Scroll To Top
Arts & Entertainment

Musician Ashley
MacIsaac to run for office in Canada

Musician Ashley
MacIsaac to run for office in Canada

Prime Minister Ashley MacIsaac? The controversial out fiddler insisted Tuesday his desire to run for the leadership of the federal Liberal Party is not just another one of his outlandish stunts. "I know that I've courted a lot of press in the past for situations in my entertainment life," said 31-year-old MacIsaac in an interview. "I have for many years relied upon the 'sex, drugs, and rock and roll' image to sell [concert] tickets. That's not what I plan on doing to sell my particular platform of what I think the Liberals need to do to move forward."

MacIsaac shot to fame in 1995 with the release of Hi How Are You Today? an album that included the dance hit "Sleepy Maggie." In no time he was making headlines for his eccentric behavior, which included flashing his genitals when his kilt flipped up during a 1997 appearance on a late-night U.S. talk show. He once told an interviewer that he enjoyed urinating on sexual partners; to another he said he wanted to be "weirder than Michael Jackson."

Calling himself a lifelong Liberal, MacIsaac said he's a changed man who's been toying with the move for a few years. He said he's attended several Liberal conventions in the past and hopes to turn to friend Allan MacEachen, a former Liberal deputy prime minister, for advice. MacEachen spent more than 20 years in the lower house and 12 more in the senate before retiring in 1996.

If MacIsaac follows through, he could be running against former Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae and MPs Scott Brison and Michael Ignatieff, who have been named as potential candidates. MP John Godfrey and Toronto lawyer Martha Hall Findlay have declared their intention to seek the leadership.

Liberal Party president Mike Eizenga declined to comment on MacIsaac's ambitions, citing the need to remain neutral in the contest. Liberal national director Steven MacKinnon similarly declined comment. However, at least one potential leadership candidate indicated that he's not taking MacIsaac seriously. "I can't talk to you," said the putative rival, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "I'm in the middle of a square dance."

On the other hand, Nova Scotia's Conservative premier, Rodney MacDonald, who also is from Cape Breton Island and a fiddler, said he'd welcome MacIsaac's entry into politics. "It would be quite interesting, wouldn't it, to have him at the federal level. We'll have to see if he goes for it. Why not?" he said.

MacIsaac, who is from Nova Scotia but has been based in Toronto for the last five years, said he's ready to mount a campaign to convince people he's a worthy candidate. He said his platform will include aboriginal and youth issues and strengthening ties with Quebec. "It's obvious I'm taking a really big leap to try and have people consider becoming delegates for myself," he conceded, saying that he'd like to at least make the second ballot in the December race.

Some may find MacIsaac's stated political ambitions tough to accept, given past stunts where he's called up media outlets to offer so-called news tips about his life. He told a Calgary, Canada, newspaper in 2004 that he planned to have a gay wedding in Alberta, which won him a couple of national headlines--but there were no reports of any actual wedding. A year earlier he announced he was going to run as an independent federal candidate in Dartmouth but later changed his mind.

On Tuesday he showed up for at least one TV interview in Toronto clad in a fur coat, gold chains dangling from his neck, and black shades. MacIsaac insisted he wasn't being flippant or disrespectful but simply being himself by injecting a "little pizzazz in politics." "People are who they are. I'm not going to be ashamed of who I am," said MacIsaac, whose most recent album, Pride, was released last September and was due to hit stores in the U.S. this week. "I don't think anybody ever had a problem watching George Bush wear his cowboy boots.... Judging a book by its cover is never a good thing to do."

The leadership race officially begins on April 7. The Liberals will choose their new leader on the weekend of December 2 in Montreal. (Angela Pacienza, AP)

Advocate Magazine - Gio BenitezAdvocate Channel - Queer Cuts

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories