Connect to share and comment

Why Stephen Harper prefers US news

A couple months ago, I wrote about questions over Canada’s role in the Afghanistan war and unflattering polls that had the prime minister eyeing the exits:

TORONTO, Canada — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t hide his preference for American media. His performance in the past several months made that clear enough — giving interviews to as many U.S. television networks that would have him while practically starving the ones back home.

Last week, while speaking to a business audience in Toronto, Harper stated the obvious for the first time publicly.

“I tend to watch mainly American news because I don't like to watch Canadian news and hear what Allan [Gregg] and everybody else is saying about me,” he said, referring to a pollster and political pundit who was in the audience. “So my hobby is to watch politics elsewhere.”

Other prime ministers have made similar claims, and it stretches belief every time. If true, however, it means Harper spared himself some uncomfortable media coverage in the past few days (although he was obviously given the gist of it in daily press briefings by his staff).

First came confirmation that pork barrel politics remains the Canadian way. Several newspaper and TV networks calculated that a disproportionate amount of the $12 billion spent so far to stimulate the economy through infrastructure projects has gone to ridings held by Harper’s Conservative party. ...

More problematic for Harper — and more pertinent for the Obama administration — is news during the past week that leaves little chance of Canada extending its combat mission in Afghanistan beyond 2011. ...

For more, click here.