Can you put that in writing?
One penultimate word on the New Orleans summit - the ultimate word apparently belongs to U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins, who's holding a lunch today to brief reporters more on what happened when Prime Minister Stephen Harper got together with President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon this week.
Not everything we learn, naturally, can get into a news story. So perhaps readers might find it helpful to see the contents of what's called the "read-outs" from PMO, summarizing the discussions, developments between Harper and his North American counterparts.
While we stared somewhat quizzically at the empty briefing area set up in the filing room in New Orleans (it simply gathered dust; no one from government ever used the desk, microphones and podium), we did receive these emails from the PMO's communications director, Sandra Buckler throughout the two-day meeting.
On the one-on-one session between Harper and Bush:
The Prime Minister and President Bush held a meeting that lasted for over one hour.
They discussed a wide range of issues including: the recently concluded NATO summit in Bucharest and cooperation in Afghanistan; border issues such as the need for a new crossing in the Detroit-Windsor corridor; the need for concerted international action on climate change; and the importance of NAFTA as strong regional and international trade regime.
On what Harper did on Tuesday:
Today, the Prime Minister met with Lt. Brad Tollefson. Below are some details about this Canadian living in New Orleans.
Lt. Brad Tollefson
▪ Lt. Brad Tollefson was born and raised in Mississauga, ON. Currently, he lives in Picayune, Mississippi with his wife and step-daughter.
▪ In 1993, he moved to Maine and became a member of the Waterville Police Department.
▪ In 1997, Lt. Tollefson moved to Louisiana to join the New Orleans Police Department, where he rose to the rank of Lieutenant in 2004.
▪ During Hurricane Katrina, Lt. Tollefson remained in New Orleans and acted as the Deputy Commander for New Orleans East, one of the hardest hit parts of the city.
On the tree-planting ceremony for Earth Day:
The tree being planted today is an oak tree. This type was specifically requested by the City of New Orleans, as Oak Trees suffered the worst damage during Hurricane Katrina.
The plaque says:
In celebration of Earth Day and the 2008 North American Leaders Summit, George W. Bush, President of the United States of America, Felipe Calderone Hinojosa, President of the Unites States of Mexico, Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, planted a Shummard Oak Tree to honour the spirit and resolve of the citizens of New Orleans.