Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stephen Needs Help NOW!

Matty, you need to rise above it all.

Stephen has really messed up badly. Again.

He needs an ally, a friend with influence in DC. He needs your help. Please, I beg you, give him a phone call and offer your good offices to help him deal with the American Government. He and his advisors have no idea what they are doing.

I thought, with Michael Wilson gone, things would be different, there would be a better strategy developed in how to deal with the White House. At least the PM did not bring Minister Baird with him to DC so there was no Ambassador Bridge discussion. That at least helped.

But it is bad, very bad. You know that snub at the Three Amigos Summit. It is worse than I ever thought possible:
  • "Of greater importance may be the chance to solidify a relationship between the leaders, one a Conservative and the other a Democrat, of nations that have the world's biggest trading relationship.

    The two did not have a planned 15-minute bilateral meeting at the North American "three amigos" summit in Mexico last month, at Obama's request, so that they could have a longer visit in Washington."

Obama cancelled a FIFTEEN MINUTE conversation. No 15 minutes of fame for Stephen with the President! What a bloody insult! If that is not a snub I do not know what it is.

And the excuse was to have a longer talk in DC....42 minutes was scheduled. Does that mean that otherwise, Harper would have been given about 20-25 minutes! Hardly makes sense to spend all that money on aviation fuel for the PM's jet for that.

Wow, what a joke that is. Obama spent more time with the Governor General on the red carpet at Ottawa airport in the winter joking around with her than that.

  • "What can you cover in 42 minutes, after they get through the niceties of 'How's your wife?' and 'How's your dog?' " one well-placed expert on bilateral affairs told the Toronto Star.

    "Even if this stretches into overtime and Harper charms his way into a working lunch, it feels more like a photo op than anything else. It will win a news cycle showing the Prime Minister on the world stage."

And to rub it in:

  • "The hour-long Oval Office chat will be a much scaled down meeting from Obama's day-long trip to Ottawa in February, soon after his inauguration, which dominated Canadian headlines for days."

That is why this comment is hilarious trying to salvage Harper's ego:

  • "One expert in Canada-U.S. relations says Obama has no outstanding issues right now and the visit is something of a presidential gift to Harper.

    Chris Sands says Obama is keen to establish good relations with America's allies and the visit will send a message to Canadians that Harper is managing the U.S. file well."

Is he kidding---Harper's lack of any results demonstrates we need Obama's friend IGGY as PM! No more NAFTA-gate memories with IGGY. Heck, the President may think that Harper's days as PM are numbered so why bother with him!

And did Stephen ever put his foot in it again. Are those Carleton University people STILL around?

  • 1) Be his buddy and he might like you this time around. While he is formal and respectful, you be one of the boys like your new Ambassador to show how chummy you now are.

    "PRIME MINISTER HARPER: Well, thank you very much, Mr. President. First of all, Barack, let me just say I really appreciate -- this is our seventh time I think in some form or another we've had a chance to discuss some of these issues and we appreciate your time and of course both your and your country's alliance, neighborliness, and friendship. It's our most important relationship in the world. We're always delighted to sit down and talk.

  • 2) Yup, make it clear that you are going to try and endrun the Obama White House by dealing directly with Congressional leaders. Undercut the President's authority in his hometown too. If this tactic was tried by Obama in Canada, it would be a diplomatic scandal:

    --"In addition to meeting with Obama, Harper makes the trek to Capitol Hill on Thursday to discuss his concern about trade protectionism with the most powerful Congressional Democrats."

    --"As well, Frazer pointed out, Harper knows where much of the real power in Washington resides - in Congress. To that end, the prime minister will trek to Capitol Hill on Thursday to meet with leading congressional Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."

  • 3) Insult the President and make him look foolish:

    --"And he warned that if the U.S. fails to do so, its credibility as a free trading nation is at risk.

    "The United States cannot be a credible voice for keeping trade flows going if it can't deal with trade irritants with its single best trading partner. I think it's critical we make progress on this," Harper said in an interview that aired on CTV News.

  • 4) Threaten the Americans again with energy cut-offs but be more subtle this time

    --"We discussed energy security and climate change. I remind all our American friends that Canada is by far the largest supplier of energy to the United States."

  • 5) Make it clear that you will be a pain in the butt:

    --"Harper's office says he will be "aggressive and persistent"

  • 6) Pretend that you do not understand why the Buy America provisions hurt Canada

    "The provincial governments in Canada, my understanding is, are not signatories to the WTO government procurement agreements that would have preempted any of these "Buy America" agreements. That might be one solution. But in addition, we're pursuing, on a bilateral track, efforts to make sure that these sources of tension diminish."

We in Windsor saw this on the border in their joint statement:

  • "They expressed satisfaction with the productive ministerial dialogue put in place since the President’s visit to Ottawa in February on promoting a secure and efficient border, to contribute equally to North American security and prosperity."

If that is not a kiss-off to DRIC, I do not know what is.

I hope Stephen finally listens to Senator BLOGMeister-to-be. Only Matty's bridge is going to be built.

Stephen must know it by now. He must realize that he got taken in by his bureaucrats and so-called advisors early on over trying to force the Bridge Company to sell out cheaply and if he did not, then he knows it now.

Stephen, and Ambassador Doer, need someone who knows his way around. When Matty calls, I hope they are there to answer the phone.

PS The Washington Post and New York Times picked up the Reuters story on Harper's "oil threat" which means a number of DC politicians will get even angrier at us. They will not want to be threatened either by Canada:

  • "Harper made a pointed comment about how much the United States needed Canadian energy."

I guess their White House Reporters were too busy elsewhere.