Yesterday, it was revealed that the Harper government tried to set up a meeting between Psy, the “Gangnam Style” hero, and parliamentary secretary Deepak Obhrai. The motive: to snap a few photos to show Harper’s commitment to Korean-Canadians. If there’s one thing people love, it’s using a single thing to describe an entire group of individuals. If the Premier of Turks and Caicos visited Canada again, shouldn’t he meet with Rob Ford?
Deepak Obhrai had a complex schedule ready for his visit to South Korea. It included paying respects to fallen soldiers, meeting with senior government officials, attending a roundtable on human rights in North Korea, and interacting with several Korean NGOs.
But photos of such trivial matters wouldn’t show Korean Canadians that we have strong ties with South Korea. Obviously not.
According to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird’s office, a meeting with Psy would be “an important cultural element/connection.”
Important enough to warrant $250,000? That’s how much an appearance with Psy costs, on average. Canadian officials in Seoul asked the ministry what their logic behind this meeting was. “A photo op to bring attention to the visit to a young generation” is the best excuse they could find. What is $250,000 in the grand scheme of things? A picture with Psy would change Korean-Canadian relations forever. It would be the dawn of a new era, an age of peace and prosperity. A noble cause.
Embassy officials in Korea mentioned that a photographer would cost around $350 a day. Were they trying to back out of this historic event?
Erich Cripton, an official in Baird’s office wouldn’t take no for an answer, stating, “Please continue efforts to arrange a meeting with Psy. There are no plan Bs.”
There are no Plan Bs. It’s now or never.
It turns out, they chose never.
Psy continued to be a breakout hit, and his appearance fees only rose. It is assumed that his asking price was just too high for the Harper government. In that single decision, the legacy of Stephen Harper has collapsed. Canadians, generations to come, will be left wondering, “What if they took that photo with Psy?” Of course, that will come after ask, “Who the hell is Psy?”