A somewhat hesitant round of applause as #Merkel arrives on the Hill.
Red carpet looking sharp, Hill summer protocol detail! #Merkel
Here's the sked for this morning, as posted in OotD:
According to the itinerary provided by PMO, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will arrive on Parliament Hill at 9:15, where she will be greeted by the PM before being whisked away for a "tete-a-tete" meeting in his Centre Block office.
The meeting is scheduled to wrap up just before 11am, allowing the leaders to take part in what the advisory rather jauntily describes as "the Hall of Honour walk," which will end at the Reading Room, where the pair will deliver a "joint statement" -- and, presumably, take at least a few questions from reporters.
And now, the official welcome in the Rotunda. #Merkel and the PM both look remarkably relaxed and comfortable with each other.
Can't quite make out what #Harper is saying -- something about Ontario and "300 dollars" -- while chatting with the Speakers and retinues.)
And now, the traditional signing of the parliamentary guest book. #Merkel
And that's it for the official #Merkel welcome. Enjoy your tour of the PM's Centre Block office, chancellor!
We'll have more coverage when the leaders hold their post-meeting joint media availability. #Merkel
Btw, the plants serving as temporary stand-ins for #Merkel and Harper are, indeed, fake. (I just did a leaf tweak test to be sure.)
Also, Colleague Margo informs me that #Merkel is scrupulously, unfailingly punctual. Must be nice, German press corps.
A sudden flurry of activity suggests the awaited ones may be on the move. (Not in the Hall, so can't confirm.) #Merkel
Baird regaling wellwishers with what appear to be light-hearted anecdotes about... something. Can only hear laughter in response. #Merkel
Alright, let's see evidence of that apparently legendary #Merkel punctuality.
Alright, PMO dcomm Andrew MacDougall is here, which means the arrival of #Merkel and his boss must be imminent.
And here come the retinues! (Sorry, too fleeting to capture on virtual film.) #Merkel
The PM notes #Merkel was in Canada for the G8/20 in 2010, but this is the first visit to Ottawa by a chancellor in a decade.
Harper says more nice things about #Merkel, and describes the discussions as "frank and useful".
#Harper notes Canada "supports her concern with finding not just any solution, but good sustaining solutions" to global econ unpleasantness.
Over to #Merkel, who thanks the PM et al for the "very gracious hospitality" and acknowledges the "high degree of agreement between us."
Canada "is a country that holds a great deal of fascination for many, many Germans," #Merkel notes. Confirm, Germans?
#Merkel notes that she hopes for "speedy agreement" on Can-EU trade, but acknowledges some outstanding issues.
Germany -- or, at least, #Merkel -- is well aware of Canada's wealth of natural resources, it seems.
Anyway, it was a lovely visit "with friends," #Merkel concludes -- and there's an open door for the PM to reciprocate.
And now, questions! First up, TVA wonders if Canada's refusal to assist Germany and the EU will be a barrier to a 2012 agreement. #Merkel
"Have you taken the elephant *out* of the room," the reporter wonders. Doesn't sound like it from #Harper's reply: He doesn't see the link.
#Harper expresses tremendous confidence in the ability of Europe to fix its own problems. (That would seem to be a polite but firm no.)
#Merkel agrees, and goes one step further, even: she thinks it would be "very wrong" to link CETA to the Eurocrisis.
"We would do ourselves a very great disservice if we thought along those lines," #Merkel argues.
In response to a question from German media, #Harper refuses to comment on how the Europeans are handling their affairs.
It's a pity no one thought to invite Flaherty, or Menzies or the PMO talking point drafting team, since they quite enjoy it. #Merkel
Apparently, the Spanish real estate crisis -- or at least the roots thereof -- were news to our PM, according to #Merkel. Chuckles ensue.
And now, a question on carbon emissions! (From the Canadian side, for those keeping track.) #Merkel
Well, it was a two-parter, which is why #Merkel is now repeating her points re: the "Euro area".
According to #Merkel, they did indeed discuss the oilsands, and she agrees on the need to do "everything we can" to reduce emissions.
That doesn't mean *no* emissions (and, as a result, no oilsands), but a sound, science-based solution, #Merkel stresses.
The PM once again says nice things about #Merkel and her leadership.
#Harper repeats his expression of diplomatic delight at Merkel seeking a *good* solution, not just *any* solution.
Finally, one last question for #Merkel from the German press: What, exactly, can Canada contribute to solving the global economic crisis?
In response, #Merkel again points to the trade prospects, and declares Canada an "example" for the world.
If #Merkel had been the only one putting together the fiscal compact, she would have wanted stronger intervention rules, she notes.
"This credibility has to be regained," #Merkel stresses -- without it, Europe won't be able to find investors to finance its debt.
Finally, #Harper reminds us all of the need to focus on jobs, growth and prosperity, just like the title of the budget bill says. #Merkel
And with that, the PM, the chancellor and their respective retinues take their leave of the press and head to lunch. #Merkel