Prime Minister Stephen Harper waves to supporters at the annual Prime Minister's BBQ during the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede in Calgary, Alberta, July 7, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Todd Korol
According to Prime Minister Stephen Harper that title belongs to Calgary, "the greatest city in the greatest country in the world."
Harper made the comments, which have ruffled some civic feathers elsewhere in Canada, during what seemed like an unscripted moment of hometown swagger at the parade launch of the Calgary Stampede on Friday.
"I think if the (Stampede) founders could be here today and see the great city, see what has built up around this event, they would be amazed," said Harper, an MP in the riding of Calgary Southwest.
"They would be amazed to see that their Stampede has been part of giving birth to the greatest city in the greatest country in the world."
While pundits and political leaders of all stripes have made hay of his comments -- Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson responded by saying Harper got his cities mixed up -- several members of city council are in predictable agreement.
"I personally happen to think that, but what Harper was up to other than playing to the crowd, I don't know," said Calgary Ald. Dale Hodges.
"Every once in awhile, they think about us, not as often as we'd like, but every once in a while the federal guys think about us."
Ald. Druh Farrell called it a "lovely" nod to a city on the verge of transition.
"We have a lot to be grateful for," she said.
Farrell, a native Calgarian, didn't care to compare Canada's cities and said Calgary, as it teeters on the verge of another boom, would do well to take the high road.
"I think one thing Calgary doesn't want to get is arrogant. With maturity should come humility," she said.
Ald. Shane Keating said it's no surprise Harper would make the claim given the city's envious unemployment rate, diverse employment and its move to economic centre stage as the country's third largest municipality.
He declined to speculate what Toronto Mayor Rob Ford might have to say about the whole thing.
"I think he gets into trouble enough on his own without us getting him into trouble here," Keating said.