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The Globe and Mail

Harper cuts loose on air-strip ATV joyride

To the complete surprise of everyone, including his security detail, Prime Minister Stephen Harper enjoyed an impromptu high-speed joyride in Tuktoyaktuk Thursday afternoon.

Following a day of announcements and photos opportunities Mr. Harper was to have boarded a C130-J Hercules for the trip to Whitehorse, Yukon, where further events awaited.

Instead, to the obvious surprise of the security detail, he got onto a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle and headed at high speed out onto the airport runway, with police cruisers and ATV's belatedly - and futilely - in pursuit.

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The rogue PM eventually returned to the aircraft where he was surrounded by reporters and photographers, one of whom wondered whether he had a licence to operate the vehicle - especially on restricted space such as an air strip?

"I think I make the rules," the PM quipped.

Photo: Prime Minister Stephen Harper atop an ATV on the fourth day of his five-day northern tour to Canada's Arctic on Thursday Aug. 26, 2010. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

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About the Author

John Ibbitson started at The Globe in 1999 and has been Queen's Park columnist and Ottawa political affairs correspondent.Most recently, he was a correspondent and columnist in Washington, where he wrote Open and Shut: Why America has Barack Obama and Canada has Stephen Harper. He returned to Ottawa as bureau chief in 2009. More

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