Arts & Culture

The Force is in Ottawa: Our political leaders’ favourite Star Wars characters

The Force is strong in Ottawa, with our politicians’ thoughts in “a galaxy far, far, away” ahead of the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Faster than Luke can unsheathe a lightsaber, many of the capital’s political leaders responded to our quiz on the storied, starry franchise — we asked what Star Wars means to them, and to name their favourite character. Here are the responses we have received so far:

Conservative leader Rona Ambrose

Rona-Ambrose-Leia

Star Wars is a story of darkness versus light and the triumph of good over evil. My brother and I had all the toys: lightsabers, the model Millennium Falcon, the star fighter, and costumes to go with it. I wanted to join the Rebel Alliance!
Favourite character: I’ve watched all the movies several times and this summer I watched all of them again in the “right order” with our kids in anticipation of ‎The Force Awakens. Princess Leia is my favourite because she is strong, intelligent and brave (and hot). Favourite moment in politics was when I was named the “Princess Leia of politics:” don’t mess with the Princess!

NDP leader Tom Mulcair

TomMulcair-BenKenobi

A Star Wars fan, I’ve always been.
Favourite character: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Great beard.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Minister; Ottawa Centre MP

Catherine-McKenna-Yoda

When I think of Star Wars what first springs to mind is play-fighting with lightsabers with my siblings.
Favourite character: Yoda, because he is wise. And quirky!

Andrew Leslie, Orleans MP and chief government whip

Andrew-Leslie-Space-Slug

Adventures, romance, good triumphing over evil, and really cool battle scenes!
Favourite character:  The space-slug in The Empire Strikes Back. Who saw that coming!?

William Amos, Pontiac MP

William-Amos-Boba-Fett

Star Wars is our generations’ epic tale of good versus evil, where the positivity in our universe is confirmed to be the powerful force. It also meant collecting cards and chewing stale bubble gum from wax-paper packages circa 1981.
Favourite character: Boba Fett, because he was a mercenary, and his helmet was so cool.

Mayor Jim Watson

Jim-Watson-R2D2

The new film takes me back several decades to when the original movies came out and they were such a cultural phenomenon. Those first films were great and I’m looking forward to seeing this new one.
Favourite character: I’m not sure why, but I always liked R2-D2.

Bob Monette, Deputy Mayor, Orléans Ward

BobMonette-Yoda

Star Wars was something that I enjoyed as an adult and I also enjoyed watching my kids growing up with it. Today I’m looking forward to not only seeing it with my kids but also with my grandsons.
Favourite character: I would have to say that Yoda is my favourite because he is such a wise character and he never gets older than what he is. Every Star Wars, Yoda is always a major player and you cannot have a Star Wars without Yoda.

Mark Taylor, Deputy Mayor, Bay

Mark-Taylor-Han-Solo

I think Star Wars is the classic battle between the good and bad in all of us. Even as the plot layers got thicker it was always front and center how important it was to feed the inner good in each of us. Even in our world we see what happens when we feed the good, and the bad inside people. Star Wars may have put that on the big screen, but it always reminded us to listen to “the force” inside us all.
Favourite character: Han Solo. Why? Isn’t it obvious? He was basically a good natured pirate whose heart was in the right place, knew the importance of friendship with those who might not be accepted by others, and never gave up trying to get the girl.

Tobi Nussbaum, Rideau-Rockcliffe

TobiNussbaum-Boba-Fett

My favourite scene in Star Wars was the scene in The Cantina, the bar where Luke and Obi-Wan meet up with Han Solo. Ever since then, I’ve had an interest in vibrant, exciting and diverse cities like Mos Eisley, Tatooine, which means the movie may just have played a role in determining my present occupation.
Favourite character: Boba Fett. Imagine how awesome it would be to fly around Ottawa by simply strapping on a jet pack!

Stephen Blais, Cumberland

Stephen-Blais-Yoda

Star Wars was an important part of my childhood. Return of the Jedi is the first movie I ever watched in the theatre and the Droids and Ewoks were always part of weekend cartoon time. When they re-released them to the theatres in the ’90s it was the chance to really appreciate the movies the way they were meant to be watched. When my son Stephen visited me in the hospital for the first time after my heart attack it was watching Clone Wars that helped him adapt to the situation I was in. As a parent, it is amazing to see the excitement in his eyes as we lead up to the new movie and has been a great opportunity to watch the original trilogy with him.
Favourite character: Yoda.  He’s the wisest and most powerful Jedi.  His advice to Luke on not judging those by their size (or other external features) and focusing on what is before you today are lessons we all need to learn. And his lightsaber fights in the newer movies are pretty bad ass.

David Chernushenko, Capital Ward

David-Chernushenko-Ewok

As a boy in Grade 9, I was almost the ideal demographic target for the original film. Why? It was action-packed, funny (and often corny), had amazing special effects for its time (“We’re going into hyperspace!”), enough love interest to titillate and, above all, the introduction of the lightsaber. Now there was an icon: the lightsaber duel, to be replicated the world over by young boys with any available object, complete with self-generated sound effects.
Favourite character: The Ewoks. Funny, cute, smart, determined and lived in trees — what’s not to like? And did I mention they could bring down large, well-armed foe through their ingenuity and organizational skills?

Diane Deans, Gloucester-Southgate

Dianne-Deans-Leia

Star Wars was and still is an epic series, particularly because of its depiction of Princess Leia. At the time, very few strong, feminist characters were shown in films and it was empowering to see such an assertive and powerful woman on the big screen.
Favourite character: I’ve always admired Princess Leia. She’s a true leader and my kind of girl; a tough, determined woman who dances to the beat of her own drum.

Marianne Wilkinson, Kanata North

Marianne-Wilkinson-Leia

Star Wars brought entertainment to new levels, both in the use of special effects but more so in looking at life struggles through a different lens, the factions of good and evil, and the impact when family members are pitted against each other.
Favourite character: Princess Leia.  Even though as a woman she has to be ‘rescued’ she shows grit and determination and that a woman can succeed by her own abilities.

Shad Qadri, Stittsville-Kanata West
Star Wars to me means innovation, creation, hope, and imagination. It helps propel the imaginations of individuals and encourages kids to reach for the stars. I have watched the Star Wars franchise from the very first film as a young man and I look forward to introducing and experiencing Star Wars: The Force Awakens with my grandchildren.
My favourite character: Yoda.  He teaches us to always pass along to others what we have learned and to always believe in yourself.

Jan Harder, Barrhaven

Jann-Harder-Leia

My girls enjoyed Star Wars; it was of their time and now their children will bridge the universe, the generations and no doubt love the journey as it goes on
Favourite character: When Maria McRae was a rookie councillor she jokingly named me Darth Harder! Personally I would have to say Princess Leia. She was strong and stuck to her guns.

Keith Egli, Knoxdale-Merivale

keith-Egli-Yoda

Star Wars reminds me of my childhood. It sends the positive message that sometimes the little guy can win at the end of the day.
Favourite character: Like Yoda I do. His sage wisdom would be welcome around the council table.

Allan Hubley, Kanata South

Allan-Hubley-Yoda

Star Wars is a classic movie franchise that has provided entertainment for millions of fans worldwide.
Favourite character: Yoda, because he is wise.

Riley Brockington, River Ward

Riley-Brockington-Han-Solo

Good eventually triumphs over evil.
Favourite character: Han Solo because he’s determined, focused and speaks his mind.

Scott Moffatt, Rideau-Goulbourn

ScottMoffat-Ewok

A New Hope was released almost 40 years ago and it can still grab a child’s attention as though it was the latest Minions movie. It is one of the only movie series that can transcend generations. My nine-year-old is looking forward to the 18th and can’t wait to see the newest film.
Favourite character: If I had to choose one favourite character, it would be a group of them: Ewoks. I used to watch the Ewoks cartoon when I was a kid. Now, as a dad, I get to experience the movies through my children, which is more exciting.

Michael Qaqish, Gloucester-South Nepean

Michael-Qaqish-Han-Solo

The Star Wars saga brings people together. I have always enjoyed the time spent with family and friends watching these great movies.
Favourite character: Has to be Han Solo. He is a loyal friend who keeps you grounded and will stick by your side when facing off against the worst of Sith Lords … and Han shot first.

Jean Cloutier, Alta Vista

Jean-Cloutier-ObiWan

The Star Wars movie franchise is an important one: I will comment from an amusing business perspective. I was in the movie industry as owner of the Towne and now the Bytowne Cinema at the time of the release of the original three films. Variety is a trade magazine that writes about box office returns, marketing and such. Star Wars IV – A New Hope was expected to do well but not as well as it did. By the time Empire Strikes Back got its business review on May 7, 1980, the only thing Variety could write about the box office potential was: “Only box office question is how many earthly trucks it will take to carry the cash to the bank.” I looked on in envy as the Towne was not in the business of playing this type of first run blockbuster films but … the money would have been nice!!
Favourite character: Has to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. His wisdom and the nobility of his ideals are present in Luke and others over whom he’s had influence. How can you not love a guy like that and want to be as true to our own personal force as he in his?