Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff didn’t live up to his old boss’s sartorial splendour. Guichon said Ignatieff, in a checked blue shirt with his head bare for all the world to see, obviously hadn’t grasped the Stampede spirit yet as he served pancakes.

Just Posted

Rural communities could face policing bills

Province considering getting smaller and rural communities to pick up a portion of policing costs

Random Acts of Green Canadian tour comes to Red Deer

Red Deerians are being encouraged to lessen their impact on the environment.… Continue reading

Free blood testing for HIV, Hep C, syphilis offered Thursday in Red Deer

Anyone can drop by from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Bower Ponds pavilion

Red Deer economy bouncing back but slowly: report

While Red Deer’s economy has been in recovery mode for the past… Continue reading

Red Deer cyclist dead after being hit by vehicle

A Red Deer cyclist was killed when he was struck by a… Continue reading

WATCH: 2019 Canada Winter Games will leave a lasting legacy, say organizers

It leaves Red Deer with the infrastructure and confidence to host future such events

Your community calendar

Wednesday Central Alberta Historical Society annual general meeting is 6 p.m. at… Continue reading

Couche-Tard wants to be a player in the sale of cannabis

LAVAL, Que. — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. wants to be one of the… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: A safe supply of water has long been a priority for Red Deer

The oldest part of the Red Deer water treatment plant on 54th… Continue reading

New parent charged in admissions scam, linked to $400K bribe

BOSTON — A woman accused of paying $400,000 to get her son… Continue reading

Canadian stars Virtue, Moir say in video they’re “stepping away” from ice dancing

Canadian ice dancing stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir say they are… Continue reading

Bruce Cockburn avoids impulse to get political with lyric-less new album

TORONTO — If anyone is looking for activist folk singer Bruce Cockburn… Continue reading

13 seasons in, stars reflect on success of ‘Heartland,’ Canada’s ‘comfort food’

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — Alberta-born actor Shaun Johnston had already had a… Continue reading

N.S. senior whose birthday card request drew international response dies

SYDNEY, N.S. — A Nova Scotia widower who received thousands of birthday… Continue reading

Most Read