There's word tonight that the Harper government is backing off its original decision to deliberately exclude the opposition leaders from the ceremonies to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge.
Under blistering pressure for a callous and unprecedented politicization of a ceremony meant to honour the sacrifice of thousands of Canadians in the pivotal World War One battle, CanWest News is reporting the Conservatives have made an about-face tonight:
A spokesman for the prime minister said Friday evening invitations have been extended to the party whips — MPs who are responsible for ensuring MPs in each caucus attend votes and other parliamentary business.
"It’s up to each party to select who attends," spokesman Dimitri Soudas said in an e-mail.
Damage control or not, and it very clearly is, it was the right decision to make and I'm glad it was finally made. I'm glad saner heads have prevailed, at least temporarily, in the PMO.
But I have to wonder, what kind of people would even consider making the decision to politicize such a ceremony in the first place, let alone actually go through with it? What kind of person says 'hey, this would be a good idea?' Seriously?
UPDATE: In a story filed before news of the Conservative about-face, the Toronto Star reports while Harper wasn't planning on inviting the opposition leaders, he was bringing along his kids:
When Prime Minister Stephen Harper jets off to France for the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, he'll be taking his children but leaving opposition leaders behind.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers
The trip next weekend to the site of the famous battle will be the first foray on the international stage for Ben, 10, and Rachel, 7.