Globe and Mail Update
U.S. President George W. Bush will not address Parliament when he visits Canada next week to avoid possible negative reception or heckling, White House sources said. The sources confirmed to The Globe and Mail Wednesday that Mr. Bush would not be speaking to Parliament.
The U.S. President had been invited by the Canadian government to address a joint session of the House of Commons and Senate during his visit to Ottawa, scheduled for Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. But sources said Mr. Bush wants to avoid a potentially hostile reaction in Parliament, despite the fact that Liberal MPs who are not pro-Bush had promised Prime Minister Paul Martin last week that they would behave.
The President and Prime Minister will, however, hold a joint news conference after a lunch on Tuesday.
Mr. Bush will then travel to Halifax to give a speech after what is his first official trip to Ottawa, White House sources said.
The side trip would come after a working visit Tuesday with Prime Minister Paul Martin and a dinner that night with hundreds of prominent Canadians at the Museum of Civilization.
Details of the Halifax portion of the trip weren't immediately available.
Mr. Martin is hoping to to repair somewhat strained relations with the United States following trade difficulties over softwood lumber and mad cow disease and Canada's refusal to participate in the Iraq war. Mr. Martin phoned Mr. Bush the day after the Nov. 2 presidential election with the invitation. Mr. Bush and his officials were enthusiastic about the visit. The final acceptance came on Nov. 16.
Sources say U.S. officials involved in planning the trip were worried about a cranky audience on Parliament Hill. "We didn't see the need and, frankly, we didn't want to be booed. There are other, better venues," said one U.S. official.
Heaven forbid you actually have to answer for your decisions.
Full Article (The Globe and Mail)