Thursday, March 03, 2005

Tit for Tat

For the past week our American neighbours have complained that they feel betrayed by Canada's refusal to participate in the missile defense program. Our concerns and complaints have been completely ignored by our so-called allies who claim that we are a bunch of free-loaders. Until recently, nobody was willing to stand up to the American juggernaut, then Lloyd Axworthy stepped up to the plate. He was quickly followed by Quebec Premier Jean Charest. Now support has come in from an unexpected direction.

People across the country have been concerned about Frank McKenna's objectivity in his new role as Ambassador to the US, today he showed those worries might be unwarranted. Speaking from his new home in DC, McKenna directly blamed American policy towards Canada for our refusal to participate in the missile shield.

"Let me say this, that this [missile defence] issue in some ways perhaps could be construed as the direct result of letting fester some of the transactional issues," he told reporters at the Canadian embassy. "From a Canadian perspective, you can understand how the atmosphere has not been conducive to creating a political environment where a different decision might have been achieved on the ballistic missile defence issue."
McKenna specifically cited the softwood lumber dispute, the ban on Canadian beef and the damage they have caused to the Canadian economy for the plan's defeat. Prime Minister Martin abandoned his support for the program largely because the Canadian people are strongly opposed to the plan. The Ambassador went on to explain his comments, pointing out how exactly better treatment from the US might have led to Canadian cooperation.

"One can't say definitively, [but] I think one can say we would have had a much lower temperature in Canada in which to operate.... It is my belief that the temperature in Canada has, in part, been at a pretty high level as a result of these ongoing irritants. So the logical extension of that is that if you could turn down the temperature, you would have a different political environment in which to operate."
These comments come as a big surprise to most Canadians who saw McKenna as a puppet who would largely do whatever the Americans told him. The Ambassador is strongly connected to the Carlyle Group and the Republican Party, but yesterday's comments indicate his loyalty to his country is strong as well.

For years Canada and the United States enjoyed one of the closest alliances on the planet. However, since the election of George W. Bush our relationship has taken a drastic turn for the worse. Despite the claims of the American media, the simple fact of the matter is that the change has occurred on the American end. Finally, Canadians appear willing to point that out, to stand up on our own, to scream to the world about the injustices of the Bush regime. Axworthy, Charest, McKenna...let's keep the list going. We have to stand up to these thugs if they're ever going to treat us with respect.

2 Comments:

Blogger Scott Tribe said...

Its interesting seeing how some in the Canadian government and US Ambassador Cellucci denies that there was any trade linkage between mssile defence and the rejection of it.

I agree there was probably nothing to do with the decision based on trade irritants - but I think they are both missing the point... Mckenna was trying to say that the Canadian populace was already in a grumpy mood vis-A-vis the US because of border closings to cattle and lumber..(I would say angry mood in some quarters) and there was no reason for anyone in the populace to give Bush the benefit of the doubt over this request.

Add that to the anti-Iraq war sentiment up here, and the general mistrust of Bush's regime.. and it should be obvious why a large majority of Canucks wanted nothing to do with it.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Psychols said...

Cellucci acting like Tony Soprano does little to cool things. His constant criticism of the government of Canada for doing what the electorant expects of it, is disappointing. A real diplomat both speaks and listens. My sense it that Cellucci only takes the speaking part seriously. He is obviously not communicating the Canadian perspective to the US administration.

I agree with Scott. Irritation over the softwood harrasment, the border closere to live cattle and the anti-Iraq war sentiment persist.

Noises coming out of the US administration about Syria are both preplexing and disturbing. I hate to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but one wonders what agendas are in play. Hopefully it is posturing, because if the US embarkes on another war, we can probably expect the relationship to sour even more, if Canada decides not to participate.

3:25 AM  

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