When Bill Tamminga saw a photo of an Ontario field bearing a political message, he decided to respond in kind.
The farmer from Cranford, Alta., plowed one gigantic word into his wheat stubble field last week: Harper. The letters are each 150 metres tall and the word itself is 800 metres wide.
A day later, he added a box and a check mark, signifying a vote on the ballot.
Tamminga said he disagreed with the Ontario field message, which said “anybody but Harper.” He thinks prime minister Stephen Harper is the right man for the job.
His brother, Jake, accompanied Harper on a trade mission, and that personal connection formed Jake and Bill’s opinion of the man.
“He was highly impressed with (Harper’s) love for the country and for the people of Canada,” Tamminga said. “I really think he is the man to do it.”
The precision of the word plowed in Tamminga’s field led to social media speculation that it was fake, created using photo software.
“If that’s what people want to think, that’s fine. There’s proof out in the field. I think in the big picture, it probably made more publicity with people arguing about it,” said Tamminga.
“My daughter said it well. ‘Dad doesn’t even know how to do Photoshop.’ It would take me longer to do Photoshop than to drive in the field.”
He said the process took about three hours and involved the use of old stubble, cultivation lines and all-terrain vehicles to map out the initial word. Then he followed up with the cultivator.
“It was rainy one morning so we couldn’t do potatoes,” said Tamminga about digging the crop he sells to McCain’s. The family also grows sugar beets, seed canola, fresh peas, timothy, alfalfa and grain.
“If it does anything, I hope it encourages people to vote, and then I really hope they vote for the right guy,” he said.
Tamminga lives in the Bow River constituency, where boundaries were recently redrawn.
Seven candidates are registered there: Martin Shields for the Conservatives, Lynn MacWilliam for the NDP, William MacDonald Alexander for the Liberals, Rita Ann Fromholt for the Green party, Frans VandeStroet for the Christian Heritage Party, Fahed Khalid for the Democratic Advancement Party and Andrew Kucy as an independent.