Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Canadians still feel dissed 

The fence-mending tour is over -- its interesting to realize that, for Canada, this was seen as Bush's attempt to mend fences (it wasn't), while the American media seemed surprised that there are any fences to mendhere.
Humourist Rick Mercer and U of T professor Mark Kingwell were interviewed about the Bush visit on PBS's NewsHour: President Bush Visits Canada and both made some good points about why Canadians don't trust George Bush and the Bush administration. Basically, we don't like being dissed.
Mercer noted: ". . . one of the big sticking points between Canada and the United States is that Bush never came here. . . and his ambassador would roll back and forth across the country for the last four years telling Canadians what to do and telling us, you know, what we were doing wrong and how we should run our country and what laws we should pass and should not pass. And, as a result, there has been an incredible amount of animosity building between the two nations and not just over trade, which is obviously very big, but this feeling that there is this attitude coming from Washington that Canada is, you know, is a state, essentially someone who should do just what they're told when they're told. And, you know, Canadians didn't buy into that. And, as a result, that's why you see George Bush being phenomenally unpopular in this country."
Kingwell was even stronger: ". . . there are fundamental rifts on what kind of liberalism each country is pursuing. And the reasoned objection to an unjust war, the legitimate claims of cultural independence in these trade disputes where we are simply protecting the interests of our farmers and ranchers and loggers have highlighted those differences. So I would say probably it hasn't been this bad for a long time . . . I think many Alberta ranchers are not going to be particularly pleased with the mockery that the president offered on the issue. This has been a serious hit to the economy of the prairies. . . many Canadians are wondering not just why Bush is here now, but why it took him three years to thank us for what happened after 9/11. This was a significant breach of diplomatic protocol when there was no forthcoming thanks at the time. And I think that was part of what made the relationship deteriorate, part of a general loss of faith in the American attitude after 9/11 . . . I also think that his defense of his actions in Iraq as being in accordance with the United Nations Security Council is disingenuous. The Bush administration has consistently failed to cooperate with the United Nations; something that Canadians have been urging all along as the real basis of any kind of legitimate international action. He has also refused to cooperate with the international criminal court with various measures which Canadian diplomats and thinkers have been spearheading to try to give a legitimate basis to international law so that we don't see the kind of rogue action that we have seen in Iraq."
This was also portrayed as a dry run for a Bush trip to Europe in the winter -- oh, that's going to be fun, isn't it?

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