Steven Harper did something no other prime minister has done to date by welcoming the Dalai Lama (PM welcomes Dalai Lama) in a public venue with the press in attendance. China was quick to issue an official rebuke and warned that there would be consequences. It's hard to say if Harper is merely emulating Bush and Angela Merkel who have already met with the Dalai Lama. Regardless, you have to give Harper credit for publicly embracing an icon for peace and tolerance, and a symbolic rebuke of Chinese repression.
And while I agree with Harry Sterling that Harper often makes foreign policy decisions based on ideology (as I wrote here and here) and not Canadian interests (Ideology vs. national interest), he's wrong in stating that this was one of those occasions. Nothing could be more paramount to Canadian interests than opposing repression and human rights violations. Allowing economics to trump human rights would diminish us as a people. I think most Canadians would agree. And your Holiness, you're more than welcome at my house any time you want to visit your newest country.