View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – PM Speaks on UAE Dispute – January 9, 2011

Ottawa ON – Finally the Conservatives have come up with some decent talk points on the UAE dispute. For the past three months their standard pushback has been that they were defending Air Canada by not granting additional landing slots to Emirates Airlines.

Frankly, I doubt too many Canadians give a hoot about protecting Air Canada and I suspect most of us would prefer the freedom to choose what airline we fly if we are going to the UAE or transiting through that region. Those talk points never cut it and let’s face it once you get out of the Ottawa bubble, how many Canadians are even following this issue.

The Prime Minister’s comments today according to QMI agency were “I could never see [Canada] treating an ally like that. Could you imagine after 9/11 if the Americans had come to the Canadian government and said, ‘We need help on something to do with security’ [and we said] ‘Well, only if you do something on Buy America.’ I mean, give me a break.”

With the Prime Minister changing the tone to make this one of how you treat your allies, it shifts the story line to where it should be. Is this how the UAE treats its allies? If so, then quite a few other allies should be taking a second look at their relationship with the UAE.

This line of reasoning will make more sense to Canadians. But give me a break, why did it take three months to make the switch and why didn’t PMO communications realize this back in October?

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Best WesternKAV Productions

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