Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Harper Government Again Embarrasses Canada on the World Stage

When speaking in L'Aquila Italy in 2009, Stephen Harper launched into a blistering attack against Michael Ignatieff. It was not only confusing to the foreign press who weren't used to partisan attacks on the international stage, but it was also based on false information.
Harper, whose party has questioned his rival's commitment to Canada because the Liberal leader lived three decades overseas, said Ignatieff should withdraw any suggestion that Canada could be excluded from a new body to replace the G8."I think it's an irresponsible suggestion, and Mr. Ignatieff is supposed to be a Canadian."But his spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, quickly met with reporters to say he had misinformed the prime minister on the matter. Soudas said the remark attributed to Ignatieff was actually made by an academic, and he apologized for the error. (1)
So should we be surprised that in an address to the United Nations, foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon would again go on a partisan rant?
The Harper Conservatives injected partisan politics into their UN Security Council campaign, telling international diplomats Wednesday that Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff puts his party before his country. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon delivered that partisan message to an audience of international diplomats gathered to hear a major speech on Canada’s foreign policy at his department’s headquarters.

Cannon was taking Canada’s bid for a temporary seat on the UN’s most powerful body directly to the Canadian envoys of countries that will decide that race next Tuesday in New York. But Cannon also attacked Ignatieff directly, the second time in weeks a federal cabinet minister has used a speech to a non-political gathering to take aim at the Opposition leader. (2)
This must be so embarrassing for Mr. Ignatieff, who already has a well earned international reputation.

In December of 2009, he was named one of the world's top 100 thinkers by Foreign Policy Magazine, "for showing that not all academics are irrelevant." and he also made Forbes prestigious list of people to watch for in 2010.
The Watch List: Michael Ignatieff. After decades in Britain and the U.S., the professional intellectual returned to his native Canada and became head of the Liberal party. If a federal election is called in 2010, he could become the next prime minister, and the Canadian head of state with the biggest international profile since Pierre Trudeau.
Ignatieff's father was a long serving diplomat and his family is about as Canadian as you can get. What must those at the UN think of Cannon and of us? This is reprehensible.

And to think that it came from a man who is one of four cabinet minsters who may not even be allowed to run next election, because of questionable campaign spending. This has got to stop.


1. PMO apologizes after Harper slams Ignatieff, By Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent, Canwest News Service, July 10, 2009

2. Cannon blasts Ignatieff to diplomats, says he puts party before country, By Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press. October 6, 2010


  1. I think it should be more, 'Harper is supposed to be a Canadian.' His international slagging of elected leaders and institutions like health care, ignoring the will of Parliament and shutting it down to protect his own political career and misleading Canadians about the legitimacy of a coalition lead me to wonder about his love and commitment to this country.