Blackout Highlights U.S., Canada Feuds

  Blackout Highlights U.S., Canada Feuds

Posted by CN Staff on August 15, 2003 at 16:31:00 PT
By Terence Hunt 
Source: Canadian Press  

Washington -- The last thing the United States and Canada need is another feud. The fast round of finger-pointing over what caused the great power blackout was the latest flare-up in a string of quarrels, snubs, insults and disagreements over everything from the U.S.-led war in Iraq to Canada's moves to legalize same-sex marriage and small amounts of marijuana.
"Have you ever seen the United States take the blame for anything?" fumed Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman after Canadian and U.S. officials blamed problems in each other's country for the massive loss of electrical power. Investigators were still trying to pinpoint the cause Friday. Like bickering next-door neighbours, the United States and Canada frequently seem at odds lately. While it's not uncommon for countries to argue over trade and politics, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Jean Chretien seem to have prickly personal relations. "It sure isn't working," Charles Jones, University of Wisconsin professor emeritus, said of the relationship. Canadians are tired of the United States setting the agenda and expecting Canada to follow, Jones said. "We have taken them for granted and they seem to be mad and they're not going to take it anymore," he said. Some of the discord may simply be ideological differences between the conservative president and the liberal prime minister - although Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair seem to have overcome that problem. Bush has never brought Chretien to his Texas ranch or the presidential retreat at Camp David, Md. He reserves those coveted invitations for leaders he considers friends or allies in tough fights, like Blair, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and a select list of others. Bush scrapped an announced visit to Canada in May, and it's doubtful he'll reschedule before Chretien leaves office in February. Some experts think U.S.-Canadian relations will warm when Chretien goes. "Is Bush going to go to a hockey game in Quebec? I don't think so," said Canadian scholar Suzanne Buckley at Franklin Pierce College in New Hampshire. But she said the rocky state of the relationship can be overdramatized. "I wouldn't put them at the critical stage," she said. "There is a certain dislike of American policy, dismissing Canada, taking Canada for granted." Still, the two countries manage to conduct trade worth $1.4 billion a day." In Ottawa, suggestions of bad blood between the two have been played down. Last month, after a report that Chretien had been struggling to get phone time with Bush on the mad cow issue, a spokesman for the prime minister said there was no sign of discord between Bush and Chretien. Spokesman Steven Hogue called the personal relationship between the two "very good." Relations between the two leaders got off to a bad start when Bush chose Mexico instead of Canada as the first country he'd visit. Then, more significantly, after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Bush failed to thank Canada as he saluted other allies for their assistance. Canadians were angry because Canada accepted hundreds of planes diverted from the United States when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Problems continued when Chretien's communications director was quoted calling Bush a moron and Chretien failed to condemn her or accept her first resignation offer, although she did resign eventually. The biggest blowup came when Chretien refused to join the United States in the war on Iraq because it lacked United Nations authorization. After that, Bush cancelled his Ottawa visit and a deep chill fell over the relationship. Another flap arose when a U.S. bombing accident in Afghanistan killed four of Canada's soldiers and injured eight more in 2002. Bush was branded indifferent by grieving Canadians because he failed to publicly mention the loss during a series of public appearances that day. Bush later went before news cameras and apologized for the loss. Tensions also have been exacerbated by trade issues, ranging from U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber imports from Canada to U.S. restrictions on Canadian meat products because of a lone case of mad cow disease. "This is a relationship that takes a lot of care and attention," said Charles Doran, director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advance International Studies. New security measures imposed after the terror attacks have created new problems. "We're trying to do a lot of things together under pressure," Doran said. "There are a whole series of little pinpricks where governments tend to blame the other partner." Source: Canadian Press Author: Terence Hunt, Canadian Press Published: August 15, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Canadian PressCannabisNews Articles -- Canadian

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help

Comment #5 posted by escapegoat on August 17, 2003 at 10:47:40 PT
Wow, a rare, lucid moment for Mel Lastman!
"Have you ever seen the United States take the blame for anything?" can be applied to the drug war, Iraq, etc. etc.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by afterburner on August 16, 2003 at 10:47:35 PT:
Toronto Blackout News & Prince George Smoke Out 
Scientists' hydro warnings ignored (Aug. 15) Your blackout stories.
As the city faded into darkness, the barbeques came out, neighbours found time to chat and for many there was also a sense relief as they were forced to do nothing at all except sit in the dark and watch the stars. Click to read a sample of your comment.
[Full Story] won't start until Monday.
Aug. 16, 2003. 09:37 AM.
The Canadian National Exhibition was planning a birthday party, but somebody blew out the candles. Power outages have forced the CNE to postpone its opening day for the first time since World War II, delaying celebrations of its 125th anniversary at least until Monday. Gavin Taylor reports.  [Full Story] prince puffs in Prince George. 
Cannabis Culture publisher Marc Emery smoked out the BC town of Prince George on August 14, speaking before a crowd of about 100 before lighting up a six inch "BC Bomber" and passing it around the crowd. According to Emery, "the police were nowhere to be seen." F U L L S T O R Y
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by John Tyler on August 16, 2003 at 07:32:46 PT
Our current administration is arrogant, prissy, and self-righteous, and this is bound to rub normal people the wrong way.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by Virgil on August 15, 2003 at 16:47:23 PT

Holy cow. Real information.
A guy coming off a desert island would be up to speed with this article. It is a bad sign that a top level politician would have to resign for calling Busch a moron. Being honest must not work up there for politicians either.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by BGreen on August 15, 2003 at 16:37:28 PT

The Look On His Face Was Priceless
It conveyed the disgust better than a book's worth of words."Have you ever seen the United States take the blame for anything?" fumed Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman after Canadian and U.S. officials blamed problems in each other's country for the massive loss of electrical power.The sound you just heard was the hammer hitting the nail squarely on the head. :-)The Rev. Bud Green
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment