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Harper leaves out Canada on his world tour

Although the G20 meeting officially kicks off tomorrow, Stephen Harper is already in London talking to world leaders, including the Queen. But he’s not just speaking to high-level diplomats today; he’s making the international media rounds as well.
Canada’s Prime Minister has actually been talking to non-Canadian press about the economy for about a month now he appeared on Fox News Sunday, spoke to the Financial Times , chatted with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, got coverage in the Wall Street Journal and his media tour continues. Notice, however, that I haven’t listed interviews with CBC, The Globe and Mail, Global or any other big name Canadian media outlets. That’s because his domestic press appearances have been minimal to say the least. (He did speak to CTV’s Question Periodand Canwest reporter Sheldon Albertsthree days ago, but as far as I know, that seems to be it.)
Contrast that against Barack Obama. Last month he appeared on 60 Minutes, The Tonight Show , and he pre-empted American Idolfor a prime-time press conference. On top of that the American cable news networks seem to have a fresh clip of Obama talking about the economy every day.
Is anyone else a little jealous that Obama is talking to Americans directly, rather than going through international media to get his point across? Just because Canada’s banks are in better shape than other developing nations (a point Harper will makeat length during the G20) and the country’s not hurting as badly as the U.S., doesn’t mean we don’t want, or need, to hear more from our Prime Minister on the state of the economy.
Would it hurt to sit down with Peter Mansbridge for a one-on-one? Or maybe appear on the The Hourat some point? He could even talk to right wing radio personality Charles Adlerin Winnipeg, or appear on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. Clearly, there is no shortage of media outlets for the PM to push his platform.
But he won’t. Instead he’s delivering his message via Fox News and CNN. Yesterday, I spoke to Globe bloggerand StrategyCorp senior consultant Andrew Steeleabout this and he too wishes Harper would give Canada’s media a little more love. But, he makes a really good point. “At the end of day Canadians watch American TV. If you want to get through to Canadians who dont pay a lot of attention to politics, go on CNN.”
He’s right. It’s a safe bet that more Canadians tune into American cable TV to get their news fix, so appearing on CBC won’t hit as many people. Also, we dont have the equivalent of a Tonight Showor a 60 Minutes, so even if Harper wanted to appear on Canadian TV he’d be hard pressed to find a program that would guarantee an instant draw.
It’s also true that Harper’s distaste for Canadian media is palpable. It’s obvious he’s no fan of the CBC, and if he had to face the domestic press he wouldn’t get the softball questions lobbed at him from journalists who aren’t as in tune with Canadian politics as our homegrown reporters are.
There’s also the idea that he’s trying to make himself a player on the international scene, to prop up his own persona and make him appear like a big shot to his voters back home. But Maclean’s can talk more about this point.
Despite all the good reasons why he’s appearing on U.S. and British TV and I’m not saying he shouldn’t be doing that it is a bit frustrating that he’s not speaking directly to Canadians. Harper might think Canada’s going to survive the economic downturn with flying colours, but that doesn’t mean he can seemingly ignore the fact that thousands of people are losing their jobs every month, that the word is going through some major changes and that Canadians need leadership in an unprecedented way right now.
So Stephen, what do you say can we set up an interview?