Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, however, is planning to attend the Democratic convention in Denver this August, where Barack Obama's candidacy will be officially sealed.
Usually the Liberals hold their end-of-summer retreat around the final week in August. But caucus sources say that this year's gathering, in Winnipeg, has been pushed to the first week of September so that Dion can be in Denver.
UPDATE: New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton will also be in Denver, we've learned. Layton has long made no secret of his admiration for Obama.
UPDATE 2 (June 20): I learned later last night that Stephane Dion, while he did consider participating in some event at the Denver convention, has decided not to accept the invitation. The Winnipeg caucus gathering is still in September, a week later, but Dion will be watching proceedings in Denver like most of us - from afar, through the TV.
But Layton will be at the Democratic convention. That plan hasn't changed. And Dion's office expects that some Liberal MPs will be in the crowd too.
Republican presidential nominee John McCain, in Ottawa next week. The audience will be as interesting as the guest of honour, no doubt. It's happening just in time to prod memories about the controversy over whether Canada interfered in the U.S. presidential race - a question at the heart of some provocative Jim Travers' columns in recent weeks.
Several weeks ago, aboard the Prime Minister's plane headed to New Orleans for the "three amigos" summit, the affable and impressive Industry Minister Jim Prentice came back to chat to reporters.
He was asked about the long-awaited copyright-reform legislation, which has been rumoured to be making an appearance since last December. This is an issue of particular interest to the United States and its ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins.
It's also a huge issue in cyberspace and the reigning expert is Michael Geist, who columnizes in the Star. Geist reported on his blog yesterday that Government House Leader Peter Van Loan has been ordering folks to direct all correspondence on copyright reform to Prentice's office.
Obviously, something's on the way. And sure enough, one of my eagle-eyed colleagues was walking through 240 Sparks Street this morning, where the minister's office is located, and spotted people eyeing some big white signs that proclaim "Made in Canada Copyright Reform." So it seems an announcement is imminent.
And, just to further speculate, is it possible that Prentice wants to get this out of the way before he's shuffled to a more demanding portfolio? It's rumoured that Prentice is headed to something big, such as Finance or Foreign Affairs.
Here's some timely reflection, from south of the border, on the often-baffling ways that small stories can become big stories in today's new-media climate. It's from the Politico website, an exclusively online source of punditry and political analysis in the U.S.
There is a mention of Canada in here too, though not what anyone might guess. The Politico columnist points to a New York Times story from earlier this year -- about the Clintons' relationship to Canadian mining mogul Frank Guistra -- and wonders why this never became a big deal on the presidential campaign trail.
The Star did its own profile of Giustra, incidentally, and you can find it here.
All the attention may be on the former foreign affairs minister at the moment, but there's another important story in the Star today, in Jim Travers' column, which deals with nothing less than suggestions of a high-level cover-up surrounding Canada-U.S. relations.
Travers has exposed a bombshell of a detail, which was glossed over in the government's report on Canada's meddling in the Democratic presidential race in the U.S.
Multiple sources confirmed to Travers that even before a sensitive, diplomatic document found its way to the U.S. media in what's being called (tiresomely) NAFTA-gate, it first landed with a Republican contact, by the name of Frank Sensenbrenner, who has ties to a number of people in the Harper government and even worked briefly at the Canadian embassy.
Why was someone in the Canadian government keen to get this to a Republican source? Why wasn't this little piece of information pursued in the report by Privy Council Clerk Kevin Lynch?
No doubt Barack Obama will want to know the same things, especially if he becomes president. In the meantime, we here in Canada will watch for possible answers today in Question Period.
UPDATE: Apparently, the folks at the PMO/PCO are not among nearly half of Canadians who would like to see Obama as president, according to a new Angus Reid poll (.pdf).
Canadians think of themselves as followers of U.S. political trends. But as a matter of fact, there are Canadian precedents for Hillary Clinton's tenaciousness in the presidential race - especially as the lone, female candidate.
In 2006, Liberal leadership candidate Martha Hall-Findlay hung on to the bitter end, even though it was clear she had no hopes of winning. She was the only woman in the race by the time the convention rolled around at the end of that year.
Perhaps Clinton might want to check in with Copps and Hall-Findlay for advice about whether to keep toughing it out - as the only woman, up against insurmountable odds.
It seems that U.K. websites aren't the only ones abroad with some spirited discussion of Canadian politics. Daily Kos, a much-read site in the U.S., has a lengthy post on the whole business of Barack Obama and NAFTA, and whether the Canadian government interfered in a U.S. election.
That question, incidentally, is now the subject of a Canadian government investigation, contracted out to a firm that employs one of the people at the centre of the Airbus affair. See previous post ...
At any rate, the Daily Kos article has generated more than 300 comments as of this posting - most of them Canadian, the blogger says. "From the comments, to be sure, the vast majority of Canadian people are victims of their government as we are ours. They have my condolences. It might be good if they could spend some time demanding a real investigation."
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.
The tiny gaggle of protesters outside the summit in New Orleans had a somewhat colourful way of expressing their hostility to the event, including the mild-mannered Canadians who were here.
One man with a megaphone, accusing Bush of crimes such as a fake Texas accent, ripped into the group of we Canadian journalists and aides as we were exiting the security perimeter and trying to get to our filing location.
"Get out of my country, you scum-sucking globalists," he barked.
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