2 min

Andy Warhol meets Glee in a pop art anti-O’Brien campaign

Regal pug enters mayoral race with a social media campaign that bites

no caption Credit: Xtra files

In a pop-art display of political promotion, David Rimmer, owner of After Stonewall Books at 370 Bank St, has plastered his window with posters pitting two mayoral candidates against each other — Larry O’Brien and his canine opponent, Cleo, a political pug.

“It’s not all a big joke. Part of it is that I am not really excited by any of the candidates, personally, and I certainly want to see the end of Mr O’Brien — devil take his hind-parts,” says Rimmer.

Rimmer says there are primarily three mayoral candidates in the upcoming elections on Oct 25 — Cleo, Watson and O’Brien. Rimmer says the other candidates running for mayor do not carry enough weight to be serious contenders.

“The other candidates — they are all either out of their minds or too weak to make any impact. So you come down to three candidates, and I am afraid I am going for the dog,” says Rimmer.

Cleo is the latest mayoral candidate to enter the race, and she has her paws clearly focused on winning. She is the only canine among 20 humans clawing for the position of mayor.

Cleo is an ardent political  pug who has been voraciously barking out campaign pledges through social media networks — she has a regular blog and is dogged in her daily tweets.

Rimmer says that since Cleo’s campaign posters have been displayed in his window, people have stopped by to chat about the elections, and he has even seen street cleaners stop work to give him the thumbs-up.

“They are voting for Cleo. There are people that are promising to write in Cleo’s name on the ballot. If this takes people to the ballot box that otherwise may not go and it’s a protest vote, then super,” says Rimmer. “I am quite convinced that this is a serious race and Cleo has as good a chance as the rest of them.”

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Cleo is running a strict leash campaign that focuses on issues dear to her canine community as well as incorporating the needs of her persons. Cleo’s campaign is focused on using social media to promote her ideas on cycling, unifying city council and off-leash dog parks.

As an urban pug commuter, who regularly uses the city bike lanes, Cleo is proposing the city adopt more cycle-friendly lanes. As she writes in her blog, “My position: a painted line does not a bike lane make.”

Cleo is also pushing for more dog-friendly parks in Ottawa that are easy to reach and allow for some off-leash frolicking with other dogs while their humans stand around and watch.

On a municipal governing level, Cleo is urging for a more unified council to govern the city. She is pushing for city councilors to attend monthly dog agility courses to promote teamwork and for council meetings to be held at the Ottawa Humane Society “to serve as a reminder session in empathy and having compassion for society’s most vulnerable.”

It is her understanding of the community and her love for politics that Rimmer appreciates in Cleo, as well as her ability to stand aloof from the mainstream bickering that is common among candidates.

“She’s not going to be wagging her dick at other candidates, as our mayor graciously claims he was when he was battling with Mr Kilrea — she’s got a helluva lot more class than that,” says Rimmer. ”She may sniff private parts, but the rest of them have their nose up each others’ butts anyway — or their own.”

At the time of writing Xtra was unable to contact Cleo for comments.