It’s definitely election season. A rare attempt by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to depart from his usual stoic public persona could become one of the most iconic meme-able moments of the election season.
During a Conservative Party rally in Hamilton, Ontario on Thursday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper ridiculed Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau’s platform to run consecutive “modest” deficits over the next several years, including up to $10 billion per year over the next two fiscal years.
Trudeau said the short-term deficits running until 2019 are meant to increase government spending in order to help stimulate the economy, which has recently faltered amidst falling oil prices and reduced Chinese consumer demand. The increased spending would go towards public transit, green infrastructure, and childcare and affordable housing.
The Liberal plan would double the federal government’s infrastructure spending over the next 10 years from $65 billion to $125 billion to address Canada’s infrastructure deficit.
In front of a large crowd, Harper mocked the “modest” deficit plan with jokes, exagerrated body movements and even a finger squish gesture that has, of course, been turned into a meme by social media users.
“He says he will run a deficit, a modest deficit,” said Harper while doing the finger squish gesture. “I guess it turns out the budget doesn’t balance itself after all. He’ll run, he says, a modest deficit, a tiny deficit, so small you can hardly see the deficit.”
“A modest deficit, and only for three years, three deficits, three modest little deficits. And maybe $10 billion each modest little deficits to start with.”
Since the photo went online yesterday, a number of memes have popped up on Twitter with different explanations of Harper’s gestures:
— Cameron MacLeod (@c_9) August 27, 2015
— Jordan Harris (@vancouverjordan) August 28, 2015
— Andre Nantel (@nantel) August 27, 2015
— The Cult of Eh™ (@Atheist_Eh) August 28, 2015
— Chris Markevich (@cmarkevich) August 27, 2015
— Todd Southgate (@ToddSouthgate) August 28, 2015
— Larry MacDonald (@stellastewie) August 27, 2015
— Chris Murray (@bigcmurr) August 27, 2015