Harper: Mistakes happen, but nastiness betrays character

The fact that Stephen Harper mistakenly thought Michael Ignatieff was the author of a warning that Canada could lose G8 status misses the point. Substandard staff work? Sure. But at root, it was simply a mistake, for which Harper quickly, if tersely, apologized.

It’s the ease, nay alacrity, with which Harper slips into a nasty tone that reveals so much about Harper’s character. “Ignatieff is supposed to be a Canadian,” he snarled, implying that the Liberal leader’s patriotic bona fides are somehow less than his own. The same ugly tone plays out in Harper’s TV attack ads, a polite grilling about which elicited no contrition last month.

As the Star’s Susan Delacourt points out, the venue was as offensive as the tone. Prime Ministers shouldn’t be using international summit gatherings as platforms from which to take cheapo shots at domestic opponents.