OTTAWA — Simran Jha arrived at a Conservative rally earlier this week looking to meet the Harpers.
No, not Stephen and Laureen.
Jha and a gaggle of teenagers were standing outside asking anyone near a Conservative campaign bus for workers and media whether there was any way to meet the Harper children, Ben and Rachel.
They were Conservative groupies, or, more precisely, Rachel, 15, and Ben, 19, groupies.
Ben and Rachel Harper are young adults who have grown up far away from the public light.
They have been relatively protected from the media glare as are the children of many Canadian political figures, save for a few brushes — including an incident last year when paramedics were called to 24 Sussex Dr. after Ben's birthday party got a little out of control.
On Ben, the shy Jha stumbled through her words: "I just saw him today and, yeah, just wanted to know him more if I had the chance."
The teasing was merciless about the small crush.
On Rachel, another teen in the small crowd points at his friend and yells, "he wanted to marry her!"
They all admit to being somewhat awestruck by the Harper children.
Politically, the family comes out to help the re-election campaign, especially one where the parties have put a focus on winning over families. The young people at these rallies are showing up to see the Conservative leader, but some are really looking for the Harper children.
At the rally in Brampton, Ont., on Monday, the Harper children walked in and stood at the back of the room, just in front of the media cameras on a riser right behind them. A campaign staffer asked them if they wanted to take their assigned seats in the front row; the duo declined, noting they would head there when their parents made their grand entrance.
The crowd of Tory faithful seemingly missed them standing there.
They didn't pose for any pictures.
They didn't sign autographs.
Everyone was looking at the stage.
When their parents arrived, sister and brother went to their seats, not quite unnoticed.
"I just saw him (Ben) standing there in the back," said Dhruv Singla, 15. "He's taller than I expected."
But no one approached the pair to ask all the questions they had for the often seen, but rarely heard from, daughter and son of the prime minister.
Such as, do they enjoy political rallies every night of the week?
"If you like politics, yeah, I think it would be a lot of fun," said 14-year-old Mackenzie Sly after a rally in Edmonton on Wednesday, pondering what their life must be like.
And if not?
"Then that would so boring. That would be brutal," she said.
So, do they like politics?
That's among the many questions that teenagers at rallies had for Rachel and Ben that haven't yet been answered.
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