Vive Le Canada

Harper kids off to Vimy celebration
Date: Saturday, March 31 2007

That the PM of Canada should even think of attending this without a broad representation from all parties and veterans organizations appalls me!

Harper kids off to Vimy celebration
But opposition leaders have not been invited to 90th anniversary of battle

Mar 31, 2007 04:30 AM
Bruce Campion-Smith
ottawa bureau

OTTAWA–When Prime Minister Stephen Harper jets off to France for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, he'll be taking his children but leaving opposition leaders behind.
The trip next weekend to the site of the famous battle will be the first foray on the international stage for Ben, 10, and Rachel, 7.

Officials with the Prime Minister's Office would not comment on whether Liberal, NDP or Bloc Québécois leaders had been invited. But spokespersons for Liberal Stéphane Dion and New Democrat Jack Layton confirmed yesterday they had not been invited.

Yesterday, Liberal officials accused Harper of breaking with "parliamentary tradition" by refusing to ask opposition politicians to come along.
Layton was hoping to take part but "Mr. Harper hasn't been in the habit of inviting the other leaders to these sorts of events ... and that is quite unfortunate," said Karl Belanger, his spokesperson.

The tradition is hit and miss.

It took a public relations debacle to convince former prime minister Paul Martin to attend VE-Day celebrations in Holland in 2005 – and have the three opposition leaders tag along.
Martin had cancelled his plans for the trip, citing fears the opposition might topple his minority government. He changed course and invited the three rival leaders after public accusations that political leaders were ignoring Canada's veterans.

Earlier, in 2004, Liberals say Martin invited Harper and Layton to France to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion – during a federal election – but both stayed in Ottawa
Before that, prime minister Jean Chrétien took opposition leaders to New York after the terror attacks in 2001.

Senator Norm Atkins's father fought at Vimy, making him one of the few federal politicians with a direct tie to the famed battle. Even he wasn't invited.

"It was something I would have thought that Veterans Affairs or the government would have given special attention to," Atkins said. He will make the trip after arrangements were made for him to attend on behalf of a Senate committee.

Seems that he has decided that it didn’t look good and so has now “invited” representatives from the opposition. See………

[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on April 2, 2007]

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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