US sidelines Canada over Iraq war

Discussion in 'Canada' started by jimnyc, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. jimnyc

    jimnyc ...

    Aug 28, 2003
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    The Prime Minister's recent reception at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, underlines the fact that Australia's relationship with the US has never been closer. However, it is a different story for America's northern neighbour, Canada. Its decision not to get involved in the Iraq war has seen relations with the White House sour. Last weekend George Bush was originally scheduled to be getting ready for a state visit to Canada. It was cancelled and instead, the US President was praising Australia at his Texas ranch.

    Compere: Maxine McKew
    Reporter: Norman Hermant

    NORMAN HERMANT: Had all gone according to plan, George Bush would have just wrapped up a visit to Canada's capital.

    Complete with an address to parliament and the expected praise for the friendship between Ottawa and Washington.

    But the plan changed.

    Instead of Ottawa in the spring, the US President was on his Texas ranch.

    Entertaining and speaking very highly of Australia's Prime Minister.

    GEORGE BUSH, US PRESIDENT: I value the advice of John Howard.

    I trust his judgement.

    NORMAN HERMANT: Ever since Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced Canada would not join the coalition of the willing, relations with the US have gotten a lot chillier.

    And as the war wound down, there was word that George Bush's long-planned official visit was off.

    JEAN CHRETIEN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We have agreed with the US that the visit of the President because of the war will be postponed.

    NORMAN HERMANT: The President, explained the White House, was just too busy.

    Of course, he did have time this week to squeeze in a visit to Arkansas where he talked again about a major Commonwealth country, not Canada.

    GEORGE BUSH: Because Australia is an important ally of ours.

    Australia is a strong friend of the United States of America.

    The Australians fought beside our forces in Iraq.

    They rose to their obligations as a free nation.

    NORMAN HERMANT: Canada-US trade is worth $700 billion a year.

    There's a fear the strain in relations will spill over to the economy.

    And the American ambassador says Canada is to blame.

    PAUL CELUCCI, AMERICAN AMBASSADOR TO CANADA: The Canadian Government is not fully supporting us.

    NORMAN HERMANT: Opinion polls suggest the decision to keep Canada out of the war had strong popular support.

    But the Opposition says the country will pay the price.

    JASON KENNEY, OPPOSITION MP: The fact is that Jean Chretien has managed to bring our most valuable bilateral relationship to its lowest level in decades, and the decision by the White House is indicative of that.

    NORMAN HERMANT: The damage control has begun with word that Canada may now cooperate with the US on its missile defence plan.

    But the reality is Jean Chretien, who had a famously good relationship with the previous US President, is a long way from Washington's good books.

    George Bush now has other friends and, it's said, a very long memory.

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