A week after the premiers invited Stephen Harper to their next meeting on the economy, he rejected the invitation -- again. He does G8 and G20 summits. And he certainly does Davos. But he has no time for the premiers. The Canadian Press reports that:
When asked if there would be a first ministers meeting in the fall, [Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall] said simply, "No."
MacDougall added that the prime minister meets regularly with the premiers on an individual basis, citing 74 such meetings since 2010. But Harper has not met with them as a group since 2009 when they gathered to discuss the economy following the global financial crisis.
"The federal and provincial governments worked well together to deliver the stimulus programs to help secure our recovery," MacDougall said in an email. "The prime minister always discusses the economy with each of the premiers (when) he meets with them."
In Harper's view, things are going along swimmingly. That was also his assessment during the 2008 election, just before the advent of the Great Recession. Meanwhile, opposition to Harper's dream of an oil port in Kitimat is growing. Native peoples are threatening to set up barricades. And he is about to become persona non grata in Quebec.
Harper is self absorbed, but he is not self aware. On the international stage he is increasingly viewed as The Ugly Canadian. That moniker is now being applied within his own borders.
So, like Louis IXV, he has retired to Versailles. And citizens are preparing to storm the Bastille.