Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Obama In Canada - Whoop Dee Doo

So Barack Obama is coming to Ottawa, big deal. Canadians' hearts were all a flutter when it was announced that President Obama's first foray outside of the United States would be north of his border. That's as it should be, we are after all each other's largest trading partners. While we may not always agree with our southern neighbours, they are our closest friends and allies. With the relationship we share you'd think at least an overnighter would be warranted, but too bad so sad for us.

No state visit for little Canada, Obama will pull up to the drive-thru window long enough to grab his coffee and bagel, exchange some chit chat...then be back in Washington in time to tuck his girls into bed. I'm not suggesting this visit is totally devoid of significance, photo-ops are after all very important in this modern age. With only a couple of hours of face time between our PM and the US President I just don't see that anything of substance can be accomplished. Why not just talk on the phone until something more meaningful can be arranged?

Would it have been so bad if Canada had been shunted to the 2nd, 3rd or even 10th country that Obama will visit? Let some other countries get the drop-ins and arrange a true state visit, complete with giving us Canucks the oppourtunity to witness at least something of the event. And if Obama is too busy to be out of the US for more than just a few hours, why not have our PM spend a few days down in D.C.? Its not like Ottawa can't afford to be shut down for a few days, hell our national government was on a self imposed time-out for over a month.
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Wouldn't it be nice to see our leaders sitting down and mapping out joint strategies on the economy, on our military commitment in Afghanistan, on what to do about Omar Kadar? There are a ton of issues that need to be dealt with, any one of which cannot be truly worked upon with a whirl wind meet and greet.

Don't get me wrong here, I greatly admire the new U.S. president...in fact I consider myself a huge fan. But I'm also a patriotic Canadian and I hate seeing Ottawa being treated like a roadside diner with photos of every celebrity who stopped in for toast and coffee.

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