The opposition has offered to sideline one of its own MPs so that Prime Minister Stephen Harper can attend a controversial meeting with European Union leaders this month in Finland without the threat of his minority government being defeated.
New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton made the offer in a speech Sunday to party officials and said there is nothing that now stands in the way of the prime minister living up to his international commitments.
Harper abruptly cancelled the planned meeting, and the first leg of a trip to Europe, last week amid suggestions that his EU counterparts would chastise Canada for abandoning its Kyoto Protocol targets to launch a plan that sets targets much further in the future.
The Prime Minister's Office said the decision to scrap the visit was based on Harper's feeling that he must look after the business of running the country, which means being present in the House of Commons..
You know the decision not to attend was abrupt, because the excuse offered was so patently lame. Layton calls out Harper, exposing the facade and leaving the government embarrassed. Harper loves to expose the virtue of leadership, but it would seem this only applies if the venue provides good soundbite and photo-op potential.
My sense of leadership also includes standing up in the face of adversity and offering a forceful counter. Harper makes Canada look petty, and more disturbing gives the impression that our government is run with a grade-school mentality. You might say bad things about me, so I'm taking my ball and going home.
I have heard Conservative apologists argue that is unfair for Harper to be subjected to criticism on Kyoto, when in fact the past Liberal government is too blame. I would remind the faithful, Rona Ambrose is on record saying that her Clean Air Act is a model for the world and something that the international community will look upon favorably. Therefore, Harper should relish the opportunity to present our vision, effectively blunting any criticism, as we offer a viable, "revolutionary" alternative. Any Kyoto talk is surely mute, if the Tory rhetoric is actually substantive. The fact no one in the government makes this point and Harper hides tells us all we need to know. You don't hide, unless you have something to hide, in this case our mirage of a plan.
The pattern is now solidified, this is a paranoid leadership that shys away from any forum which could turn negative. Obsessed with government run propaganda, there is no desire to allow freelancing and lose control of message. We saw it with the new media rules, we saw it with the memos dictating what can be said by Ministers, we saw it with the AIDS conference and now with the EU meeting. When you see someone so obsessed with message control and presenting a carefully crafted image, it makes you think they really do have something to hide. Harper operates as though he has a guilty conscious, wonder why?