Vive Le Canada

Canada's Liberals Blame America
Date: Saturday, January 07 2006

Canada's Liberals Blame America

January 4th, 2006

A too-close-to-call federal election campaign in Canada has spurred the nationís beleaguered Liberal leader to try and cling to power by attacking the nationís oldest ally and largest trading partner. That Canada sells 83% of its world exports to the United States and some 50% of all Canadian jobs depend either directly or indirectly on those exports seems irrelevant right now.

Itís a bizarre world Up North these days.

Prime Minister Paul Martin is in the fight of his political life against Conservative leader Stephen Harper and thatís obviously why heís been trying to whip up anti-American fervor in the hope it might win him votes and get his government re-elected on voting day Jan. 23. And also to take votersí minds off a raft of scandals that have erupted within his government and that of his predecessor, Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

In December, Martin condemned President George W. Bushís administration for allegedly not having a ďglobal conscienceĒ because Washington didnít sign the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing so-called greenhouse gases some say cause global warming. Martinís outburst was seen as hypocritical by many, since the U.S. record on this particular environment issue is far better than that of Canada.

Martin has also slammed Washington for imposing $5 billion worth of penalties on Canadian softwood exports to the U.S. The U.S. imposed the penalties because American softwood producers claim their Canadian counterparts are indirectly subsidized by low Canadian stumpage fees on government forest land. Martin hinted his government might retaliate for trade disputes by finding new markets for its natural resources exports such as selling its oil to Communist China rather than to the U.S.

This was purely a nonsensical threat since the vast amount of oil is produced in Alberta and under law federal authorities have no claim to it. As an aside, itís estimated that Albertaís booming oil sands contain enough oil to supply the U.S. for 40 years.

After the strained relations between the Chretien and Bush administration it had been speculated after Martin became prime minister in 2000 one of his priorities would be to mend fences with Washington.

That was a shallow hope.

Today, Martin can hardly get Bush to return his phone calls never mind get invited to the Oval Office.

Yet is there any wonder?

Paul Jackson has covered Canadian and world politics for several major Canadian papers over the past 40 years. He is now Editor Emeritus of the Calgary Sun, in Calgary, Alberta.


This article comes from Vive Le Canada

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