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article imageStephen Harper making 'secret' visit to White House next week

By Karen Graham     Jun 28, 2018 in Politics
An interesting development has come to light - Former prime minister Stephen Harper of Canada is planning a trip to the White House next week, and hasn’t notified the current Canadian government of his visit.
CTV News Canada revealed last night it had obtained emails that show U.S. officials are expecting Harper to visit Washington on July 2, supposedly to meet with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, who was the U.S. ambassador to the UN when Harper was prime minister.
The visit coincides with the Canada Day long weekend and just one day after Prime Minister Trudeau is expected to answer U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum with about $16.6 billion in reciprocal tariffs on U.S. products.
While it is not known why the supposedly secret trip and the meeting is taking place, there is speculation, at least according to iPolitics, that perhaps Harper misses his old job and probably wants to get it back.
One thing is certain, though - not informing the Prime Minister's office is a slap-in-the-face to everything that is Canadian. Harper, continuing to not follow protocol, did not notify the Canadian embassy in D.C., Global Affairs Canada, or the Privy Council Office.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 summ...
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses a press conference at the conclusion of the G7 summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, June 9, 2018. Trudeau had told reporters that Trump's decision to invoke national security to justify US tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum was "insulting" to Canadian veterans.
Lars Hagberg, AFP/File
Visit poorly timed amid heightened tensions
Tensions between Canada and the United States have reached the boiling point because of the prospect of a trade war. And adding fuel to the fire are the personal insults that have been hurled at Trudeau by the American president through social media and televised appearances.
CTV News also cites other ways Harper has tried to remain in the national spotlight. Harper got international attention last year after making comments about the Canada-U.S. relationship and the American administration. Many of the comments were in "stark contrast" to the government's policies - while at other times he defended Canadian policies.
In October last year, the Canadian Press reported on a leaked memo from Harper sent to clients of his firm Harper & Associates. In the memo, entitled “Napping on NAFTA," Harper criticised Trudeau's handling of the NAFTA negotiations.
In May this year, according to the Calgary Sun, Harper, much to the surprise of many diplomats and international players, co-signed a full-page advertisement in the New York Times hailing Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
At the time, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Harper's weighing in on the Iran deal was not appropriate. In an interview on CTV’s Power Play, Sajjan said he felt Canada should speak as one voice when it comes to U.S. policy, especially in light of the ongoing NAFTA talks.
Despite all the hoopla over Harper's comments on the international stage, and of course, he does have a right to his opinion, perhaps the most telling and incredible remark was made on Wednesday while Harper was speaking at a Five Eyes panel discussion in London, U.K.
In talking about Trump's "America First" approach, Harper said the “rapid, unorthodox, populous political change” instigated by Trump will be part of the American fabric after he leaves office.
“Whether Donald Trump succeeds or not as president, ultimately, I do think that the realignment, or the change of approach that he is bringing, is to some degree, in my judgement, bound to outlast his presidency,” Harper told spectators on Wednesday, according to CTV News Canada.
More about Stephen Harper, White house, secret visit, Trudeau, Tariffs
 
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