This morning, as I gathered the week’s newspapers for recycling, I noticed the photo-op of Prime Minister Harper pouring a glass of beer at a Halifax pub. The tap indicated he was dispensing an Alexander Keith product.

As I looked at the photo, five questions (that’s all the Prime Minister will allow reporters to ask at his campagin stops) came to mind.

First — Did the Prime Minister forget that Alexander Keith’s is not really a “local” brewery? It was purchased in 1971 by Labatt, which in turn was purchased in 1995 by Interbrew, an international company that now includes breweries on five continents? (Could it maybe be called a “coalition” of brewers? Probably not!) If the Prime Minister really wanted to be local, there are well over a six-pack of really good microbreweries and brewpubs in the Halifax area. Think of Propeller, Hart and Thistle, and Granite to name but three. If Mr. Harper had stopped at one of these places, he’d have discovered beers that were local and really had flavour.

Second — Was the Prime Minister aware that, in November 2010 it was announced that production at the Halifax plant was being cut back, that the majority of Alexander Keith’s products would be brewed outside of Nova Scotia, and that over two dozen jobs at the Halifax brewery were probably going to be lost? Not good news at a time when the unemployment figures are distressing, not only in the Maritimes but across Canada.

Third — Did the Prime Minister know that beeradvocate.com, one of the most respected international consumer rating sites, gave Light Ale, the beer the Prime Minister was pouring (and one still brewed in Halifax), a rating of  C-? Next to the letter grade was the phrase “not worthy.”  Several individual consumer comments included the word “bland” and one reviewer called the product “an ale that’s been dumbed down for lager drinkers.” Maybe not the best product for a man who wants to continue being the country’s leader to be seen pouring.

Fourth — Is it possible that this photo op is sending messages that the Prime Minister’s campaign officials weren’t aware of?

And fifth — I wonder what beer the Prime Minister drinks? I’d sure like to know before I head to the polling station on May 2.

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