Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Quebec radio comics phone-prank Harper

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MONTREAL -- A pair of well-known radio pranksters managed to dupe Prime Minister Stephen Harper into having a five- to 10-minute conversation in which he gave political advice.

Harper thought he was chatting with Quebec politician Franßois Legault in a French-language conversation to be aired Monday.

The prime minister congratulated the third-party leader for fighting the new Parti Québécois government's plan to increase taxes on high income-earners, but cautioned against toppling the minority government too fast.

Quebec's so-called Masked Avengers say they got the prime minister on the phone Thursday while he was in New York City to receive an award for international statesmanship.

They say they did it by posing as Coalition Party Leader Legault and pretending not only to be seeking Harper's advice but also to be offering congratulations on the award.

The comedy duo said it's grateful to the United Nations for its very successful week.

First, officials at the global body put them through to secretary-general Ban-Ki Moon in a stunt Wednesday that aired the following day. Next, they gave the duo phone numbers they used to track down the prime minister.

"Well played," Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall wrote a day earlier on Twitter.

"The PM always welcomes a chance to speak with the people of Quebec but we do usually like to know about it first."

-- The Canadian Press

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 29, 2012 A21

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