Bashing America: Anti-U.S. sentiment in Canada may escalate
Date: Tuesday, January 17 2006
Bashing America: Anti-U.S. sentiment in Canada may escalate to a turning point in relations between neighbors
By Anna Morgan
For The Washington Post
Published: Sunday, January 15, 2006
TORONTO - Since Canada's minority government lost a no-confidence vote late last November, the politicians have been out on the stump, preparing for a new election on Jan. 23. Running in the two coldest months of winter, they've been using that familiar demon - the United States and all its evils - as the fuel to heat Canadian voters to a frenzy.
There's no denying that Canadians are in an even more anti-American mood than usual, thanks to the Iraq war and the Bush administration's perceived arrogance. And politicians here are playing to that mood.
In a blatant appeal for votes, candidates of every stripe, led by Prime Minister Paul Martin and his ruling Liberal Party, are taking aim at Washington, blasting it for taxing Canadian lumber imports, for failing to fight global warming, for lax gun-control laws, for dealing inappropriately with the war on terrorism. And all the while, they're studiously ignoring Canada's own homegrown issues.
America-bashing became such a central part of the election landscape last month that U.S. ambassador David Wilkins warned that Canadian-American relations could take a turn for the worse if party leaders didn't back off. But his words only prompted Canadian politicians to lash back with admonitions of their own. Even Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservatives, the party generally most sympathetic to the United States, declared: ''I don't think foreign ambassadors should be expressing their views or intervening in an election.''