Stephen Harper is in Newfoundland to visit areas damaged by post-tropical storm Chantal, but Premier Danny Williams is fuming that the prime minister didn't tell him he was coming.
Harper's office revealed his plan to visit the province about two hours before he was to board a coast guard helicopter in St. John's.
"We just heard this morning through the media that he was coming to town,'' Williams said in an interview.
"Our (federal and provincial) ministers were talking last night on the phone and there was no mention made of the PM coming to town. So I'm just disappointed. In an emergency situation like this, at least the common courtesy of a phone call to say he was visiting ... I could have attended at the site with him.''
"It's would be nice in situations like this if leaders, especially the prime minister of the country, can rise above other differences ... because when people's homes are being washed away and their lives are being washed away before their very eyes, that's the time that they see their government there to support them."
This was a golden opportunity, for Harper to stand beside Williams, showing that people can still come together during a crisis. If Harper was shrewd, his staff could have contacted Williams, made it clear that the visit should focus on the flooding, and enjoyed a nice photo-op to help repair his battered image in the province. Instead, Harper snubs another Premier, which leaves a negative impression, for a appearance that was supposed to convey sensitivity.
This incident is a perfect contrast to Harper's earlier claims of "national unity" in PEI. No dialogue whatsoever, with anyone who dares to offer dissent. Kumbaya, kumbaya.