Obama leak fallout
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's comments yesterday in the Commons on the ongoing Obama/NAFTA affair were about as close as he comes to an apology:
"I understand the Canadian Embassy in Washington has issued a statement indicating it regretted the fact that information has come out that would imply that Senator Obama has been saying different things in public than in private. The Government of Canada does not condone this and certainly regrets any implication," Harper said after NDP leader Jack Layton threw some tough questions in the Commons.
"I can say that I have watched the U.S. presidential campaign very closely. In my judgment, all of the leading candidates for both parties would continue the strong friendship and partnership that Canada and the United States enjoy," Harper said.
No one really expects Senator Hillary Clinton to lay off the attacks however. Five years ago, Clinton played some political football with Canada over the issue of terrorism and border security. A hoax story about terrorists infiltrating the U.S. through Canada prompted Clinton to condemn us for the "unpatrolled, unsupervised" border. Even after the story was revealed as a hoax, Clinton wouldn't back down.
Meanwhile, here in Canada, though, this story isn't dying down either. Liberals are promising to keep up the questions today in the Commons.
In fact, despite Harper's attempts to smooth the waters yesterday, Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae is issuing more scathing comments. Here's a link to his latest blog post, in which Rae raises some serious worries about what this whole affair will do to Canada's reputation and the foreign service.
Rae's father, Saul, was a respected diplomat. So was Michael Ignatieff's father, George.
Speaking of Ignatieff, incidentally, it's worth checking out his latest blog post too, to forage for clues about whether he really is unhappy with the Liberal leader's decision to support the budget. He's written a blow-by-blow account of last week, and in it, he says, bluntly: "The leader decides—and it’s always his decision alone—that the moment has not come to bring the government down. He leaves the chamber and heads out to the lobby to announce his decision. It’s a decision I support."