The politics of disaster

The Winnipeg Free Press’ Mia Rabson isn’t much impressed with the government’s public relations.

Late last night we got a photo from the prime minister’s office of Stephen Harper on the telephone, presumably with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, discussing the situation in Haiti. Today Defence Minister Peter Mackay is posing in Halifax as the HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Halifax leave for Haiti. At about the same time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, were staging a photo op making a donation to the Canadian Red Cross.

Enough already. Stop posing for photo ops and just get on with the business of helping Haiti.

Much like Jean Chrétien was heavily and rightly criticized for getting in the way in a photo op of him throwing a sand bag onto a dyke in the middle of the 1997 flood in Winnipeg, these kinds of photo ops smack of political opportunism and are out of place.

CBC’s Janyce McGregor is searching for signs of politics put aside. I would note only that Lawrence Cannon and Denis Coderre managed today to sit beside each other at a news conference in Montreal.

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