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article imageWikiLeaks: U.S. cables show officials analyzing Canadian leaders

By Andrew Moran     May 1, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - With just one day until Canadian voters head to the polls, WikiLeaks has published United States cables that show U.S. officials dissecting each of Canada's federal party leaders. What do officials south of the border think of the country's leaders?
Earlier this week, world-renowned whistleblowing website, WikiLeaks, published a series of U.S. and Canadian cables highlighting certain statements, analysis and views of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the federal government and past, present and future policies.
On the eve of the election, WikiLeaks has published another series of cables to several Canadian news outlets; this time embassy officials commenting on the federal party leaders, according to CBC News.
What do they think of the Prime Minister? Does anyone in the U.S. believe Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff will form a minority or a majority government? Does New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton bare any significance in the U.S. or in the world?
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Stephen Harper
According to diplomatic documents, following Parliament’s prorogation, officials view the Canadian Prime Minister as a “master political strategist,” but some point out his “vindictive pettiness.”
“Relying on an extremely small circle of advisers and his own instincts, he has played the game of high-stakes, partisan politics well, but his reputation for decisiveness and shrewdness has been tarnished by a sometimes vindictive pettiness,” one Jan. 2, 2009 cable stated.
Even though Harper has led a minority Conservative government for five years, Canadians still view him as an “enigma to most Canadians [including many Conservatives].” It added that the Conservative Leader is “controlling” within the party.
Another cable highlights the Conservative caucus members not being in the “loop on the Prime Minister’s plans” and becoming stunned by certain decisions, including the initiative to end public financing of political parties. It added that Harper concentrates on short-term election planning, which leads to a “sometimes improvisational air.”
“PM Harper reportedly blames Quebec Premier Jean Charest for the Conservatives’ failure to win a parliamentary majority,” stated the cable.
Liberal Member of Parliament Bob Rae (L) and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
Liberal Member of Parliament Bob Rae (L) and Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff.
Michael Ignatieff
The Montreal Gazette reports that many were surprised with the paucity of criticism or response from the Liberal Party to the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament. This led many to view the party’s leader, Michael Ignatieff, as a person with a “lack of energy and hands-on leadership.”
It also noted that Ignatieff was on vacation in France during the prorogation.
“The Liberals face a tough road ahead if they hope to beat the Conservatives in the next federal election – whether in 2010 or 2011,” stated a Jan. 5, 2010 cable.
Former Liberal Party members, such as ex-Liberal Party national director Rocco Rossi, told embassy officials that Ignatieff would not take the advice of advisers.
“He knows his own mind, and the only person whose opinion he really cares about is his wife Zsuzsanna,” former mayoral candidate and Conservative provincial parliament candidate Rocco Rossi was quoted as saying.
Jack Layton
Jack Layton
Jack Layton and Bloc Quebecois
What do U.S. and Canadian officials actually think of Canada’s most-liked federal party leader? They believe that Jack Layton has finally influenced voters into thinking that New Democrats “as having power and influence in Ottawa.”
A former Canadian official described the NDP as a party that lives for “small victories on the margins,” which is thought to “be enough,” although Layton runs “mouse of a party.”
In a March 2009 cable, an official stated that Gilles Duceppe’s Bloc Quebecois can play a major spoiler to either a Liberal or a Conservative majority government. It added that the separatist party is “well-entrenched.”
“There does not appear to be any prospect of breaking up or giving up. The Québécois retain a reputation as highly strategic voters.”
More about Canada Election 2011, Wikileaks, Us cables, canadian party leaders, Stephen Harper
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