We call him Mini Bush for good reason don't ya know:
I think we can all put the notion that Mr. Harper is a strong leader firmly to bed. It speaks to someone's innate character traits that they would stand in front of their nation and allow themselves to be used to build a case for war. Put yourself in Mr. Harper's position and ask whether you would have allowed yourself to be used like he did. It's not even close.
As for Minister Teneycke's spin that this is an old speech and that it smacks of desperation...I think I'll go with Paul Wells' take on it, just expressed on CBC. That the Conservatives regularly trot out old speeches and the like to attack Liberals. They cite Bob Rae's economic record in Ontario as Premier in the early 90's to undermine him, for example, and on the listeriosis issue they certainly haven't hesitated to point the finger at the Liberals for actions in years gone by. This was 2003.
Whether to go to war in Iraq was one of the monumental foreign policy questions of our time. Harper chose to be a hand puppet. A Bush cipher. He was lazy. Using a speech apparently disseminated internationally to right wing conservative politicians that the Bush administration sought to galvanize to their side was fundamentally dishonest. We know that Harper opposed Chretien's decision to stay out of Iraq, but he didn't seem to care enough about his own country's fundamental interests to write his own, made-in-Canada speech. It's the uncaring, easy sign-on to the Bush approach that's disturbing.
And now that the link has been made, the Canadian people deserve to know it. It's not a sideshow at all. It speaks directly to the issue of leadership, which Mr. Harper has made a big show of saying he embodies. Turns out he's not a leader at all, he's a follower.