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The Article

Liberals’ leadership candidates sized up

American colleagues ask which Liberal leadership candidates would be best for the U.S. should Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives lose the next election.

Well, Harper’s unlikely to lose. None of the eight Liberal candidates have actually caused the hearts of Canadian voters to beat a little faster—and the PM is by far the best man to keep Canadian-American relations on even keel and the door to the White House open.

But just supposing the Liberals did win—which would surely spell the end of political reform in our nation for another generation—then who would be the best man to keep our relations with Washington beneficial?

During the Jean Chretien and Paul Martin era, our relationship with Washington hit rock bottom. By the time Martin was on his way out, he couldn’t even get his phone calls to the White House returned.

Chretien let his senior people slur President George W. Bush at every turn—including letting his nephew, then Canadian Ambassador to Washington, Raymond Chretien, openly say Ottawa would prefer a Democratic administration to a Republican one. If the U.S. Ambassador to Ottawa had waded into Canadian politics on a partisan way like that, he’d have been sent home in a hurry.

In the midst of this we had Chretien’s communications chief, Francoise Ducros, calling Bush a “moron” and MP Carolyn Parrish screaming out “Americans—I hate the bastards.”

During the 2006 election campaign, Martin used Bush and Washington as whipping boys in an attempt to stir up anti-American sentiment in our country and somehow pull in a stack of votes for the Liberals.

Recall even gang violence in Toronto was supposedly the result of American guns smuggled into Canada, and Bush was condemned by Martin for “not having a “social conscience” when it came to the environment.

No wonder the ban on Canadian beef entering the U.S. went on and on, and the lumber issue wasn’t solved—until Harper took over.

I wrote about the Liberals’ anti-U.S. stance in “Canada’s Liberals blame America” in the prestigious The Amer- ican Thinker (Jan. 4).

But following the debates in the current leadership campaign I see not a touch of anti-Americanism. Maybe they have learned it doesn’t work at home, and certainly not in Washington.

Even former New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna, also ambassador to Washington until the Conservatives took over, has suggested we join the U.S. missile shield program.

Of the four serious candidates, I tell my American friends—all Republicans—Michael Ignatieff would be the best choice, with Stephane Dion second.

Ignatieff, who backed the American liberation of Iraq, taught at both Harvard and the University of California.

Dion, a former political science professor, includes in his credentials a stint in as a guest scholar at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. Both are rational men, with not an anti-American bone in their bodies.

Americans should be wary of Bob Rae, former NDP premier of Ontario who has now decided socialism doesn’t work and has apparently found free enterprise does.

Perhaps Rae does realize 83% of our exports flow to the U.S. and 1,001 issues could come up that could be in jeopardy rather than quickly solved by keeping Americans onside, but it’s hard to tell what Rae’s true stance might be.

Former Ontario provincial education minister Gerard Kennedy is unlikely to make it, but let’s not forget in his younger days he was a radical left-wing activist. A Kennedy leadership would be catastrophic to Canadian-American relations.

We can’t afford another Chretien/Martin era of America-baiting. It’s been proven to be utterly self-destructive.

 

Paul Jackson
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