Perhaps if the PM continues making blunders such as this his time in office will be minimal . . . Let's hope so.
PM a no-show at conference
CanWest News Service
TORONTO — Prime Minster Stephen Harper’s decision not to attend the International AIDS Conference appears to have had more than just a symbolic impact.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was to headline the meeting’s opening ceremonies as a representative of Africa — the continent hardest hit by the pandemic. But she cancelled after learning that Canada’s prime minister would not be there to officially greet her, conference organizers said.
“Her non attendance is really a direct consequence of Mr. Harper not being here,” said Dr. Mark Wainberg, head of the McGill University Centre for AIDS and the conference co-chair.
“I think, honestly, that he made a political mistake by not coming here to be with us.”
The conference was “elated” when President Johnson-Sirleaf, Africa’s first female head of state and a representative of the AIDSravaged sub-Saharan region, agreed to attend.
But her office later withdrew, indicating that she would not come to a foreign country if the head of government would not be there to meet with her.
Wainberg said he believes Harper was afraid of being booed over his opposition to same-sex marriage by the gay-friendly AIDS research and activist community.
“Mr. Harper, for better or for worse, is perceived as being a right-wing fellow who is not a mainstream politician,” he said.
“This would have been a great chance for him to come and soften that image. This may be a political opportunity lost.”