The study measured 30 newspapers as well as television satire from such programs as CBC's Rick Mercer Report and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. It found that 20% of all political satire portrayed Dion as physically weak. Cam Cardow of the Ottawa Citizen depicted Dion as too weak to lift boxing gloves to face Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for instance, while Sun Media's Susan Dewar regularly drew a skinny Dion wearing a green elf suit.
"In terms of portrayal, a number of cartoonists and satirists chose to view him like this, while you almost never saw that kind of characterization of Stephen Harper,” said Andrew Laing, president of Cormex Research. In contrast, the study found Harper was portrayed as a bully, the party strongman, and too tough to wear sleeveless sweaters — despite the fact that Harper isn't exactly a jock.
“I would give even odds in a push-up contest,” joked Laing.
A new weekly analysis report on issues and personalities covered by Canadian political satirists is available every Tuesday at satirecanada.com.