Well the saviour of the Western World is visiting Ottawa this week in his first state visit, if we can actually call a seven hour touch down a state visit. It is kind of State visit lite. He's not even here yet and already, I have had it up to here with this Obamarama.
Don't get me wrong. After two terms of what was possibly the worst administration in American history, suspicion of the United States' motives, particularly in the area of foreign policy had made many Canadians very wary of the USA. Barrack Obama is a breath of fresh air. His administration is welcomed by most Canadians if not by our prime Minister, who must see this new guy as a threat to his own very conservative policies. If Obama accomplishes a fraction of what the American people, and the World expect, it will be a great step forward.
Nevertheless, I am a bit put off to see the media clamoring to outdo each other with fawning displays of articles, opinion, photographs and route maps. I never quite get it. These trips are to a very large degree tightly scripted ceremonial events anyway. To be frank, I am just about Obamaed out before he even arrives.
The very least, what it does do however, is to start to pull us out of the political doldrums that have settled over Ottawa. After our brief flirtation with the idea of a coalition government was kiboshed when the Governor general put the boots to the idea, things have been pretty dull in our nation's capital. These are trying times for political junkies like me. Hopefully things will start to pick up. This week we are starting to see shades of the old Harper style re-emerging from its brief hiatus;
- The PMO refused to say what cabinet ministers might be meeting with US officials even though the Americans had already released some of the detail
- Harper's people very tersely told reporters that if any one of them had the temerity to shout out a question at the press conference, scheduled in the PMO, the event would be shut down immediately.
- It typical Harper style, the Leader of the Opposition's meeting with the US President has been relegated to an old hanger at the airport. All fifteen minutes of it.
- The Governor General will be kept well away from any television cameras. And she thought Stevie was her new best friend.
So, welcome to Canada Barrack Obama. Too bad you won't get a chance to skate on the Rideau Canal. Perhaps the Secret Service can't skate.