The tone of Canada's relationship with the United States is "set at the top" and a changing of the guard should pave the way for improved relations between the two nations, Canada's new U.S. ambassador said Thursday.
"This all starts with the tone at the top and I think the Prime Minister has indicated he wants to see a change in the tone from the top," Michael Wilson told reporters shortly after being tapped as this country's new envoy to the United States.
"As that tone from the top changes, I think it will make it easier for me as ambassador to reach into the administration, reach into the elements of Congress who have got very distinct points of view and have a dialogue with that proper tone."
What bothers me about Wilson's comments is they imply that Canada is too blame for strained relationships. You can criticize the Chretien and Martin governments on a host of issues, but respectively both operated effectively in terms of diplomacy and multilateral frameworks. The fact that our relationship with the Americans is strained speaks to the rigid, uncompromising, bully on the block philosophy of the Bush administration. Wilson mischaracterizes our relationship as a consequence of our inability to work with the Americans, when in fact a poll of other world leaders would clearly support the opposite view. The list of countries that currently have a strained relationship with the American administration is endless, the same can not be said of Canada.
I do agree with Wilson however, relations will improve under the new Canadian government. Afterall, Wilson is on record supporting the misguided American foreign policy. Harper has mirrored the American position on Kyoto and given strong indications that he favors the missile shield. Obviously, the tone will improve if you agree with everything the Bush administration presents. This new tone doesn't speak to a better sense of diplomacy, that the previous governments lacked, merely the fact that philosophically there is more natural common ground. Improved relations with one of the most disastrous administrations in American, if not world history, is hardly a plus in the grand scheme.