Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks to his plane bound for Europe in Ottawa August 31, 2011.
Credits: Blair Gable/REUTERS
Prime Minister Stephen Harper did every taxpayer of Canada a great favour this week when he told European leaders to go find their own money.
Harper was under tremendous pressure while attending a G20 summit in Mexico to fork over Canadian cash for a European bailout.
Calls came from the head of the International Monetary Fund and several of Europe's top politicians - still Harper said no.
The PM told reporters that European countries, which are some of the richest in the world, have the capacity to deal with their own problems.
That sent European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso off the deep end.
"Frankly, we are not coming here to receive lessons in terms of democracy and in terms of how to run an economy because the European Union has a model that we may be very proud of," Barroso said.
Actually, Barroso might want to take lessons.
For all of Canada's faults, our economy is outperforming Europe's and we aren't in a constant state of negotiation over the next bailout.
As for democracy, he should take notes on how Canada does things - we actually elect our top politicians, unlike the EU.
Neither Barroso nor his colleague Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council, came to their positions through a vote of the people.
They were appointed. So much for democracy.
Barroso used his tirade to hint that if Canada wants a new trade deal with Europe then we might want to pay into the fund.
It sounded almost like a threat - bail us out or lose the deal.
It's kinda the equivalent of saying nice neighbourhood, shame to see something happen to it.
He then said, "Let's work together." I think he meant "pay my bills."
It looks like Harper has his finger on the pulse of the Canadian public on this file and knows that most Canucks don't want to work to age 65, or soon 67, so Europeans can retire at 55 and frolic on the beach.
Yet Harper's denial of Canadian funds for Europe has some noses out of joint among Canada's chattering classes.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, who is also a citizen of France, has criticized the government in the House of Commons for failing to rescue Europe's debt ridden states.
Globe and Mail columnist Jeffrey Simpson sniffed that Harper's "tone" in rejecting the bailout wasn't "sympathetic" enough.
I'm not sure how to say "get lost, find your own money" in polite terms and I don't really care to find out.
Europe has been in a constant state of panic over its economy, debt levels and unsustainable social programs for years now and the countries that remain in trouble - such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy - have refused to make the tough changes needed.
Speaking in the European Parliament last week, British politician Nigel Farage denounced a deal that saw Italy borrow money at 7% interest to contribute towards the Spanish bailout.
That 100-billion euro deal will see Spain pay back the money at 3% interest.
Now Italy, which is broke and just borrowed money to help out Spain, may need its own bailout.
Where does it end?
Thankfully for Canadian taxpayers, it ended with Stephen Harper saying no.