The week's cover story in our national news magazine, "Maclean's" aims at the heart of the matter in a thought provoking review of recent concerns and political developments which should occasion reflection on both sides of our shared international border: "The U.S. and Canada: We used to be friends."
|The Peace Arch:Children of a common mother|
Former Presidential candidate and U.S. Senator John McCain told a Canadian television audience last Sunday that he believes it's "legitimate" for Canada to feel snubbed by (recent) moves from south of the border. McCain was commenting specifically about the Obama Administration's decision to postpone approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline beyond next year's Presidential election. The Senator says: "there's a strong suspicion on my part and many others that this was a political decision rather than one based on facts." - Though his are hardly comforting words from a political "has-been" accused of similar political expediencies during his own failed 2008 Presidential bid; still there is a strong element of truth in his claim: "When we do things that seem to take our Canadian friends for granted and take your allegiance and friendship for granted, there's an understandable reaction in Canada."
On the pipeline, to a limited degree, there may be agreement that an extremely well organized environmental lobby of movie stars and personalities, perhaps financed (in part at least) by wealthy and powerful corporate land owners in Nebraska, backed Obama into a corner as he struggles to re-rail his political career. - There are several other irritants between us which speak of an America indifferent of a best friend, closest neighbour, powerful ally, and the biggest trading and economic relationship on the planet. - The "Buy American" provisions of the jobs bill before Congress; A $5.50 head tax (starting January first) on Canadians flying or sailing into the United-States; the post 9/11 "thickening" of the (once proudly) longest undefended border in the world, including not very neighbourly Predator Drones overflying the Canadian border.
Our neighbours either don't know, or collectively choose to ignore, that Canada (not the Saudis, nor Libya, or Iraq) is the largest supplier of oil to the United-States; that more North-American automobiles are assembled in Ontario than anywhere else in the world; that more trade flows in each direction over ONE SINGLE BRIDGE - The "Ambassador Bridge" between Detroit and Windsor - than between all of the United-States and Japan!
This weekend at border crossings into small communities along the 5000 miles from Calais, Maine to Point Roberts, Washington; Canadians will wait in line for hours at security/inspection check-points, fight through American shopping mall crowds, hopefully to score "black Friday" bargains - Dozens of cash strapped U.S. border towns and cities are banking on the strong Canadian dollar for their economic survival...and we'll oblige by being friendly, neighbourly and helpful.
United States "MarketWatch" contributor Bill Mann concludes: "I don't know if Canadians have long memories, but I know they've been long on patience with the U.S. And for that if nothing else Americans should be thankful this holiday. Let's just hope Canada stays as understanding as it always has about Americans' mistreatment of its good neighbors(sic)." - I'm Canadian - I'll give him the last word. - Happy Thanksgiving!