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55 Yard Line

Stephen Harper cried over Argos’ 1971 loss, now roots for Calgary, but missed 1995 Grey Cup

Andrew Bucholtz
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Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he grew up with the Argos but is a Calgary fan now.

Given that Prime Minister Stephen Harper grew up in Toronto but now represents a Calgary riding, it was natural that his allegiances in this year's Grey Cup would come up. Here's video of Harper's response when asked about this at the Canadian American Business Council Forum in Ottawa Monday:

So, Harper cried over the Leon McQuay fumble (the most famous negative example of the old Argo Bounce) that cost the Argonauts the 1971 Grey Cup against the Stampeders (one of the most famous battles between the teams), but now roots for Calgary given his connections to that city. The best part, though? Harper finishes with an equivocal, political response, and one that's factually incorrect. "I'd be happy with either — the good thing about a Grey Cup is that a Canadian team always wins."

Sorry, Mr. Prime Minister, but that isn't the case, and a self-proclaimed Stampeders fan should know this. Calgary's the only team ever to lose to an American squad, as Don Matthews' Baltimore Stallions beat Wally Buono's Stampeders 37-20 in the 1995 Grey Cup. Thus, although a Canadian team will certainly win this year (and Canadian teams have won 98 of the 99 Grey Cups to date, and will likely win all of them for the foreseeable future, as we don't seem likely to have another CFL USA era), it's simply not true that "a Canadian team always wins."

Beyond quibbles with Harper's comments and his changing loyalties, though, at least he's willing to declare himself for one team. It's also nice that the PM's at least aware of what's going on in the CFL. Harper's CFL loyalties really don't make a great difference, and it would be nice if he was a little more aware of the history involved, but hey, if he's willing to talk about the league at an international business forum, more power to him. Now we'll just have to wait and see if he changes teams again once Ottawa's franchise comes back in 2014...

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