Friday, October 21, 2011


In a couple of weeks on November 5, Canada's Ambassador to the United-States, Gary Doer, will be inducted into the 'Academy of Distinguished Canadians and Americans' at a black-tie gala dinner being held in Boston. Mr. Doer's largely ceremonial induction is the focus of an event sponsored by the "Maple Leaf Foundation," a non-profit organization which is dedicated to the advancement of understanding between Canada and the United-States.

It's a good time for the Ambassador and members of the foundation to enjoy this largely symbolic Boston ceremony. Though the 2012 face-off is already well engaged, there is  general acceptance in the U.S.A. that the post holiday season marks the official kick-off of the quadrennial Presidential election campaign. Most certainly in the case of next year's run for the Presidency that means essentially ignoring to another time (perhaps, another Administration) Canada's irritants about which (no doubt) both the Ambassador and the Foundation have been focused during the Obama years.
Always close to a deal, but not quite.
In spite of this age of globalism (or perhaps because of it) one can't help but be reminded of the accuracy of the decades old axiom about sharing the bed with an elephant. Except now, it turns-out the pachyderm is suffering for the outbreak of a hell of a pneumonia: Woeful unprecedented economic conditions amidst a political environment so poisonous that it, without exaggeration, has been tearing at the very fabric of the union. Until the fog of this chaos lifts, there will not be any time nor appetite to deal with Canada's issues.
Though from Canada's perspective our irritants may be monumental and frequently essential to the national well being, when viewed from the perspective of the morass which has befallen the nation with whom we share the continent, they are no bother. Much like the size of the iconic elephant, it just depends from which end of the telescope the examination takes place.

Because he virtually has no other choice on the jobs creation front back home, when President Obama okays construction of Trans-Canada's Keystone XL crude oil pipeline from the border south to Texas in a few days, a majority of Canadians will applaud the decision, and Mr. Harper's government will snatch credit for its economic impact in western Canada. But that's likely the last  acknowledgment of anything positive coming from north of the border until well after Americans decide who may be able to lead them out of their economic and political afflictions a year from now in November 2012.

Canada and Canadians it seems are just so nice that for the United-States, we are not a problem. So at the best of times, with or without the prospects of the bitter divisiveness of a presidential electoral face-off, no matter how friendly the relations continue to be, Canadians must wage a permanent campaign to even stay on the agenda. Though it is a substantial cause of concern for much of the world, the spectre of "protectionism" in all of its manifestations will play a significant role as the U.S. presidential campaign unfolds. We may just have to bide our time and hope for the best.

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