Sunday, January 22, 2006

Harper Dead Wrong On Can/U.S Relations

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.


Jeff said...

The whole Conservative policy on the US seems to be, simply, be nicer to them and good things will happen.

It's eirly similat to Paul Martin's statements on the subject on the subject when he was running for Liberal leader, trying to diferentiate himself from Jean Chretien. I think history has shown that he quickly discovered that didn't work.

We'll have a better relationship with the US under PM Harper but will it help advance our case on, softwood, for example? Nope. That is being drive by pure domestic politics, not anamosity for the Liberals. Bush is powerless on this anyway, it's being driven by a few senators and congressman who don't give a rats ass about Canada.

While the relationship between Canada and the US as been rocky at times, the fact is a bully doesn't respect a kiss ass.

Anonymous said...

Harper should look to the feelings of Canadians who he claims to represent. The vast majority of Canadians have a negative impression of the Bush administration. The federal government should reflect this sentiment and not chastize the Liberals for mirroring the public view.

Anonymous said...

Harper had done a disservice? By What?
Suggesting we conduct business with our neighbor in a dignified and professional manner? We can't change their government, we can only approach it a manner that will be to our benifit. The infantile manner in which members of the last 2 Liberal governments acted towards the US was the real disservice to Canadians. And it definetly has contributed to thedeteriation in the US - Canada relationship. Not nearly as much as the US administration itself, but it cannot be completly ignored like you seem to want.