Got to get it right, Stevie
Stephen Harper and Jose Manuel Barroso
The other day in Brussels, after signing the free trade between Canada and 28 European countries, our usually humorless Prime Minister Stephen Harper was bubbling over with joy.
No doubt he was proud of himself, already seeing how the history books would interpret his role in the economic history of Canada.
On stage at his side stood the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso who seemed pleased to see the normally taciturn Canadian leader so happy.
Except that on stage Harper kept calling him "Juan Manuel."
Who knows who Harper might have been thinking of -- "Juan Manuel Iturbe" the famous soccer player, or "Juan Manuel Marquez" the champion boxer, or "Juan Manuel Fangio" the famous Formula 1 driver. There are a lot of Juans and Joses in Europe. Hopefully he hadn't mistaken his host for "Juan Manuel" the noted 14th century Spanish writer?
The real José Manuel Barroso standing beside him just cringed and said nothing every time Harper couldn't get his name right.
It was like when U.S. President George Bush kept referring to his friend the Canadian Prime Minister «Steve Harper.»
We'd let it go.
Barroso, with all his European class, did the same thing last Friday.