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"Let me simply say to anyone who wants to question what I have been saying, beginning with (Conservative Leader) Stephen Harper, that I am the Prime Minister of this country, that our position on climate change will be determined by the government of Canada, that the fact is that we do expect our partners to honour their agreements --and I will defend Canada. Period."

This is Prime Minister Paul Martin's response to US Ambassador David Wilkins' accusation that Canadian pols are using "anti-American rhetoric" to score points in the run-up to the Jan. 23 Election.

More below.

From CTV.ca

http://sympaticomsn.ctv.ca/...

Canada warned to stop dragging U.S. into election
CTV.ca News Staff

In a pointed rebuke to campaigning politicians, U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins warned Tuesday that they risk hurting the relationship between the two countries when they use anti-American rhetoric to "score political points."

"I understand political expediency, but the last time I looked, the United States was not on the ballot for the Jan. 23 election," Wilkins said in a speech to the Canadian Club at the historic Chateau Laurier Hotel, next door to Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

"Just think about this. What if one of our best friends criticized you directly and incorrectly almost relentlessly? What if that friend's agenda was to highlight your perceived flaws while avoiding mentioning your successes? What if that friend demanded respect but offered little in return?" Wilkins asked.

"Wouldn't that begin to sow the seeds of doubt in your mind about the strength of the friendship?"

Wilkins warned the campaigning politicians to tone down the censure.

"It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner," Wilkins said.

"But it is a slippery slope, and all of us should hope that it doesn't have a long-term impact on the relationship."

Wilkins said he feared this "constant attitude" would hurt the Canada-U.S. relationship unless "all of us make a concerted effort to simply tone it down."

Wilkins' wide-ranging speech covered just about every issue of contention between the U.S. and Canada.

Although he didn't mention Paul Martin by name, he responded to the Liberal leader's rebuke last week of the U.S.'s refusal to sign onto the Kyoto protocol to curb greenhouse gases.

Less than a week after Martin named the United States for failing to yield to a "global conscience" on climate change in its refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol, Wilkins lobbed the phrasing back at the prime minister.

"The United States is, in fact, reducing emissions and spending more money on tackling climate change than any other country in the world, having spent over 20 billion dollars in the last five years," said Wilkins.

"I would respectfully submit to you that when it comes to a 'global conscience,' the United States is walking the walk," he added.

On the issue of Canada's concerns over U.S. border security, Wilkins stated: "You should understand that 9-11 forever changed my country. You don't get a second chance to stop a terrorist -- you can't be wrong the first time."

He then went on to say officials at the "highest levels" in Washington are working to come up with a secure document that would speed up border travel and increase border security should it be agreed upon by both countries.

And on the contentious issue of softwood lumber duties, Wilkins said the U.S. Commerce Department slashed tariffs "almost in half" last week.

"Friends working together in good faith can resolve the softwood lumber issues," he said, adding that 97 per cent of trade between the U.S. and Canada is "seamless," and amounts to $1.5 billion a day.

"That's what we ought to be talking about," Wilkins said.

But Martin made no apologies for remarks he has made, and brushed aside the ambassador's reprimand.

Asked to comment on Wilkins' speech by reporters in Surrey, B.C. on Tuesday, the Liberal leader said: "I have not made the United States a target in this campaign."

He said his positions on softwood lumber and on climate change are ones he adopted "long before any election was contemplated."

"Let me simply say to anyone who wants to question what I have been saying, beginning with (Conservative Leader) Stephen Harper, that I am the prime minister of this country, that our position on climate change will be determined by the government of Canada, that the fact is that we do expect our partners to honour their agreements --and I will defend Canada. Period."

**

Yeah, the whole world should agree with Wilkins that the USA is "walking the walk" on issues of Global Conscience like Kyoto. Illegal tariffs on lumber? What are we bitching about when the USA has graciously offered to cut these ILLEGAL tariffs in half?

Funny how gentle requests for the USA to abide by GATT law, respect Kyoto and the UN, and not doom the planet become "anti-American rhetoric."

The issues of economy, trade and environment-- if they contain any negative content with regard to our largest trading partner (as we are yours) -- should now be excised from Canada's election debate, or the USA will "punish" us?

Let's analyze Wilkins' words.

"Just think about this. What if one of our best friends criticized you directly and incorrectly almost relentlessly?" (Not incorrectly, and we are only one of a number of aggrieved and ripped-off friends.) "What if that friend's agenda was to highlight your perceived flaws while avoiding mentioning your successes?" (Ummm... you lie, you steal, you dominate...and there just haven't BEEN any successes lately. Name one, Dave.) "

"What if that friend demanded respect but offered little in return?" (Oh, that's rich. We Ugly Canadians are known for that attitude, not you.)

"Wouldn't that begin to sow the seeds of doubt in your mind about the strength of the friendship?"

NO. A conversation like that would set me soul-searching about what was wrong with me, because I have morals, ethics and a conscience.

Wilkins, Rice, Bolton. The international face of America is now that of a sneering bully.

If it walks like a fascist, and talks like a fascist... now there's some anti-American rhetoric you won't hear on our campaign trail.

Originally posted to howth of murph on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:25 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One aside about Wilkins (none)

    He was on TVOntario a few weeks back, spinning like crazy over the Softwood Tariffs debacle.

    Host Paula Todd tried to lighten things by saying "I see here that you're studying French. How's that going?"

    Wilkins said "I only speak une pooR." Yeah, I just bet he's studying French real hard-like.

    What will survive of us is love

    by howth of murph on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:33:08 PM PST

    •  Okay, one more (none)

      Just because he's doin' a heckuva job.

      2001:
      Senator Strom Thurmond offers Wilkins a federal district judgeship. President Bush approaches Wilkins to be ambassador to Chile. In both cases, Wilkins says he wishes to finish the legislative session in South Carolina.

      2004:
      Serves as chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in South Carolina.

      2005:
      In a ceremony is Washington, D.C., Wilkins is sworn in as the new U.S. ambassador to Canada, following Bush's nomination.

      Damn, he could've had Chile. I bet they don't piss and moan about the USA like we do.

      What will survive of us is love

      by howth of murph on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:42:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Our Man in Ottawa (or wherever) (none)
        This must be the guy who did the really embarassing interview on Canadian radio after his appointment.  

        He was asked if he had ever been to Canada and replied that he had years ago.  The interviewer asked where he had been, and he hemmed and hawed and spewed out some stream-of-consciousness gibberish, trying desparately to come up with a place name and finally deciding that it was the part of Canada somewhere around Indiana.

        It was pure comedy.

      •  You (none)
        hate Chile or somethin'?

        At least you have P.Martin, who does Chile have to slap this guy some sense?

        "As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities." Voltaire

        by Euroliberal on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:41:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  He almost makes you miss Paul Cellucci (none)
      The other tactful ambassador to Canada! ;)

      - "You're Hells Angels, then? What chapter are you from?"
      - REVELATIONS, CHAPTER SIX.

      by Hoya90 on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 02:44:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  did you get that backwards? (none)
    didn't you mean "Canada to David Wilkins.."?
    •  No, that headline should be a little different (none)
      Canada to David Wilkins: "Get the fuck out of our country."

      Any ambassador who shows that kind of disrespect for the host country and for a core principle like freedom of speech deserves to be PNG'ed and sent home in disgrace.

      Thwarting the forces of conservatism since 1978. -7.63, -5.64

      by wiscmass on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:53:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a continuation (none)
        of the same attitude espoused by the previous 'ambASSador' Mr. Cellucci.

        Think it's pretty time that we Canucks stop pretending that the USA appoints an 'ambASSador' to Canada. Wilkins isn't the 'ambASSador', he is, as Mr. Cellucci was, the American pro-consul.

        btw - Wilkins statement does nothing to help Harper & the Conservatives and may set the Conservative campaign back a little. I say that gleefully.

        Maybe Wilkins should STFU.

      •  Much as I would like to see PNG... (4.00)
        That's not likely. But I think it's high time for Canada to tell us where to get off. It has been ridiculous for a long time, but especially after 9/11.

        On the other hand, Canada looked so good taking the high road after Bush acted like the ungrateful f*ck he is in his speech to Congress post-9/11. The memorial service on Parliament Square was very dignified and moving and Chretien only gained by being statesmanlike.

        Our behavior towards Canada is so freakin' embarrassing.

        Tim LaHaye can kiss my "left behind"

        by homogenius on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:03:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  You think he wrote that speech? (none)
        That reads like something right out central casting for a Carl Rove production. You are receiving the same bullshit we're getting on our side of the border. At least you don't have to sweat about the Patriot Act. However, I am trying to think what name for a product like "french fries" can be changed to "freedom something". Maybe they will ban Canadian hockey players, eh?
    •  Nope (none)

      He's asking Canadian politicians to not talk about America's poor performance on crucial issues on the campaign trail... or else.

      But he can shut up anytime now, too.

      What will survive of us is love

      by howth of murph on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:55:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The money quote (4.00)
    "I would respectfully submit to you that when it comes to a 'global conscience,' the United States is walking the walk," he added.

    Memo to Dave:  When you "respectfully submit" something and then that something is a statement that is ridiculous, it sorta cheapens the whole "respectful" thing.

  •  Tough talk from a true friend (none)
    Thanks, Canada.  More than half of the Americans down here agree with you.  Sorry it doesn't show as it should.  But we're working on it!!

    Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

    by soyinkafan on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 12:54:32 PM PST

  •  Thats not all he said... (none)
    I guess he was feeling irritated about Iraq too:

    He defended the continuing American occupation in Iraq, saying "freedom is on the march."
  •  Wilkins (none)
    This is pretty big news. We always expect Canada to tag along on every issue like a little brother. This is yet one more example where we are condescendingly addressing their ongoing concerns of moral conscience as well as trade. Frankly, we could not have a better friend than Canada and it is shameful the way we have treated them during this administration. Wilkins was hoping to go up there and create some business relationships with his home state and the big North but instead has been having to deliver the party line time and again.

    I hope that Canada doesn't flinch in the face of these threats. Frankly, sometimes a true friend has to stand up to their pal and say "Enough is enough". If we can't take it, then hell--we are not as tough as we claim to be.

    •  It's a bluff (4.00)
      He hints at threatening trade with Canada. He mentions that the US is Canada's largest trading partner, but seems to forget that the reverse is also true, that Canada is also the US's largest trading partner. It's a pretty hollow threat, the US cannot afford to to lose trade with Canada.

      It's a mistake to forget that Canada is a sovereign nation, and treat it as if it is some sort of protectorate of the US. Such acts only make Canadians even less inclined to see things Washington's way.

      One reason that Canada did not get the same treatment that France did was that the Bush administration did not wish to risk trade with Canada. The government only needed to demonize one country.

  •  GMAFB (none)
    If Rove thought he could've gotten a fraction of a poll-point out of it in 2004, the Repub echo-chamber  would've been bitch-slapping Canada 24/7.

    Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

    by Bearpaw on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:27:34 PM PST

  •  Wilkins is (none)
    a dumbass.  He's from my home state, unfortunately.  He was a dumbass here, and he's a dumbass there.  Don't expect it to get better.  I was glad to get rid of him, but I'm sorry you had to be on the receiving end.
    •  Glad we could use him. (none)
      Actually, it's not bad having him here. We'll get no sense out of the American government until it changes anyway, and his assing around will tend to drag his Conservative friends down. Such a lovely punching bag.

      Seriously, what other use could one make of him, other than bulking out a sanitary landfill?

      Lux in tenebris lucet et tenebrae eam non comprehenderunt.
      (The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not understood it.)

      by sagesource on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:58:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Off to dinner now... (none)

    ...thanks for stopping by!

    We shall overcome, eh?

    What will survive of us is love

    by howth of murph on Tue Dec 13, 2005 at 01:51:21 PM PST

  •  America and Canada (none)
    are true friends. I sometimes laugh when I hear the pols and pundits try to stir up animosity between our people. We have the longest peaceful border in the world approaching 200 years. We have so much in common culturally and otherwise that we are practically the same country. I mean, take two countries that are relatively indistinguishable for Americans, Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan, America and Canada are more similar than they!

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