In what his advisers describe as a "bold and historic foreign policy gesture from Canada's most internationalist Prime Minister EVER", Prime Minister Steven Harper made a surprise visit to a Santiago daycare centre in order to perform a musical greeting for Chilean minors.
The Prime Minister arrived shortly after midnight and was whisked to the daycare by limousine, where he performed "With a Little Help From My Friends" to an enthusiastic group of aides, six Conservative Cabinet Ministers, a select group of journalists headed by Barbara Kay, and the Director and janitor of "Our Lady of Sorrows" Day Care Centre. After prolonged and enthusiastic applause from his aides, Harper encored with "With a Little Help From My Friends". He then left the premises without speaking and was taken back to the Challenger for a quick return to Canada.
"This certainly demonstrates the Prime Minister's deep commitment to and understanding of global affairs," said Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon, who had turned the pages during the Prime Minister's performance. "When we told him about the plight of Chilean minors he had only two questions - what can Canada do to help, and will there be media? Unfortunately most of the journalists we tried to contact were away covering an accident or something, but still..."
Day Care Director Sister Celestina Pereira expressed her gratitude to the Prime Minister and to the people of Canada on behalf of the children who, unfortunately, were home in bed during the Prime Minister's midnight serenade. "Mr. Harper apparently thought Chile was in Africa, and that he'd be here early in the morning in time to greet the children. Or the minors, as he kept calling them", said Sister Pereira. "He got a little annoyed when we wouldn't go wake them up." Officials in the PMO subsequently blamed Michael Ignatieff for the error, but refused to divulge details.
Jose Cal, janitor at the Centre, was circumspect about the performance. Speaking through a translator, he said: "I thought it was going to be BEN Harper. That would have been cool. To tell you the truth, I thought Paul Martin was still Prime Minister. He was, last time we heard anything from Canada."
The Prime Minister's office announced that Mr. Harper is scheduled to pet a kitten later today in a Chinese restaurant "as a bold and historic foreign policy gesture of solidarity to Tibetan diffidents."