Harper on the United States - Macleans.ca

Harper on the United States


The official readout of the Prime Minister’s conversation with Barack Obama.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke tonight from India with the President of the United States, Barack Obama.  The Prime Minister extended his sincere congratulations to the President on his victory and wished him well on his second term. 

During their conversation, Prime Minister Harper and President Obama underlined the deep friendship that exists between Canada and the US – a relationship underpinned by the largest bilateral trading relationship in the world as well as close collaboration internationally on peace and security.

During the call, the Prime Minister conveyed that he looks forward to continuing to work with the President on initiatives vital to both countries. In the context of the global economic situation, Prime Minister Harper used the opportunity to convey to the President the importance of the White House and Congress working together to tackle the US fiscal situation.

Speaking with reporters after QP today, Bob Rae was unimpressed with the suggestion that the Prime Minister would be stressing the need to work cooperatively.

I only hope that President Obama is able to get along with other parties and is able to work constructively with other parties than Mr. Harper has proven to be the entire time that he’s been Prime Minister. In my experience in politics, I’ve never, never dealt with a first minister who is less interested in the opinions of other parties, who is less interested in working in cooperation with other parties and who is more determined to run the House like it’s some kind of one-party show. So I hope that President Obama learns from someone else. Of course we want, all the world wants Congress and the presidency to come together on some of these critical economic questions but Mr. Harper is in absolutely no position to give lectures to the President of the United States about how to get along with others. Even in his report cards from Grade 2 and 3, teachers were expressing concern about Mr. Harper’s inability to get along with other kids.

Mr. Rae then confessed that he made this last bit up.


Harper on the United States

  1. A first minister only needs to accommodate or recognize the existence of opposition parties in a democratic system of government, a concept that no longer accurately applies to the one-party oligarchy that Canada has become.

  2. More broadly, this recent habit of Flaherty and Harper to publicly chastise other nations’ financial practices is getting tiresome. I know it plays well at home, and that we ought to feel good about our comparative economic strengths (without getting into the extent to which luck and inheritance constitute no small part of the performance they can brag about). But we can’t be making many friends around the world by behaving as know-it-alls.

    • These guys remind me of the people on planet cricket, when just after they broke free from the dark clouds that had encircled their planet forever they saw the universe in all its glory for the first time…”It’s gotta go!”… and headed straight back home to build a bomb to blow it up.

  3. He got along well enough with the Liberals during his minority reign, when the Liberals were scared of their own shadows.

  4. Cute shot by Rae, although probably true…but I wish Harper would cease lecturing other countries and fix our own economy. He’s all talk and no action.

  5. Does anyone else find it odd that there seems to be little or no real stuff out there on Harper’s life before politics, schooling etc? I know there are bits and pieces, mostly in obscure mags and community rags, but still you’d think there’d be more really.
    Someone did a little piece about his move out to Edmonton and his seemingly abrupt falling out of love with PET, like it was a on the road to Damascus moment. Yet no real follow up. I would have thought that morsel alone would be a Pavlovian ding ding for some enterprising young writer/researcher. We are a remarkably incurious nation as regards the non political formative years of our politicians. Of course many would say that’s a good thing overall.

    • Yes, I have marvelled at the in-depth knowledge we got about Ignatieff’s entire family, generations back…… and his first marriage, relations with his brother…..even a pillow fight at school!

      We learned all about Dion’s colour blindness, inability to choose socks because of it, the fact he doesn’t change lightbulbs, his adopted daughter etc.

      Martin got the same treatment right down to his fathering ability all those years ago.

      But Harper? Bits and pieces like you say, and then only in obscure publications. He worked in the mailroom in his father’s company, but we know nothing about said father….even if he’s still alive. I’ve seen one photo of a brother because of a conflict of interest matter…..Harp and Laureen are now seen posing together, studiously not holding hands.

      Amazing really.

      • The journalists, like the backbenchers, are afraid.

        • Afraid….or in agreement with Harper. Which would be odd considering their profession. Suicidal really.

          • Can you imagine Obama going public with advice he gave Harper on the need to reach accommodation with Mulcair and Kevin Page?

          • I would love to see the explosion THAT would produce in Ottawa!

          • Poiliivere would bite himself and Baird froth at the mouth so much they’d have to test him for rabies.

    • Shhh … Paul Wells is listening …

      • Oh he doesn’t hear nobody who isn’t on twitter these days, does he?
        I didn’t read his book yet though, i’m waiting for it to be cheaply remaindered in second hand book store, cheap bastard that i am; and i haven’t come across it in the library yet. Does it have lots in there about his formative years then? I can’t imagine there’s anything interesting enough for him to bother really. How far can you stretch bright,nerdy, lonely young introverted teenager sits in corner watching and taking notes while other kids have fun and drink too much?
        Sure Trudeau was the same, but he ran off on a motorbike to Mongolia or somewhere and wound up getting kicked out of the USSR for throwing snowballs at statues of Lenin.[ or was it Stalin?] Not quite as circumspect – or boring – as toddling off to work in a mail room in Edmonton.Maybe that’s why he hated him?

      • Wells and Harper are walking arm and arm through the corridors of history.


  7. Rae should be aware of the Executive and Legislative differences between the US and us. He knows full well that Harper doesn’t need the opposition to get it legislation through, whereas Obama desperately needs Congress on side.

    • I’d bet my next mortgage payment Rae is more than aware of that fact, having lived it for quite a while now. He’s also experienced other PMs with quite a different approach to Harper, ones who didn’t think the opposition was just a nuisance, a roadblock to good governance. Besides, we’ve all had to listen to Harper blather on about how he works hard with everyone who’ll work with him, which parsed means…take it or have it given to you anyway.

  8. Rae and the other Opposition passed a motion in the last minority Parliament condemning Harper and his government for being in contempt of Parliament.
    The Canadian Public then gave Harper an overwhelming majority in the following election and wiped out Rae`s Liberal Party.
    And now Rae wonders why Harper does not ask for advice from these clowns—-They said he was in contempt ! —They have no respect for him or his government—why would Harper have any respect for them ? Rae has lost it.

    • If I recall correctly, the contempt motion was a majority recommendation from a committee, due to the government witholding disclosure of costing of some budgetary items like F35’s, thus hampering or preventing the work that parliamentarians are elected to do. That was in 2011.

      Harper was already predisposed in the five years he already served as PM to not seek advice and consensus from anyone, including his own cabinet and caucus, this was well known well before the contempt motion. The only instance of advice-seeking I can recall at this moment is the Manley commission on Afghanistan, and that exercise was designed for optics only, to give a pre-determined decision a patina of non-partisan consultation.

    • But he was in contempt. 37% of the country were too dumb to care. (What’s the matter with Kansas, indeed).

      • Yup, anybody who votes Conservative is a mouth breathing moron who’s too stupid to see the brilliance of NDP and Liberal policy.

  9. “I only hope that President Obama is able to get along with other parties and is able to work constructively with other parties than Mr. Harper has proven to be the entire time that he’s been Prime Minister”

    Good thing he mentioned about the entire time he’s been Prime Minister . . . of course Stephen Harper was willing to work with others on a coalition in 2004.