Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice just finished his press conference and he dismissed the hoax press releases, saying "I am here to negotiate." The Minister's press people distributed a release for a photo-op of U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Prentice to occur shortly after the press conference, outside of the offices of the U.S. delegation.
I showed up there and noticed Steve Kelly, Prentice's chief of staff, having a raised voice exchange with a member from the U.S. delegation. The problem was the U.S. delegation hadn't given the green light for a photo-op, just for closed bilateral meeting between the two.
Over the course of 10 minutes, Kelly repeatedly asked the U.S. delegation official to reconsider, to which the U.S. delegation official replied, negative. When Kelly asked for this to be taken up the chain of command, the U.S. delegation official replied "it came from pretty high up. It's not going to happen."
The U.S. official said he didn't understand why the photograph was so important, to which Kelly replied "we were carpetbagged this morning by (environmental non-governmental organizations) with a false press release, I gotta change the story."
A second U.S. official showed up and was able to get permissions for a compromise, which was no public photo-op, but an official Canadian photographer could enter the meeting to take a shot."
It makes you wonder when the U.S. Secretary of Energy is embarrassed to have a public photograph taken with the Canadian Minister of the Environment.