Becoming the object of ridicule in Quebec can't be what Mini Bush had in mind for his budding star. Enjoy this one today:
More than a week after he flew to Afghanistan for a Thanksgiving weekend visit with the Canadian military, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier is still facing questions and is being teased about handing out Jos. Louis cakes to soldiers at a remote outpost.
By the time he got home, Mr. Bernier's gesture had given birth to a new mocking expression, "Jos. Louis diplomacy," apparently first uttered by Liberal military critic Denis Coderre, who had been on a rival visit to Afghanistan.
Again yesterday, on a public-affairs show on the TVA network, Mr. Bernier was told that it was "kétaine" (tacky) to give the snacks to soldiers from the Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment.
And in a weekend speech, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe said the Conservatives' policies amounted to "gas for Alberta, cars for Ontario - and for Quebec, little cakes."
Pierre Côté, a trends analyst and one-time head of an Internet-based marketing agency, said the Jos. Louis is one of Quebec's oldest brands and has a strong stamp in the popular consciousness here.Jos. Louis diplomacy...that is priceless and a great way to kick off this overwrought political week...:)
To people who support the Afghanistan mission, a Jos. Louis cake could be comfort food, a reminder of home similar to what a Tim Hortons doughnut would be for anglophone soldiers, Mr. Côté said.
But, he noted, for critics of the mission, the Jos. Louis handout looked like a piffling reward for the soldiers.
On his blog, humorist Stéphane Laporte called the minister a "Jos. Louis pusher."
"It was humiliating to see the little soldiers having to look grateful!" he wrote. "Life is worth more than a Jos. Louis."