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Canadian PM gets by with help from friends

Oct. 4, 2009 at 11:55 PM

OTTAWA, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper surprised a National Arts Centre audience by playing a Beatles' tune on piano at a gala event supporting young artists.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Ottawa band Herringbone provided a little help as Harper regaled attendees Saturday by playing "With a Little Help from My Friends" at the performance in Ottawa, the Ottawa Citizen reported Sunday.

The performance came just a year after Harper said he did not think "a bunch of people at a rich gala" had much in common with "ordinary working people."

Harper's comment is believed to have been in reaction to Canadian TV celebrities who protested government cuts in spending on the annual Gemeaux Awards, which honor outstanding Canadian television programs, the Ottawa Citizen reported. It is further believed that the comment deprived the Conservative Party of votes in Ottawa, leaving Harper without a majority government in last October's national election, the newspaper said.

"I think it was a great move on his part," Jim Watson, a cabinet minister, said.

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