Canadian PM cancels Israel visit over Olmert scandal
The Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is the first prominent world leader to call off a visit to Israel, according to Ottawa media, “because of political instability due to a corruption scandal surrounding prime minister Ehud Olmert.” He was due for a four-day stay starting June 16. debkafile‘s political sources report that the Canadian leader’s action is the first outward symptom of the damage caused Israel’s international standing by Olmert’s insistence on functioning normally and refusing to step down until he is indicted.
Circles close to Harper told the Canadian media that Harper “could have found himself in the middle of an election campaign or a campaign by Olmert’s cabinet to unseat the Israeli prime minister.” They were referring to the investigation against him regarding the receipt of cash in envelopes from an American financier during his terms as mayor of Jerusalem and industry minister. Olmert insists there was no wrongdoing.
A former Canadian ambassador to Israel, Normal Spector, described the latest revelations about Mr. Olmert as “extremely damaging” and a source of negative fallout in Israeli public opinion.