Harper’s son Ben in highlight on Conservative marketing campaign path

Ben Harper and Laureen Harper on the campaign trail. (CTV News / Laurie Graham)

Ben Harper and Laureen Harper on the marketing campaign path. (CTV Information / Laurie Graham)

It is Thursday night time and Day 12 of the election marketing campaign. The Conservative aircraft has flown this week from Ottawa to Quebec Metropolis, then on to Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, and Winnipeg. As we fly to Hay River, N.W.T., we’re all very drained. Exhausted, truly.

All of the sudden, an unfamiliar voice is heard on the in-flight intercom.

“We’re going to have a contest,” he says.

It is Ben Harper on the entrance of the aircraft, holding a Winnipeg Jets jersey.

“What’s the distance from Hay River to Iqaluit?” he asks. He pauses for impact, then provides “in nautical miles” and laughs. “The closest number gets the Jersey.” Another person shouts out one other rule: “The closest with out going over.”

The Harper youngsters have been campaigning with their father for a decade — they began as babies and at the moment are younger adults. Ben is 19 and Rachel 16, and they seem like having fun with this marketing campaign.

“They’re actually into this one,” one marketing campaign veteran says. “They’re older. They get it.”

Rachel is a bit more reserved, and even appears a bit shy. I caught a glimpse of her this week passing by the foyer of a lodge. As she tried to mix into the gang, I gave her a smile and he or she politely smiled again, however stored strolling.

Ben might be seen mixing it up with a number of the staffers and can be within the again rooms serving to his dad. He was there for debate prep and people near Harper say he gives recommendation and in addition helps maintain issues mild.

That is how they’re spending their summer season trip. Maybe it’s not their first alternative, however they will blame their dad for calling an early — actually early — election.

In Hay River, Harper took a second to refer particularly to his youngsters. “I’m proud to have Ben and Rachel with me,” he informed a small gathering of supporters. “That is their first go to to Hay River and it is nice for them to be right here.”

Rachel and Ben Harper

And the workforce likes having them right here too. These near Harper say he is extra relaxed along with his household at his facet. Laureen, in fact, has all the time travelled throughout campaigns, however insiders say Ben and Rachel add some levity.

The brother-sister duo sit on the entrance of the aircraft with their mother and father, however they don’t seem to be all the time nonetheless. They might be seen volleying a ball backwards and forwards utilizing the seat between them as a web. All of the whereas, their father is sitting someplace close to them, little doubt making ready for the following whistle cease. “He loves it,” one staffer mentioned. “The boss is having enjoyable.”

It is not all the time enjoyable for Harper as his marketing campaign continues to be dogged by questions in regards to the Duffy deal from the very reporters travelling on the Conservative aircraft.

Stephen Harper, Laureen, Rachel in Nunavut in 2008

File picture: Conservative Chief Stephen Harper, his spouse Laureen, and their daughter Rachel stroll alongside the shoreline in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)

Insiders say Ben is protecting of his father, however he understands the sport.

So, on this Thursday night time flight the sport is guessing the variety of nautical miles from Hay River to Iqaluit and Ben Harper, who’s the spitting picture of his father, has turned a grumpy aircraft into enthusiastic contestants.

Although the younger Harper has sat day after day listening to the media pound pointed questions at his dad, he walks to the again of the aircraft the place we sit. It’s his first foray into media territory and he cracks a couple of jokes as he collects the sheets of paper with our ultimate solutions.

As he publicizes the winner — a member of Harper’s safety element who guessed 1,300 nautical miles when the reply was 1,303 — the younger Harper appears genuinely happy to current the jersey. His father, little doubt, is genuinely proud.

At a ultimate cease Iqaluit Friday night, Harper tells a small group of supporters that it’s Ben’s first journey north, however he then seems at his daughter — who has her mom’s options — and says it’s Rachel’s second journey: “She was right here when she was slightly youthful.”

We discovered a photograph from that journey in our archives, for Sept. 2008 in Iqaluit:

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