OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a back seat to his wife Laureen on Wednesday as the two helped inaugurate one of her pet projects.
The Harpers cuddled kittens after cutting a ribbon to officially open Ottawa's new Humane Society building.
The federal government contributed $3.5 million toward the shelter, which cost nearly $12 million to build.
The prime minister remained virtually silent as he stroked a black cat while Mrs. Harper spoke at length about the cats she has adopted.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, also a cat lover, fumbled and fondled as he held an orange cat he decided should be named Lloyd.
Humane Society officials announced at the opening of the 3,700-square-metre shelter to which an anonymous donor gave $1.5 million, marking the completion of a fundraising drive to pay for the facility.
Laureen Harper is chair of the society's annual fundraising ball.