Chris Westdal, former Canadian ambassador to Russia, is not impressed by Stephen Harper:
I thought leaders in times of crisis were expected to keep calm and carry on, maintaining stiff upper lips and carrying sticks bigger than their tongues. Not our guy. He mongers fear across the land — fear of criminals, fear of terrorists, fear of Iran, fear of Russia — fear in every case gussied up with purple prose, proud to be certain, proud to be loud.
The proud to be loud meme has not done Canada's international reputation any good:
The Harper government has been, by Canadian standards, uniquely bellicose in the world. Our government has been vocally skeptical about a nuclear deal with Iran. Our government is the only one to have labelled Russia “evil”. Our PM is the only one who had to “guess” whether he’d shake Russian President Putin’s hand (although he made sure his press secretary let everyone know how brave he’d been). Other G-20 leaders saw fit to mind their manners. Of course, those leaders — unlike ours — might actually have some role to play in bringing peace to Ukraine.
Internationally, Harper is known as a Canadian Colonel Blimp -- all talk and no action:
If Vladimir Putin is the 21st century’s answer to Adolf Hitler, for instance, then why did Mr. Harper lead the opposition at NATO’s Wales summit against a U.S./UK pitch for a boost in defence spending? (It’s worth remembering that when President Obama convened a core-group Ukraine huddle at that summit, our PM — Kyiv’s most certain friend — was simply excluded.)
And we simply don't talk to people anymore:
Not only are we short-changing the military, we’ve apparently given up on negotiation. We shut our embassy in Tehran down. With Ukraine, we were the only country to withdraw our ambassador from Moscow at the height of the crisis in Crimea. Across the board, our diplomats have been muzzled and marginalized, their operations nickel-and-dimed to death.
So the next time you hear Stephen Harper tell you that you should be very afraid, consider how the rest of the world takes what he says. The Cowboy from Etobicoke is all hat and no cattle.