Vive Le Canada

McKenna calls United States government dysfunctional
Date: Saturday, October 01 2005

McKenna calls United States government dysfunctional
U.S. envoy at table

Wojtek Dabrowski
National Post

Friday, September 30, 2005

TORONTO - Canada's ambassador to the United States painted an unflattering picture of the way government works south of the border yesterday, calling it "dysfunctional," overly complex and in dire financial straits, while saying Canada has an efficient system on a solid fiscal footing.

Speaking at a business luncheon -- and with the U.S. ambassador to Canada sitting steps away -- Frank McKenna said the United States is "a great country in spite of its government structure, rather than because of it."

"The United States of America is a wonderful creation -- the Constitution is a spectacular thing," Mr. McKenna said.

"But it was anticipated that it would be established as a country in which there would be a check and balance on the exercise of power. And I can tell you categorically that what has been institutionalized instead is total gridlock. The government of the United States is, in large measure, dysfunctional."

He said one senator there has 75 staff members, which shows that U.S. policymaking is "so complex that even people who work within government need help to navigate through it."

David Wilkins, the American envoy to Canada, appeared to take his counterpart's speech to a joint meeting of the Empire Club of Canada and the Canadian Club of Toronto in stride.

Following the address, Mr. Wilkins told reporters that Mr. McKenna is "a great orator and he's a good friend and he gave a pretty compelling speech about the attributes of Canada."

Mr. Wilkins said he has been warmly received in Canada, adding: "The United States is a beacon of light for so many people throughout the world. I could not be prouder of my country and I, quite frankly, did not take personally the remarks of Mr. McKenna in any way, period."


However, at the outset of yesterday's address, he said: "I am so tired of talking about softwood lumber. I just want a break for one day."

This article comes from Vive Le Canada

The URL for this story is: