Monday, August 14, 2006

No Excuse

Most world leaders put the AID's epidemic amongst the top international issues. Especially concerning that our Prime Minister couldn't find the time to show up, even in his own country. In fact, it would appear the PMO has lied to conference organizers:
In the first public criticism of Harper by conference organizers, Wainberg said he had been trying since the last election to get the prime minister’s agreement to attend the conference.

“We understood that a new prime minister and a new government might not understand the importance of this conference,” he said, “and we wanted to tell them everything they needed to know. We never wanted to embarrass Mr. Harper, which is why our door was open until the last moment. I have deliberately not made statements to the press about his absence until now because we have been hoping against hope that he would change his mind.”

"Trying" since the election doesn't quite jive with this sad excuse:
Although Harper was on a visit to Canada’s north this past weekend, organizers don’t believe the prime minister is absent from the AIDS conference because of a scheduling conflict — the reason now being given by his officials.

They see his decision as deliberate, but seem genuinely baffled as to why he isn’t attending and sharing the international spotlight with attendees such as former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

What a golden opportunity for Harper to host the world, even if his appearance was merely symbolic. There is only one way to spin this absence, Harper intentionally snubbed the conference. I'm sure the rest of the world in attendance is collectively shaking their heads. Unbelievable.


Anonymous said...

why would he show up?? He has a pretty important job to do, you know, running the country. Let bono et el hobnob with the celebs & pat each others back, let the PM do his job

Steve V said...

" He has a pretty important job to do"

Oh, my apologies. I thought world crises were part of the job description.

Anonymous said...

Whether Harper likes it or not, he is the P.M. of all Canadians, including those that he and his christian right supporters don't like.
If this was an international conference on cancer or heart disease, you can be damn sure his schedule would have been re-arranged to accommodate it.

Chris Schnurr said...

Well, this conference is information sharing with delegates from around the world to discuss, in part, what George Bush has described as a threat to world stability.

I do not think taking an hour out of his busy schedule in the far North is too much to ask to welcome delegates, and world leaders, to Canada.

Steve V said...

Yes, no one suggests Harper should be keynote speaker. I suspect his handlers were worried about the gay marriage angle. If so, a simple appearance, even in the corridors would have blunted criticism. Harper should have been there morally, but even politically there was a way to make it work.

Mike said...

" He has a pretty important job to do"

I'm curious what is going on in Nunavut and the Arctic this week that is more of a crisis than a global epidemic that's killing millions....

He's a coward and he's running away, as a head nod to his neanderthal social conservative base.

Steve V said...


For a guy who seems to have no urgency on global warming, he sure is interested in the northern passage.

Scotian said...

This is a disgrace, pure and simple. AIDS is recognized as one of the most destabilizing elements in the third world (and arguably the second/developing one as well) to increasing peace, order, and stability. This is something he should have been at, period.

I suspect why he did not go is because of the kinds of questions he could be asked afterwards and even if he chose to not answer the fact that he didn't answer those questions could hurt his political chances at a majority. This man does not do anything without considering how it will affect him politically, no PM does (well not if they want to keep the job that is, it is not a matter of ideology but the nature of the beast as it were) so the only conclusion one can draw is that he was afraid the potential negative from his base outweighed any growth potential/capacity outside that base.

This can only be a deliberate snub, this is not the result of "scheduling conflict", and besides, what is he doing in the North that is so time sensitive/critical that he could not have rescheduled it? No, what his officials are telling us is yet more Harper spin instead of truth, just like pretty much everything else to come out of the PMO since Harper came to power. These folks spin the stuff that doesn't need spinning (either because it is too insignificant or because it is too obvious because of other sourcing) because it is such second nature for them to do so IMHO.

Steve V said...


It's almost like he planned to be as far a way as possible. Although, there is some justice in the absurdity of Harper walking around the tundra, while Canada hosts the world.

Canadian Tar Heel said...


You may find this interesting. Joseph Lavoie criticizes an absurd suggestion made by one of his fellow Conservative bloggers. I could hardly believe that someone would even suggest that every case of aids "can be traced back to a moral choice to engage in disordered sexual conduct." Yikes !

Steve V said...


Wow. I don't know what else to say.

Lept said...

But he is just following the tradition of your one but last leader, a Mr Chretien, it seems?
Bastards both.

Steve V said...


As a detached observer, who do you think would be the best Liberal leader? You have to pick someone :)