Thursday, September 9, 2010

Harper gets no travel points for this trip

Signs of a restless media? Harper's meaningless visit only puzzles. The likely reason for the visit. (MEIB)
The timing and abruptness of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's campaign-style visit to central Vancouver Island is puzzling....

The prime minister made no new funding announcements and offered few clues about the purpose of his visit, leaving us to speculate that he may be more concerned about recent public opinion polls than he and his party like to admit.

The impression made on the local media.

It's interesting to contrast the approach Harper had with local media and the public during his visit to the Island on Wednesday with that of Ignatieff when he visited Nanaimo.

Harper's carefully managed and scripted visit kept him away from the public.

Ignatieff met and listened to the concerns of the public at a Nanaimo cafe on Aug. 20.

Harper and two other Tory heavyweights -- Defence Minister Peter McKay and Treasury Board president Stockwell Day -- were on the Island Wednesday, flown out here at taxpayer expense. Presumably, taxpayers also paid for the large security contingent that kept Islanders from getting close to their prime minister.

Ignatieff's trip was paid for by the Liberal Party of Canada and he was accompanied in Nanaimo by Toronto-area MP Ken Dryden.

Both Harper and Ignatieff have a reputation for being aloof. If Wednesday's visit is any indication, Harper's is well-deserved.

Why come all this way at taxpayer expense and refuse to discuss issues with local media? The visit can hardly be called a goodwill or glad-handling exercise when local people were kept away from the PM.

The conclusion by the hinterland.

He ridiculed the suggestion this visit was part of any pre-election campaign and said it was just a coincidence he was following Ignatieff just two and a half weeks after the Liberal leader's visit to Nanaimo.

Harper was correct in one thing however: Canadians don't want a federal election right now, but he should realize they do want their federal representatives to make good use of taxpayers' money. Flying to the Island with his entourage and saying nothing about local issues can hardly be seen putting taxpayers' money to good use.

If Harper wants to increase his party's chances of forming the next government, he is going to have to do much better than Wednesday's waste of time.

The virtuous circle continuous to turn.

Recommend this Post

No comments: