Microsoft founder Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, found time - and $500 million (U.S.) - for the gathering of 20,000 delegates searching for ways to curb the disease.
Harper, of course, was too busy asserting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic and dispatched federal Health Minister Tony Clement to the prestigious conference.
But the second most powerful man in Canada did turn up for the event.
Premier Dalton McGuinty welcomed delegates on Sunday with remarks at the Rogers Centre.
"Since the world first heard of AIDS, it has killed 25 million people - twice the population of Ontario," McGuinty said.
"So the theme for this conference could not be more appropriate: it is time to deliver."
The premier noted that this year his government will spend $54 million on HIV-related research, treatment, prevention, care and support services.
It’s a mere drop in the bucket, but at least McGuinty showed up.