Should Harper have stood up for Candian healthcare?

The Globe and Mail‘s Norman Spector thinks Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed a chance at the "three amigos" summit to help out Barack Obama and gain some political points that could be used to sway the president on "buy America" provisions: On health care reform — a question he knew he would be asked ...

The Globe and Mail's Norman Spector thinks Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed a chance at the "three amigos" summit to help out Barack Obama and gain some political points that could be used to sway the president on "buy America" provisions:

On health care reform -- a question he knew he would be asked and had obviously prepared -- he ducked instead of helping the President counter Republican disinformation by seconding Mr. Obama’s observation that the Canadian model is not on the table. Most gratingly, with an insipid smile on his face, Mr. Harper referred to provincial jurisdiction over health care — a half-truth, at best, given the constraints set out in federal legislation.

In interview with ABC's Jake Tapper, that Spector also links to, Harper does seem to be bending over backwards not to defend his own country's healthcare system.

The Globe and Mail‘s Norman Spector thinks Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper missed a chance at the "three amigos" summit to help out Barack Obama and gain some political points that could be used to sway the president on "buy America" provisions:

On health care reform — a question he knew he would be asked and had obviously prepared — he ducked instead of helping the President counter Republican disinformation by seconding Mr. Obama’s observation that the Canadian model is not on the table. Most gratingly, with an insipid smile on his face, Mr. Harper referred to provincial jurisdiction over health care — a half-truth, at best, given the constraints set out in federal legislation.

In interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, that Spector also links to, Harper does seem to be bending over backwards not to defend his own country’s healthcare system.

Given how divorced from reality the U.S. healthcare debate has become, I’m not sure how much Haper really could have helped Obama. It’s not as if the assurances of a  Canadian Prime Minister — even a conservative one — are really going to assuage those who see "Obamacare" as creeping socialism. Ducking the question and staying as far away from the U.S. debate as possible is not exactly a profile in courage, but is probably prudent.

(Hat tip: Matthew Yglesias)

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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