Stephen Harper Diminishes Canada On The International Stage
"Canwest News reporter David Akin said that when he follows the prime minister to such summits, the Canadian leader is so poorly known that photographers are constantly asking who Mr. Harper is.
Mr. Akin recalled that at the prime minister's first G8 Summit in St. Petersburg in 2006, Mr. Harper avoided the press for three entire days, even as every other G8 leader loudly trumpeted their messages to the international press gathered on site.
"He was so uncomfortable he was invisible, he physically looked smaller in that '06 summit...he seemed really out of his element," Mr. Akin said. "When you're travelling with him, there's never enough information about his activities, about who he's speaking to. The read-outs that we get from the PMO communications when he meets with other leaders are frustratingly bland and vague."
Journalist and author Andrew Cohen suggests Mr. Harper's performance and press coverage from the G8 may reflect Canada's diminished role in the world. Mr. Cohen questions what international issue Mr. Harper has associated himself and Canada with, and said it is not clear what it is that Canada is contributing.
"What struck me about this is that he was relentlessly and unnecessarily partisan," Mr. Cohen said. "And you wonder why he did it; it doesn't help him internationally and it doesn't help him at home...so why did he do it? Maybe because he just can't help himself."