Friday, 21 September 2012

What does Stephen Harper have against attending Premier's Conferences?

Stephen Harper has never attended a Premier's Conference.  He has been Prime Minister since 2006 and has turned down every invitation extended him to attend.

Yesterday during Opposition Day in the House of Commons the NDP put forward a motion that the Prime Minister accept the most recent invitation by the Premiers to attend the Conference in Halifax.

Prime Minister Harper was not present in the House during the debate but as expected the Conservative MPs rose, one by one, to speak against the Prime Minister attending.

The following sums up the debate quite nicely:

Cathy McLeod, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue, CPC):  

    Mr. Speaker, as a fellow British Columbian, I certainly listened to the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley with great interest. However, frankly, even the motion today was surprising to me. It seemed a very odd motion.

Nathan Cullen - House Leader of the Official OppositionMr. Nathan Cullen (Skeena—Bulkley Valley, NDP):

 The Conservatives have somehow made the mistake that a ribbon-cutting event with a premier constitutes consultation and planning and working together and that a five-minute phone call, which we have seen on the PM's agenda, somehow counts as working together with the provinces and territories.
    We are simply asking the Prime Minister to accept the invitation. This was not our invitation. It would be rude for us to offer it. It is from the premier of our own province and the premiers of all the provinces and territories that are represented here in the House of Commons.
    She finds this confusing. I think we have a lot of work to do here. If the invitation so generously offered by our provincial and territorial leaders confuses Conservative members as to why that would be worthwhile, we have perhaps more work than I thought with this particular government.

Debate Official Transcript 

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