Pedigree, accomplishment and choice of beverage don't make one an elitist. Inability to relate to, and participate with ordinary Canadians is a far better measure. One of the most laughable frames is this idea that Stephen Harper is more a man of the people, more in touch with average Canadians, more "regular". In fact, Stephen Harper is probably the most guarded, detached, elitist Prime Minister we've seen in some time. Stephen Harper doesn't like Canadians, in fact he does everything in his power to avoid interaction. Outside of a room full of gushing partisans, Stephen Harper is uncomfortable conversing and interacting with Canadians, the last thing in the world you will see is Harper actually visiting a Tim Horton's. Oh, he might make a tightly scripted appearance in a venue that conveys a sense of connectedness, but that presentation evaporates when one entertains the unthinkable- actually MINGLING.
I've met Ignatieff in a very informal setting, speaking, answer questions, mingling with people who weren't necessarily "fans". I watched the sense of ease, very much like this telling post by Aaron Wherry, Ignatieff is quite comfortable with the "masses". That's really no surprise, because Ignatieff has spent considerable time in his life "diving in", not content to pen observations from a hotel room, but from the streets of the world, in place far less "sophisticated" than our latte loving destinations. I've lost count at how many times Ignatieff has done town halls, taking all comers, including hostile partisan plants. The measure of a man in many respects, when speaking of detachment and "air" is their capacity to relate, a genuine sense of comfort. Education doesn't make you an elitist, worldliness and travelling in intellectual circles doesn't make you an elitist, DETACHMENT and lack of respect and recognition make you elitist.
This brings us to the champion of the people, Stephen Harper. There are certain moments that crystalize the nature of a person. During the last election, all party leaders were invited to take part in CBC's "Your Turn", which basically provides ordinary Canadians a chance to interact with their leaders. It's really a pretty pedestrian affair, the questions are screened and generally they deal with the big issues, no real surprises. All the leader's agreed, except one, who DEMANDED that he take NO question from a Canadian or else he wouldn't APPEAR. Think about that for a second, the man of the people was so concerned about actually interacting with average Canadians, he issued an ultimatum and sadly CBC agreed. In the last election, Stephen Harper didn't answer ONE question from a ordinary Canadian; come to think of it he hasn't answered ONE since. What is Harper afraid of? I mean, this is the guy who could waltz into Tim's and feel at home? Truth of the matter, Stephen Harper would be TERRIFIED at the prospect of an unscripted dialogue with the people he claims to represent.
When Barack Obama visited Canada, people will remember his arrival at Parliament Hill. Harper waited indoors, greeted Obama and then began to walk towards the receiving line of elites. Obama stopped Harper, apparently oblivious, and said "do you mind if we go outside", because he understood the crowd waiting outside, he understood that a simple wave, a recognition, is what a true man of the people does instinctually. Harper didn't give the commoners a second thought, because Harper really isn't a "people" person, that sort of display makes him uncomfortable. Harper has no relationship with Canadians, the only time he wades into a crowd, it's a bunch of party hacks bused in, to convey some presentation. Harper doesn't want to speak with the media, he doesn't want to speak with YOU, he doesn't want your input, he doesn't find it necessary to INTERACT. Stephen Harper is a detached, social misfit that conducts himself like an ivory tower elitist. Meanwhile, the cultured international intellectual, grabs his expresso and heads out week after week speaking with Canadians of all stripes, in a way Stephen Harper never COULD or WILL. An interesting contrast, given all the presumptive talk.