The Conservative minister said talks are continuing.(Reuters)
“I don’t think there has been a ‘no’ per se. I think it’s an ongoing negotiation,” Mr. Van Loan told Reuters.
“We’ve been speaking in the past, and I hope we will be speaking again in the future. If we keep working at it and keep talking, I’m confident our positive relationship will continue.”
Well that sounds promising, like an adult approach might be surfacing to salvage that base's crucial operation in the coming year. An olive branch being extended. But wait:
Within hours of Mr. Van Loan’s comments hitting the newswires, another government official denied, on background, that air-negotiation talks were still taking place.So Van Loan has to then dial back his remarks, moving from the active "it's an ongoing negotiation" to the passive "we are always open to discuss these matters... ." Rug pulled out, check.
And a spokesman for Transport Minister Chuck Strahl said that his department believes the existing air flight agreement with UAE adequately serves market needs.
Not an auspicious effort from the Harper team, at least what's playing out publicly, to fix this situation. A word or two from someone of the in-charge variety might help clear it all up. Someone who has the plan. And assuming there is a plan, that is.
International affairs just keep peskily intruding on that "it's the economy" focus that these Conservatives would prefer. It is called politics and not economics for a reason.