Stephen Harper is skipping the Commonwealth Conference. The man who put "royal" back in the navy and the air force doesn't have time for the Commonwealth. There really is nothing surprising about that. International relations is not the prime minister's strong suit. As Tom Walkom points out in today's Toronto Star:
Stephen Harper has little use for the international institutions that Canada once championed. He plans to boycott an important Commonwealth meeting next month. He regularly snubs the United Nations.
Harper likes to say that these institutions don't share Canadian values -- which is to say that he conflates his values with Canadian values. The truth is that Mr. Harper's values were best articulated by Willie Sutton. He goes where the money is:
Most of all, he prefers to interact in the world through trade deals that enhance Canadian business opportunities — no matter who is on the other side.
Jordan may, as Amnesty International alleges, torture prisoners. But that hasn’t stopped Harper from inking a free trade deal with that country.
And so CIDA's mission is now to promote Canadian business abroad -- and CSEC spies on Brazil's resource and energy companies.
The international community cottoned on to Stephen Harper long ago. That's why Canada's international reputation is in tatters.