Tradition has it that prime ministers avoid domestic partisan politics in the international arena, where they speak for all Canadians.Thank you for reminding your readers just how inappropriate Harper was to be denigrating a domestic political opponent on the international stage. It was, as has been well canvassed, embarrassing.
Yet Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the Montebello summit to attack Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion for questioning the agenda of the conference.
Of course, the prime minister had to defend the meeting. U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexico's Felipe Calderon did so as well. But neither took a cheap shot at their political opponents.
Instead of emulating his guests, Harper followed by skewering Dion yet again, this time in French.
Siddiqui also slams Harper for failing to raise significant issues with Bush:
As for the two other issues that Canadians wanted raised, Harper didn't – gun trafficking ("more than half of gun crimes committed in Canada's major cities are with guns smuggled from the U.S.," Dion said), and the fate of terror suspect Omar Khadr held by the U.S. at the naval detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.Not like he didn't have an opportunity to raise Khadr with Bush, as we learn from another column today, reporting on the Harper/Bush alone time...
Whether Khadr is a good guy or bad is irrelevant. The issue is one of upholding Canadian values. Do we stand up for a fellow citizen? Do we believe in the rule of law? Do we raise our voices against cruel and unusual punishment?
Knowing what a hellhole Gitmo has been, Britain, France, Germany and even Australia negotiated the release of their nationals. But Canada has been silent on the Ottawa-born Khadr.
In isolated custody for five years, he is broken in spirit and body.
He should be brought home, as demanded by the Canadian Bar Association and many human rights groups. If there's a case against him, he should be charged, given his day in court and, if found guilty, marched off to a Canadian jail.
But Harper didn't say a word. He is either out to curry favour with Bush or believes that the young Canadian deserves to rot in Guantanamo Bay.