Prime Minister Harper to attend Game 4

The Prime Minister's Office said Wednesday that Stephen Harper will be at the TD Garden in Boston as the Bruins host the Vancouver Canucks for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, took in a game in Vancouver earlier this season with Canucks great Trevor Linden. (Geoff Howe/Canadian Press)

There will be a special guest in attendance for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Prime Minister's Office says Stephen Harper will be at TD Garden on Wednesday night as the Boston Bruins host the Vancouver Canucks in the crucial matchup (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 p.m. ET).

Vancouver leads the series 2-1 after getting trounced by Boston 8-1 in Monday's Game 3.

Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas says the prime minister will be joined at the game by his daughter Rachel and Heritage Minister James Moore.

Harper is paying $1,060 for the value of a commercial airline ticket for himself and Rachel for the flight to Boston on the defence department Challenger jet, and $500 each for his game tickets.

Moore is also paying his own way, Soudas added.

Hundreds of Canucks fans were in attendance for Game 3, including the Green Men, a body-suit wearing duo known for their taunting routines by the glass of the opposing penalty box at games in Vancouver. They sat about 15 rows up from one of the nets.

Harper, who is writing a book on hockey history and was a fixture at Canada's games during the Vancouver Olympics, announced on his Facebook page Tuesday that his new cat will be named Stanley.

A poll on the social-media website had asked people to vote on a name for the grey tabby.

NDP Leader Jack Layton was asked Wednesday about Harper jetting off on the Challenger and responded: "He'll have to defend that, won't he? I won't be on the plane."

Layton added he'll be watching the game on television.

He also repeated an NDP call for "a royal commission on the whole issue of head injuries in hockey."

"It was something that had widespread support prior to the election and we would call on the government to embrace our proposal there," Layton said.

Boston's Nathan Horton was knocked out of the final with a severe concussion after taking a late hit from Vancouver's Aaron Rome in Game 3. Rome was suspended for the rest of the final.

The Canucks are looking to become the first Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup since Montreal won it back in 1993.

Vancouver took the first two games on home ice and hosts Game 5 on Friday.

"Terrible example"

Opposition MPs complained it isn't right for Harper to take the Challenger when his government is talking about austerity and $4 billion in budget cuts.

"It's a terrible example," Liberal MP Joyce Murray said on CBC's Power & Politics.

NDP MP Glenn Thibeault questioned the logic of taking staff and a security team to Boston to watch the game.

"I'm going to do like most Canadians, I'm going to have a beer and cheer on the team in a local pub," he told host Evan Solomon.

It's illegal for MPs to accept gifts like money, or services provided at less than commercial value, "that might reasonably be seen to have been given to influence the public office holder," according to the ethics commissioner guidelines.

A spokeswoman for Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson told CBC News that information given to their office, and advice provided, is confidential unless the law requires it to be disclosed, or if the commissioner writes about it in one of her reports.

with a file from CBC News