Thursday, February 19, 2009


Our president (and yes, I mean “our” as in “the world”) is AWESOME!

(Any sour-grapes partisans can just go sit down and shut up for a couple of years, m’kay?)

Moments after this picture was taken, Obama (literally!) guided Harper back outside to the security glass so that they could wave and acknowledge the 2,500 people gathered in the freezing cold snowdrifts to catch a glimpse. It was obvious that this was not planned, at least by Harper.

He then extended his meetings with both the Governor-General and PM Harper to three times the scheduled time. At the joint press conference, Obama mentioned that he has family here in Canada (his brother-in-law) and two key aides who are Canadian, praising Canada as a true and reliable friend in good times and bad.

He went on to strike exactly the “middle way” on the controversial issue of the oil sands, promoting technology to help reduce its environmental harm, yet pressing for a more comprehensive “clean energy” initiative that Harper would (frankly) have never done on his own. He reassured the country that he wants to expand, not contract, trade with Canada and finished off with a great quote every Canadian should be proud of:

I love this country and I think we could not have a better friend and ally.
As if that weren’t enough, he then goes for a surprise visit to Ottawa’s Byward Market to sample a Beavertail . The company had previously created a special variant to celebrate his election, seen being eaten by some locals here:

Seriously, how cool is that??

Finally, on his way back to Air Force One, he grabbed a quick meeting with Michael Ignatieff, the leader of the opposition (and quite likely to be PM himself someday, possibly soon). Smart move.

Obama effortlessly put to rest any worries about NAFTA, about protectionism, about Canada’s role in Afghanistan (saluting the forces currently there and thanking the country for the commitment of soldiers and aid) and about the environmental issues ahead. He acknowledged the importance of the people, put Harper at his ease and still managed to get the PM talking about clean energy (which Harper never does unprompted). He brought up controversial issues and knocked ’em down like a whack-a-mole game.

While we were not in Ottawa to see this event in person, it’s been very interesting to see the “Obama effect” outside the US, and we have to admit it fills us with pride to see the US president once again so respected, so well-regarded, so full of energy, optimism and hope for tomorrow.

He is so good at this “leader of the free world” thing it’s almost scary.


Anonymous said...

Hello from Salt Spring.

I agree that it is refreshing to see an US President so warmly welcomed. But with respect, I disagree that he is the "President of the World". He is the head of state and head of government of a foreign country - speaking as a Canadian. And, he has a sworn duty to protect the interests of the USA - not the world. As long as a peaceful and prosperous world is seen as being good for the USA, then all is well. President Obama believes in global connections and trade, and will - for the benefit of the US - will promote globalism. But always it will be because it is seen as being beneficial for the USA, and only so much as it continues to be beneficial.

Canada right now has an opportunity we haven't seen in years - and this is a welcome change. But also heed Prime Minister Harper's comment. - In any dispute between our two countries, it doesn't matter who is right or wrong, Canada loses.

President Obama is welcome change - for the Americans. The rest of world has changed very little.

Anonymous said...

I'm getting bored with all this pollitical stuff; don't you have another place to post it; I want to know more abot your Victoria adventures; what you and Heather are up to, if spring is coming soon, any new festivals, pics, etc., otherwise this blog will fall off my daily must read.