Is PM being snubbed by the White House?
Published Wednesday, December 7, 2011 9:24PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:48AM EDT
While Canadian news outlets were doing a full-court press to cover the new border deal with the United States, it appears that the response south of the border could better be defined as "meh."
Stephen Harper met U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House Wednesday afternoon, but there was no pomp and ceremony planned – no state dinner and apparently no photo op in the Oval Office.
As well, a search of two major U.S. newspapers - The New York Times and Washington Post - yields nary a word about Harper's visit.
But for navel-gazing Canadians, at least the Times was still playing up its recent story on NHL tough guys and brain injuries.
On CNN's website, Obama's schedule is posted, noting a 2:15 p.m. "bilateral meeting" with Harper followed by statements from the two at 3 p.m., before Obama heads off to a campaign event at 4:35 p.m.
A White House agenda posted online simply states "the (Oval Office) meeting is closed press."
That led Washington's WTOP Radio political commentator Mark Plotkin to suggest to CTV News Channel the prime minister was apparently given a choice between an Oval Office photo op, or public statements with the president afterward.
Andrew MacDougall, associate director of communications with the PMO, declined to answer whether Harper was given a choice, but did reply in an email to CTVNews.ca confirming meeting times.
But Plotkin decried his country's apathy toward its northern neighbour.
"This is the same country that seems to be continually snubbed by this president," he said.
"I must wonder why no state dinner for this prime minister? They had a state dinner for Mexico – nothing for Canada. I think you're treated quite shabbily by this administration," he said.
Does Mexico get better treatment because of the large Hispanic voting community in the U.S.? Do the Democrats play up this connection?
If there's any political gain in today's announcement for Obama, who faces an election in 2012, it's telling America he's tough on border security in the south and north, Plotkin added.
That aside, he said Harper's visit is still being treated like a diplomatic and political "quickie."
"There is no fanfare, there is no buzz, there is not even information that he is here in this city," he said.
"Why do you stand for it?" he added, exasperated.