Commentary, such as this example, is objectively good news for Harper:
It was not clear heading into the summit precisely how Canada would align itself. Environmentalists accused the government of running interference for the U.S., but Harper had refused to explicitly endorse the U.S. stance.
It is now clear that, at least on some issues, Canada finds itself closer to the European Union than perhaps many observers expected.
Canada - along with Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Russia and Japan - supported the global target of cutting emissions by 50% by 2050. Only the U.S. opposed the target.
Harper even offered veiled criticism of countries such as the United States and China that have not set specific targets for cutting emissions.
Harper managed to create the impression, factual or not, that he is an ally of the European position on climate change. Harper also benefits from the bland communique, because Canada is singled out for its commitment. Again, I'm not speaking to the merits of our plan, more the sales pitch, and in this regard Harper has gained credibility for the government on the international stage. Canada looks engaged, interested and part of the process. This posture is meant to take some of the sting out of the Kyoto abandonment, and on that score, some progress.
The G8 summit is irrelevant, in terms of substance. Never has that fact been more striking than at this meeting. Listening to various leaders spin the final document, it was simply amazing to watch people attach such grandeur to a mostly meaningless announcement- global warming bad, we must do something, how earth shattering, this ancient news. The G8 is an exercise in propaganda, leaders positioning themselves so they can return home triumphant, real progress an afterthought.
I'm not suggesting Harper is a big winner, there are plenty of criticism available. What I am saying, all things being equal, given the expectations, Harper can leave the G8 mostly unscathed, with a few new talking points for counter. If I limit myself to a verdict on ability to paint pictures and presentation, Harper gets a pass, maybe a small bounce, in the land of people who really aren't paying much attention. Thoughts?