The Moment: Kory Teneycke snaps a selfie with demonstrators

The Moment. In this daily feature until Election Day, the National Post captures a telling moment in time from the 2015 campaign trail.

Apparently amused by the pitifully small protest outside the Charlottetown airport, Conservative spokesman approached the demonstrators and asked through a chain-link fence, “would you be offended if I got my picture taken with you?”

A chorus of yells greeted the request when, as a CBC camera captured the action, a grinning Teneycke turned around and snapped a selfie.

Protesters seem to follow Stephen Harper wherever he goes these days, but only a sad crowd of eight found the time to gather in P.E.I.’s capital as the Conservative leader prepared to jet off to New Brunswick.

There was a woman in a fanny pack leading a half-hearted chant of “bring back .” A grey-haired man yelled,  “I saw Trudeau and he let me speak to him for 10 minutes!” And a tuque-wearing man of college age hoisted up a sign with the hammer and sickle and the slogan, “End Canadian imperialism.”

“How’s it feel to be a fascist running dog?” the betuqued Communist said to Teneycke as the micro-demonstration was photographed for posterity.

The scene was no less strange among Harper supporters. After a long day of potato’ and lobster-related announcements, Harper and his wife Laureen were pseudo-mobbed by a crowd of locals as they boarded the Conservative campaign plane.

Off in the distance, a small public address system blared peppy classic rock, including the unlikely Conservative hit Bang a Gong (Get It On) by T.Rex.

As the Harpers worked their way through the gauntlet of handshakes and old-people hugs, an official-looking man in a lanyard patrolled the small crowd, waving his arms and imploring them to clap louder.

And — inevitably for P.E.I. — a girl dressed as Anne of Green Gables was positioned right near the aircraft stairway.

Nobody has yet found the “food terrorist” putting needles into P.E.I. potatoes, but Harper’s day in the island province had included a visit to the giant warehouse acting as a kind of airport security against future tuber sabotage.

P.E.I. Potato Solutions is home to a scanner than can pick out needle-tainted potatoes before they get to market. It was only a few weeks ago that the Conservative government promised $1.5 million for similar tech across the island.

Thursday, Harper stood in front of a pile of needle-free potatoes and promised the island $20-million more to spend on lobster promotion.

“Lobster production numbers are healthy, and we want to make sure we keep it that way,” he said in front of a group of stoic locals holding up signs reading “Proven Leadership.”

The announcement is indicative of the minuscule pledges that have defined a campaign dominated by the idea of fiscal constraint. In the few hours Harper was in P.E.I., Canada spent way more than $20-million on debt servicing alone.

Although the island has fewer people than a single riding in Greater Toronto, the fortunes of Confederation have given it four MPs: one Conservative, two Liberals and one Liberal who only won by a few hundred votes in 2011.

About Tristin Hopper