Stephen Harper articulated his position with regards to our relationship with the Americans:
Mr. Harper also warns that relations with the Americans will deteriorate under a Liberal leader who chastised the United States for its environmental record and lambasted the Conservatives for cozying up to the United States.
"These things have more consequences on a relationship than people understand," he says. "Americans respect a prime minister who takes a strong position on issues of interest to Canada, but they're not going to respect a guy who insults them gratuitously and misrepresents private meetings and communications for political advantage.
"We've got to get back on track with the U.S., and there's no possibility that's going to happen if this government is re-elected."
This assertion by Harper is true, relations will probably improve if the Conservatives form the government. However, to lay the blame for our deteriorating relationship at the foot of the Liberal Party is complete bunk. If you were too poll a wide cross section of diplomats across the world, the overriding sentiment would be that the American administration does not "play well with others". The speed at which the Bush administration has alienated former allies is staggering and most of his policies suggest utter disdain for internationalism. The appointment of John Bolton to the United Nations, a man who wishes to gut this international body, speaks too an administration that has no concept of diplomacy.
History has already shown that our decision not to enter the war in Iraq was morally justified. All independent observers have sided with Canada over the trade disputes with the Americans. The Bush administration has distanced itself from a litany of international agreements, preferring an isolationist approach with few allies.
For a myriad of reasons, I find the Harper posturing a complete and utter disservice to Canada. Our relationship with the Americans has fractured, not because of political posturing by our government, but the inability to find a good faith partner, that acts in the best interest of the world. Standing up to a hard right agenda, a dangerous foreign policy and a head in the sand approach to environmental concerns doesn't translate into an inability to get along with our neighbors. You can count the governments that have good relations with America on one hand. Some "allies" of American foreign policy clearly regret their complicity, so Canada is hardly unique in its difficulties dealing with the Bush administration.
We do need to get back on track with the Americans. Unfortunately, the only way to enhance relations is take a subservient role that follows the worst administration in American history. Harper is a Bush apologist, at the expense of our nation, which has always encompassed the notions of bipartisanship and international cooperation. The rift in Canadian, U.S relations is not a political question, but under the present circumstances, a moral imperative. Harper is dead wrong and I resent his implication that we are at fault for the present conditions.