Dangovt has announced that Foreign Minister Hedderson has been benched.
Hedderson has been replaced by Dave Denine, who is being sent on a whirlwind trip to Ottawa to block the proposed ban on seal products by the EU: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2009/exec/0416n02.htm
Sources have told Orwellian News that this change may be the result of last week's negative coverage: http://orwellianspin.blogspot.com/2009/04/foreign-policy-report.html
What the news release didn't say:
1. Whether Denine can, unlike his predecessor, manage to get a meeting with the Federal Minister of Fisheries, or at least find out the location of the Federal International Trade Minister.
2. That Denine is meeting with officials from only second- and third-tier European nations. There are no meetings scheduled with any officials from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, or even Britain. Getting the Irish ambassador to say something nice about DW may make for a swell PR photo, but it's not going to change EU policy.
3. That these meetings are little more than photo-ops. With no less than 9 meetings scheduled for today and Friday (and we all know how much work gets done in Ottawa after coffee break on a Friday), there will be little time to conduct substantive discussions. By lining up a series of bilateral meetings, Denine has ensured that he will have to spend much of his time sequentially repeating Dangovt's position. Denine could have arranged trilateral meetings in cooperation with the Federal Minister of Fisheries -- alternatively, he could have tried to convene some sort of summit or group meeting -- but he's stuck with the tactic that Hedderson has already tried.
4. The Federal Government has been magically wished away, officially redacted from media advisories. No doubt it's part of a grand strategy to force the Minister of Fisheries into a meeting by ignoring her.
5. As even the media advisory admits, the whole thing is an information session. Denine's mandate is merely "to ensure that EU member states are well informed about the seal harvest and its important implications from both an economic and fisheries conservation perspective." Since European opposition to the seal fishery is based largely on ethical arguments that have little to do with economic considerations, telling European ambassadors about how the ban will adversely affect the NL economy (which DW is telling everyone is in fantastic shape) will have about as much impact as trying to shout down Tory hecklers in the House of Assembly.
6. The trip appears to signal an expansion in the mandate of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs. According to their 2007-2008 report, the furthest contacts had been with the Conference of New England Governors and the South Eastern United States–Canadian Provinces’ Alliance, neither of which are bilateral forums:
For initial press coverage, see http://www.thetelegram.com/index.cfm?sid=242703&sc=79