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Canada and Iraq 2
25/03/2003
The pressure on Canada to capitulate to American demands is continuing. This morning, the American ambassador, Paul Cellucci gave a speech to his supporters (the Canadian business elite) in which he expressed his nation's disappointment in Canada's decision to not participate in Bush's war. According to CTV.ca, he supposedly said something like this:
"So many people in the United States are so disappointed that Canada is not fully supporting us now," said Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada. "And that is why so many people in the United States are so disappointed that Canada is not fully supporting us now."
I'm not sure if that quote is accurate, but Cellucci was clear in his message:
He said if the roles were reversed, the U.S. would back Canada without question. "There is no security threat to Canada that the United States would not be ready, willing and able to help with," Cellucci told a breakfast meeting at the Toronto Economic Club.
He went on to level a veiled threat against Canada, which I'm sure was well-received by our business leaders, who tend to see every bit of Canadian sovereignty as a threat to their profitability. From the Globe and Mail:
Although the relationship between the two countries will endure in the long-term, he said, "there may be short-term strains here." When asked what those strains will be, Mr. Cellucci replied: "You'll have to wait and see." But he cryptically added that it is his government's position that "security trumps trade," implying possible ramifications for cross-border traffic.
Thankfully, our Prime Minister continued to maintain his strong stance. He's not buckling to the pressure suggesting Canada should follow every American lead, no matter how foolish or wrong it is:
Hours after the speech, Prime Minister Jean Chretien said: "We too are disappointed." Speaking after the weekly cabinet meeting in Ottawa Tuesday, Chretien said it was unfortunate that Canada and the U.S. couldn't come to an agreement over the war, but that Ottawa had been clear all along that it would not participate without approval from the United Nations. "We have the right as an individual to make our own decision," Chretien told reporters, adding that the refusal to back the U.S. would not affect relations between the neighbours. "We can disagree and still be good friends," Chretien said.
Besides, as Warren Kinsella says, maybe it can't get much worse. (On his site, scroll down to March 24):
For Canada, who knows? Perhaps Stephen Harper is right - perhaps the Americans will make us pay. But after America abandoned free trade, and softwood lumber duties destroyed the livelihoods of 30,000 families in just a single province; after September 11, when George Bush had nothing to say about how we gave shelter and protection to literally thousands of Americans; after that incident in the skies above Afghanistan, when two U.S. pilots on speed killed four of our soldiers, and the response of Bush's Republican Party was to hold fundraisers for the pilots; after all that...well, perhaps things really couldn't get much worse, could they? No, they couldn't.
The House of Commons today voted down an Alliance motion to join the war. Many of the Canadians who oppose this war do so because they don't quite see it the way Paul Cellucci does. Indeed, there is probably no security threat that Canadians wouldn't help Americans deal with, either -- as we are with al Qaeda. However, I think most Canadians don't believe that Iraq poses a threat to the United States, nor that an unsanctioned invasion would be the appropriate way to proceed.
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