Dangerous game

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Bashing our southern neighbours might have dire consequences

The contemptuous tone taken by Liberal leader Paul Martin in his anti-American ranting unveils a side of our supposed prime minister that’s been previously shielded to most voters.

It is he will do anything—no matter how low, no matter how politically unethical, no matter how dangerous—to try to score points and eke out extra seats in the House of Commons come voting day Jan. 23.

His shrill and silly accusations against President George W. Bush’s administration may make for good theatre with the uniformed, but they diminish both our short-term and long- term relationship with Washington.

Has no one wondered why it took so long to solve the ban on our packaged beef and then live cattle destined for the U.S?

Brian Mulroney—or Preston Manning, Stockwell Day or Stephen Harper—would have solved it with a phone call.

Has no one wondered why the softwood lumber dispute drags on year-after-year?

Mulroney—or Manning, Day or Harper—again would have solved it with a snap of the fingers.

Has no one wondered why Martin can’t get his foot in the door of the Oval Office at the White House to push Canada’s case on any number of issues?

Mulroney—or Manning, Day or Harper—would get the nod from the Bush administration on just about every concern the mind could conjure up on Canadian-American relations.

But Martin’s irresponsible and reckless treatment of Bush has brought the blinds down on the Liberal government.

The beef and softwood lumber disputes alone cost Canadian producers billions of dollars.

All due to Martin’s vanity, obstinacy and childish bellowing.

I can’t say I’ve ever had too much time for Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella—except to admit somewhat negatively to his cleverness in slurring Conservative opponents—but even he condemns Martin’s “shameless pandering” to anti-American types.

So now I somewhat admire Kinsella for something more positive: He knows just what Martin is up to, and why, and he sees the inherent danger in it.

Martin sneakily condemns U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins for allegedly interfering in Canadian politics when he himself stood on a stage a week ago with ex-president Bill Clinton and basked in this adulterer’s supposed vote-getting power.

Both men were in Montreal for the UN’s climate change conference, and Martin took the occasion to publicly chastise Bush for not supporting the Kyoto pact.

That said, Conservative Senator Hugh Segal—an old friend, by the way—praised Wilkins for refusing to succumb to Martin’s poisonous bait and be drawn into the campaign.

Here, let’s recall when Jean Chretien’s nephew, Raymond Chretien, was Canadian ambassador to Washington, he openly said the Liberal government favoured a Democratic victory by Al Gore to a Republican win with Bush in 2000.

Wasn’t this interfering in U.S. politics?

During the 2004 presidential campaign, any number of Liberal senators ran around with John Kerry campaign buttons on their lapels and cabinet ministers such as Environment Minister Stephane Dion and Human Resources Minister Joe Volpe were walking around publicly endorsing Kerry.

What a charade Martin has going.

It’s like the one he put on when, right to the last minute, he pretended to the Bush administration that Canada would join the U.S. missile defence shield, then at the last moment, switched positions.

It was a knife in the back to Bush.

The folly of Martin’s tactics and hypocrisy is Canada benefits far more from its relationship with the U.S. than does the U.S.

The population and economy of California alone is larger than the entire population and economic weight of all Canada.

More than 83% of our exports go to the U.S. and 50% of all our jobs either directly or indirectly depend on those exports.

Those exports and jobs were safeguarded by Mulroney who convinced presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush to go against protectionist forces in the U.S. Congress.

Without this protection, we’d be an economic wasteland.

Yet, Martin is prepared to jeopardize these exports and jobs for his own ambition.

If Martin’s Liberals are re-elected again, Canadians will pay for this dubious and underhanded behaviour.

Unlike in the Mulroney years, there’ll be no favours given us.

Why should there be?

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