Stephen Harper’s Christmas card ‘controversy’

In recent weeks, Stephen Harper has been criticized for his position on the Kyoto Accord, the omnibus crime bill, and his decision to eliminate the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly.

Now, he's being called out for the family portrait donning the cover of his 2011 Christmas card (pictured above).

The Toronto Star is reporting Harper and his children appear to be wearing the same clothes they did in last year's picture.

"The backdrop is different — a garland-laced fireplace this year, an outdoor scene with 24 Sussex Dr. behind them last year," notes the article.

"But the Prime Minister is sporting the same grey sweater and red-striped shirt. Son Ben is in a white shirt, daughter Rachel in a similar-looking blouse with the same bracelets adorning her wrist. Only wife Laureen appears to have changed outfits and hairstyle from one year to the next."

The columnist, appropriately,  concludes that the Prime Minister was unable to get everyone together for the annual holiday snap, so may have just 'photoshopped' a new picture.

The newspaper even called the Prime Minister's office to get to the bottom of the story but was met with an uncooperative spokesperson who said "no comment...it's a Christmas card."

The majority of online readers of the column have blasted the newspaper for publishing the story.

"All the Star does now is spend all their time trying to find any little thing you can to twist and spin to deride the government of the day," Westender wrote.

"This is not news but petty vindictiveness."

Another reader wrote: "Slow day in the newsroom? Who really cares if they're wearing the same clothes as last year?"

But in fairness to the Star, Canadian newspapers have been publishing and critiquing political Christmas cards since the 1950s.

Last year, the controversy was around Michael Ignatieff's card.

"Michael Ignatieff's Christmas card isn't a Christmas card," Sun Media personality Ezra Levant wrote in a column last December.

"It's a "holiday" card. It has a Jewish menorah on it, which is great...But there's not a single Christian symbol on the card."

(Handout photos)