Fredericton — If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter in the past week, you’ve probably noticed a few pictures being shared of Premier Brian Gallant hanging out with some elementary-aged children in their classroom during what Gallant is calling an “information session” rather than a “publicity stunt.”
“I’m just connecting, building relationships and passing on some knowledge,” responded Gallant when asked about his school visit. “I probably made these kids’ year by showing up, shooting the shit and telling them stories about me and Blaze — it was probably better than Christmas for them.”
Sharon Lovington, a third-grade teacher at Royal Road Elementary in Fredericton, said she had no idea that the premier was going to be stopping by her classroom that day.
“Had I known he was coming, I probably would’ve done myself up a little more,” she regretted. “But all the same, he showed up, brought a photographer with him and just kind of said incoherent things to the kids all morning. And then Jeff, one of the slower kids in my class, started asking why the premier wasn’t using his time more wisely by working on our economic problems instead of hanging out in third grade for the day — the premier was a little taken aback.”
The Manatee spoke with Jeff Stewart, the child in question, who admitted that he at first had no idea who the classroom visitor even was.
“Initially I thought he was someone off one of those Bachelor shows my mom watches,” he recalled. “Then he told us who he was and it occurred to me that he should probably be doing something better with his time. I asked him questions about the francophone problem in schools, the debate surrounding shale gas, the property tax scandal, the poor state of economy or if he had any ideas on how to fix our aging infrastructure while at the same time reversing our crippling debt — and he replied with only an anecdote about a cool new trick that he taught his dog.”
Our reporter asked Gallant why he brushed off Stewart’s thoughtful questions.
“Oh, no one likes that kid,” he said. “It’s pretty easy for me to pick out the loners, and he’s one of them and he didn’t even know what he was talking about. I was helping the kid with his sight words and he kept spelling ‘their’ instead of ‘thier’ — kid doesn’t even know the ‘I before E’ rule. And I totally let him beat me at that math test just to boost his self-esteem.”
The premier also defended his decision to bring along a professional photographer, which the children said effectively turned the whole visit into yet another shallow photo-op.
“That’s a big bunch of bologna!” exclaimed Gallant. “That photographer comes with me everywhere I go — everything is a photo op; these kids aren’t special. And if I just do these things for publicity as these brats claim, then why is it that I’m in constant contact with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for kids who want to meet their favourite premier? I keep telling them I’m available and they keep telling me that no one has wished for that, ever — that’s not my fault.”