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Those in the know suspect that Stephen Harper and Kathleen Wynne hate each other. Even without a rigorous evaluation of this claim, it is easy to see how it could be true. Both politicians represent different political ideologies. One succeeded a regime with many dirty secrets, while the other runs a regime with many dirty secrets. Both wear glasses and have short hair. On paper, their rivalry is palpable. On Monday, it overflowed from the room in which they met.

Despite Kathleen Wynne’s many attempts to get Harper alone in a room (she wrote him a series of letters!), the two hadn’t met face to face for over a year. When she finally landed the meeting, it lasted less than 45 minutes. It’s safe to say that at least one person left unsatisfied.

 

You wouldn’t know that there was any animosity after looking at the official photo the pair released following the meeting.
PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE

 

Surprisingly, both look quite happy to be in each other’s company. Sure, neither one is actually looking at the other. They might have been exchanging barbs and laughing at their own jokes, but on the whole they still look pleasant. Insincere, but pleasant. It’s worth noting that the photo came from the PMO, which suggests it is an implausible representation of what happened in the room. So, we’re back where we started.

What the hell did they talk about? The CBC reports that jobs and the economy were the evening’s discussion topics. So did they talk? With those topics on the agenda, we might imagine that the first 40 minutes featured a review of four years of federal Conservative Party advertising. 40 minutes would allow for only a small highlight package, but Wynne would probably get the idea. Alternatively, if we refuse to count an exchange of talking points as a conversation, they might not have spoken at all.

Seriously, what the hell did they talk about? Did Wynne greet Harper by saying “nice to see you”? Did Harper say, “the feeling is mutual”? Is it possible for two seasoned politicians to sit down and exchange thoughts without playing games? Does Stephen Harper have a brain, or is his skull cavity full of sticky notes bearing party slogans, excuses, and manufactured statistics? Along these lines, the problem with this sort of meeting is that it raises more questions than it answers. At least we get a photo out of it. Then again, maybe that’s the point.