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2 min

More crass opportunism

To ensure that he got plenty of media attention of his own during the Olympics (and apparently distracting Canadians from focusing on our athletes), Stephen Harper headed to Haiti yesterday aboard a C-17 cargo plane. His press people were sure to let the Press Gallery know that also on the plane were water filters, medical supplies, aid equipment, mail for soldiers, and office supplies. Yes, office supplies – it turns out that Harper, in and amidst photo ops, announced that Canada would spend $12 million to help get the Haitian civil service up and running again. He then spent the night aboard HMCS Athabascan, and he’ll head back to Ottawa today.

While it’s all well and good to announce more aid for Haiti, one really has to wonder about the rather crass nature of the announcement. Flying down to Haiti, so that he is forced to tie up troops that would otherwise be, oh, helping people, is bad enough. But I get the sense that this was more about trying to look good in front of the international media while they’re all parked in Vancouver to watch the Olympics, and to try to burnish his own image at the expense of the disaster in Haiti. Seriously? Poor taste. Gauche.

Back in Ottawa, Michael Ignatieff wrote a seven-page letter to Stephen Harper to lay out what he’s looking for in terms of positions he’d be willing to support once Parliament returns. And it’s a bit of a laundry list – he outlined issues brought up from their roundtables, and constructive suggestions on policies to bring forward. He also explicitly wanted to get to the business of limiting prorogation, with a special committee to review the reforms. And good luck with that, good sir.

Seriously, though, it must be quite difficult of a position to be in to have to write such a letter. Put in just enough things to try and push your agenda forward, and if the government takes you up on them, declare victory. Don’t put enough in, and you’re accused of not being helpful (or not having a platform). Put too much in, they can either swipe all of the good proposals and claim them as their own, or they’ll discredit them with a massive smear campaign (hello carbon tax). Not a balance I would want to have walk, that’s for sure.

A group of sixty would-be parents rallied outside of Queen’s Park yesterday to argue for the government to fund in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatments. Apparently it’s not only the right thing to do, but would save the province millions of dollars in the long run by preventing costly multiple births, and so on.

And Power & Politics had Olympic kayaker Adam van Hottie van Koeverden on to talk about the need for more government funding. Enough said. (Video here – he shows up around the 18-minute mark).
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