Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 2 of biggest ever U.S. media blitz by our Conservative government

You know, on the heels of the PM's New York launch of his "biggest ever U.S. media-blitz," the meeting between Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon and Secretary Clinton just didn't seem to do it for anyone. We try really hard around here to buy into the hype and muster up some kind of insightful commentary on the Harper gang's latest but this LC guy is not exactly bringin' it in terms of inspirational material. But we shall do our best...

First of all, with respect to his invitation to Clinton to visit Ottawa, you know, the awkward camera captured moment - "you too...can come to Ottawa...and be equally well received...I'm sure" - I'm sure she's pencilled that one in already. Enough with the mutual invitation society at this point, you know?

As for the "meat' of the day, the tete-a-tete on substantive issues between the eminent foreign affairs honchos, also a bit of a letdown.

On Khadr, Cannon seemed to be proud to announce, once again, perhaps for one of the last times that hey, we're still doing exactly nothing here, and by the way, the kid is an alleged murderer. Nice. Did you hear that giant round of applause last night, Mr. Cannon, when President Obama reiterated the closing of Guantanamo Bay? Huh? You'd think a major ally making a gesture would be appreciated, like other nations are doing ("In Madrid yesterday, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said his country was prepared to accept prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Reuters reported. He made his comments after his first meeting with Ms. Clinton."). But no such movement from Harper and Cannon. Hope they live long with the memory of their inaction at this historic moment.

On Afghanistan, Cannon said that he did most of the talking here, giving the impression once again, like Obama to Harper last week, that the Americans are hanging back. The "ask" is likely to come, whatever that may be down the road. Cannon did suggest more civilians, thank the U.S. for more military and had this to say:
"In the light of Canada's experience in Kandahar, I also offered to share the lessons Canada has learned in Kandahar in the areas of training the Afghan National Police, border management and overall reconstruction and development work," Cannon said late Tuesday afternoon.
OK, we've been there a while and have experience to share, fair enough. But just ixnay on the whole Kandahar massive rison-pay reak-bay...not exactly great moments in NATO force command operations.

As for media coverage of the biggest media blitz ever, if anyone can find a U.S. piece covering this visit...more power to you. AP's big Canada story yesterday seemed to be what the new standards should be for airliners hit by bird strikes, specifically Canada geese. Ouch. New York Times? Nothing. Washington Post? Well, the Spanish accepting Guantanamo prisoners made it on the Post web site. No Cannon though. Very brief report by AFP. That's it.

So I guess we can sum up by saying...little accomplished to speak of on the substantive front, totally overshadowed by Obama speech last night, and media didn't notice. In other words, in Conservative speak, a total success for the Canadian people...:)