Mr. Doer goes to Washington

Judy Wasylycia-Leis on her fellow NDP member’s new job

12:39:44 PM
Hey, look, it’s an impromptu scrum-in-waiting! Turns out that the NDP’s Judy Wasylycia-Leis will be stopping to chat with reporters about Brother Doer’s ascension to the ambassadorship, so we’re now hanging out just down the hall from where the health committee will be meeting. It’s downright serendipitous!

Incidentally, ITQ had a Doer Sighting of her own on the way here — he was striding purposefully from Wellington to the Chateau Laurier, entirely ignored by the passing crowds of tourists, and entirely content with such. I was going to yell out a greeting, but he vanished behind the pillars before I’d de-shaded-and-ipoded. Alas.

12:42:00 PM
And here’s Judy — who looks just plain delighted to be here. “This decision just makes perfect sense,” she says, before giving kudos — yes, *kudos* — to the prime minister for recognizing what a fine job Doer would do. “He’s a pan-Canadian politician … he’s a diplomat by all accounts, he’s easygoing and fun to be with … But more importantly, he has a *strong* vision of Canada.” She lists some of his accomplishments — water, health — and promises that he will “stand up for Canada”. Wait, isn’t that some other party’s slogan?

12:43:50 PM
Questions — first, the obvious: Will he find it difficult to work for this particular prime minister? Not at all … Although it sounds like she’s expecting him to “stand up” for Canadian health care, in the light of all those nasty things that some Americans have been saying about our beloved Medicare, which seems like a bit of a long shot, as far as I can tell. Isn’t there a rule about Canadian ambassadors getting involved in American domestic disputes?

12:45:37 PM
She sort of breezes past the question about whether this will create “good will” leading up to the fall session, thereby possibly saving us from a fall election, but notes that, while this is a sign that Harper is able to reach beyond his “nucleus” of close advisors, it’s not going to change the lay of the land.

12:46:47 PM
Julie Van Dusen notes that just last week, the NDP was “parading” Doer and Darrel Dexter around as twin icons of NDP winnibility, “and now Stephen Harper has poached him.” According to Judy, that just shows that even Harper can recognize talent.

She also thinks that there are two issues on which he’ll be particularly strong: the environment, and “standing up for Kyoto” — are we starting to notice a theme? — as well as water (think Devil’s Lake) — and health care. “He can help set the record straight,” according to Judy. He can make those fatcats down in Washington see reason. “The role of an ambassador in the United States is to stand up for Canadian values,” she tells us. So — he should hire Ari Fleischer to get him on FoxNews, and take Bill O’Reilly to task? Wow.

“You think he’s going to be pro-Kyoto and bring Omar Khadr home?” JVD wonders, with just a hint of scepticism (and amid some chortles from the rest of us).

“Well, you can dream,” she notes.

12:51:04 PM
And now, back to your regularly scheduled questions on H1N1. This has been the most bizarrely two-track day, y’all. I’m not going to liveblog the rest of her scrum, because she’s not saying anything new, so you can head over to the other thread for all the flu coverage you can possibly handle.

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