Lisa LaFlamme: My conversation with the prime minister
Lisa LaFlamme sits down with Stephen and Laureen Harper.
Published Monday, December 26, 2011 9:36PM EST
Happy Boxing Day everyone,
I hope you're enjoying time with family and friends this holiday season.
I'm excited to remind everyone that our full year-end interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, plus a lot more with his family, airs tonight.
You can watch it on CTV at 7 p.m. local time in most of the country, except in Manitoba and Saskatchewan where it will air at 10 p.m.
On CTV National News viewers got a sneak peek of my interview, in which the prime minister revealed several key points – including that he's ‘serious' about selling Canadian oil to Asian markets after the U.S. put the Keystone XL pipeline project on hold.
In tonight's hour-long interview you'll hear much more about the trade deals he's working on with other countries, his plan for health care funding, his defiance on destroying the gun registry database and his defence of Peter MacKay.
He also opened up about his personal life, giving us exclusive access to his office and the Prime Ministerial retreat at Harrington Lake. Mrs. Harper joined us for part of the interview and revealed so much to me about her life and the balancing act when it comes to raising kids in the public eye. She is such a down-to-earth woman with a great sense of humour.
We walked the trails at Harrington Lake and it was fascinating to see this power couple slip into a totally different mindset -- conversation about the economy and health care changed to the number of bear sightings on the lake, the bat that got loose in the living room, and the calm they feel as they pull up the private drive to the rustic and rambling old house.
Off camera they told me how much they love the freedom of walking the woods without police detail, fishing with the kids -- bass and sometimes trout. Laureen also expressed her gratitude to then Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin for having initiated repairs to the roof – at one time, there was apparently so much guano (bat poop) that it made the house uninhabitable!
After the walk Laureen wanted the whole crew to come inside for hot chocolate, unfortunately we had to catch a plane but still had time for a very informal tour.
The most striking thing about the house is the fact that nothing seems to have changed in decades. Couches are well worn, there are fabulous old wooden trunks -- snowshoes hanging that look like they belonged to the courier du bois! It's like a rustic museum of Canadiana. For half a century it's been the place where Prime Ministers kick back.
Mr. Harper put a piano in the living room and on New Year's Eve, they roll the rugs up for a dance party.
She told us a few great stories about special guests like Prince William and Kate. After Canada Day, they had 3 hours alone at a solitary side of the lake where no one but the loons could interfere. Kate actually borrowed 12-year-old Rachel's pink fishing pole -- no word if she caught anything.
Laureen Harper told me her mother has been watching "A Conversation with the Prime Minister" since Lester B. Pearson -- and is excited that her daughter is part of this year's Boxing Day special.
The show is an interesting mix of politics and personal -- Harper's first year ender as a majority leader -- something else he opened up about that may surprise you.
Hope you'll join our Conversation with the Prime Minister tonight.