04/08/2014 11:34 EDT | Updated 04/08/2014 12:59 EDT

Philippe Couillard Proves Leaders With Beards Can Win

Philippe Couillard's Quebec Liberals captured 70 of a possible 125 seats Monday night and delivered crushing blow to Parti Quebecois supporters who believed, just weeks earlier, that Pauline Marois was en route to a majority government.

And while all three federal leaders are pleased with the outcome of the Quebec election, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair may be particularly happy this morning because Couillard just proved that leaders with beards can win.

It may seem silly but Canada hasn't had a bearded prime minister since Mackenzie Bowell in 1894. And he was appointed to the office when John Thompson died.

Mulcair, who has rocked the whiskers since he was an 18-year-old law student hoping to look a little older, was asked this past summer if a shave might help him at the polls.

"You show me the polling numbers on which that question is based, I would be glad to answer you," he said.

But image consultants told The Huffington Post Canada at the time that beards can create something of a barrier between a politician and voters — and project a stern, cold image that can turn some people off.

"People don't logically say, I won't vote for somebody who wears a beard. It's more of an instinctive, visceral, can't-quite-verbalize-it thing," media consultant Barry McLoughlin told HuffPost.

"In North American culture, it is exceptional to elect someone to high office wearing a beard. It hasn't been done since television came in, but it's a great radio look."

Much like Mulcair, Couillard was asked about his whiskers and made it quite clear he's keeping them.

Couillard, a trained brain surgeon, recently told CBC News' Salimah Shivji he's proud of his look and rejects the notion that beards and politics don’t mix.

"In fact, Couillard is convinced facial hair is back in fashion. I asked him for proof. He told me that before he ran for Liberal leader, he was approached numerous times by women asking for his autograph, thinking he was the (bearded) actor who played Gil Grissom on the popular TV show CSI," wrote Shivji.

And Couillard's right: he does look a lot like actor William Petersen, former star of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."


(Photo credit: The Canadian Press)

But one person on Twitter thinks the incoming Quebec premier shares a resemblance with no less than fictional Dos Equis pitchman, "The Most Interesting Man In The World."


(Photo credit: Twitter:@DosEquis, The Canadian Press)

So, it would appear Canadian politicians don't need to pick up that razor to get elected.

Stay hairy, my friends.

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