Media has a week of field days as Clinton shows Harper what real opposition looks like

Media has a week of field days as Clinton shows Harper what real opposition looks like

Iggy, take notes. Stephen Harper learned what it’s like to have real opposition in front of him this week as Hillary Clinton criticized Canada’s position on the three A’s: Afghanistan, abortion and the Arctic. The Canadian media couldn’t get enough, refracting the U.S. Secretary of State’s star power off every front page in town. TV was no different, with Clinton bringing her not-so-subtle plea for Canada to reconsider its 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan to The Hour on Tuesday:

I’m not going to sit here and tell you we’re happy about it because…that wouldn’t be telling you the truth. We’d love to have Canada stay in this fight with us. But again, you know, you’ve got your own considerations, and we respect that.

She went on to dis Harper for not inviting Sweden, Finland, Iceland and concerned aboriginal groups to this week’s Arctic coastal summit. Quotes the Globe:

Significant international discussions on Arctic issues should include those who have legitimate interests in the region. And I hope the Arctic will always showcase our ability to work together, not create new divisions.

And finally, she encouraged Harper to include “safe and legal abortions” in his global initiative to improve maternal health. Says the Post:

Although abortion and contraception remains an even more polarizing debate in the U.S., Ms. Clinton didn’t mince words. “Reproductive health includes contraception and family planning and access to legal, safe abortions,” she said during a news conference.

The public diplomatic smackdowns, which sound to us like passive-aggressiveness, sparked a few sexist nasty comments (“It wasn’t her best outing. Many Canadians will be feeling a new sympathy for poor Bill,” said the editors of the Montreal Gazette, presumably while smoking cigars), but by and large the press had it in for Harper. The question now is, Can the Opposition sustain rancour through to next week? Stay tuned.

• Clinton stirs pot on Afghanistan, abortion, and the arctic [Toronto Star]
• Canada firm on exit date [CBC]
• Clinton rebukes Canada on Artic Meeting [Globe and Mail]
• At least she didn’t complain about the food [Montreal Gazette]
• Maternal health includes family planning, access to abortion [National Post]