Even if you love Bush's war on Iraq you need to know what others are saying.

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Speech on Canada - U.S. Relations
at The University of Victoria
April 4, 2003

Mel Hurtig
(780) 488-3832
mhurtig@telusplanet.net
 

Mr. Cellucci,  [US Ambassador to Canada]

You ask why Canada doesn't support the United States. Why have we let you down?

Is not an equally justified question, Mr. Cellucci, why have you not supported Canada? Why have you  turned your back on us? Why have you and your country proceeded in a reckless, arrogant manner which is  100% guaranteed to substantially increase terrorism and volatility around the world, is guaranteed to  destabilize Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan (with its nuclear weapons), Turkey, Indonesia, the  Philippines, Sudan, Yemen and many other countries?

Why have you launched into this foolhardy aggression that will cause hundreds of millions of Muslims to  hate and despise Westerners for generations into the future, with potentially cataclysmic results, for  ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren?

Mr. Cellucci, you ask why Canada doesn't support the United States in your aggressive, pre-emptive  militarism.

Let me give you just a few of the reasons:

First, we are opposed to war when we believe there are viable alternatives to war.

Scores of countries, Canada included, made it clear that they believed that more weapons inspectors and  more time would determine whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

We also believed that unless they were invaded, there was no probability of Iraq launching attacks beyond  its border.

We also believed that there was no evidence of cooperation between two natural opponents, Saddam  Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

We also believed that your war would kill and injure thousands of innocents.

We also believed that we should not break with clear, long-established international law; international law which is the fundamental basis of the United Nations.

Unlike your country, Mr. Cellucci, Canada has always been a strong supporter of the United Nations.

Perhaps, Mr. Cellucci, you should look in a mirror and ask why it is that BOTH your NAFTA partners  fought off heavy pressure from the White House and your State Department to join your ill-advised war.  After all, didn't Mr. Bush once say that the U.S. has no greater friend than Mexico?

Where is it mandated that if your neighbour chooses to go off into a potentially catastrophic war, you must  go too, even if we strongly disagree with your reasons and your logic, and if we regard your evidence for  the necessity of war with the greatest skepticism?

Mr. Cellucci, the war your country has launched is the very type of war that was so harshly condemned by  the Nuremberg War Crime Trials.

How is your attack on Baghdad different from the terrible day of infamy that Franklin Delano Roosevelt  spoke of after Japans attack on Pearl Harbour, December 7th, 1941? Today, just as we were in the case of  the Vietnam War, Canada is on the right side of history in relation to the war on Iraq.

We’re also on the side of morality, justice and well-established, principled international law.

And we’re also on the side of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, not to mention the young British and  American men and women who have been and will be killed both during the war, and for many years  AFTER the war is over in the Balkans-like quagmire of ethnic war lords, bigotry and hatred and in the  inevitable civil war that will result from the debris of Americas so-called and almost humorous–if it wasn't so  deadly–coalition of the willing.

You know, bullied and bribed countries like Cameroon, the Marshall Island, Angola, Guinea, Ethiopia, El  Salvador and Eritrea.

Several times in your inappropriate, offensive, threatening speech, Mr. Cellucci, you referred to Canadians as part of our family.

Mr. Cellucci, this might come as a surprise for you, but we are NOT part of your family and we have no  desire to be part of your family. In a public opinion poll for Macleans magazine, Canadians were asked how  they would describe our relations with the U.S. Only one in three said like family or best friends. 65% said  cordial but distant or openly hostile. In another Macleans poll, 72% of Canadians said that they did not want  to move closer to the U.S. And, more recently, only 8% said they thought Canada should become more like  the U.S.  Five times as many opted for less like the U.S.

Mr. Cellucci, some of these poll results were from polls taken soon after September 11th, when world-wide  sympathy and support for your country was impressive and enthusiastic.  Shouldn't you be asking yourself  how you and Mr. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have managed to squander so much popular  support from around the world in so short a time?

Mr. Cellucci, you say that the United States would be there for Canada and that Americans are  disappointed and upset that Canada is not supporting the U.S. now.

Please tell me, exactly, where was the United Sates when from 1914 to 1917 tens of thousands of young  Canadian men were left dead in the muddy trenches of Europe fighting off the Germans?

And, where was the United Sates from 1939 to late 1941, when Germany was overrunning Europe and the  Luftwaffe and the rockets were bombing England and killing tens of thousands of men, women and children  during the blitz and the Germans were beginning their roundup of millions of Jews who would be slaughtered  in the Nazi concentration camps?

How is it that even though you knew exactly what was happening, your country sat back in the face of so  much evil and agony, and waited until the Japanese attacked you before you finally, reluctantly, got involved  in the war against the brutal Nazis?

Mr. Cellucci, I’d like to hear your answer to that question.

And, by the way, thank you for being there for us when your country invaded us three times, the only  country to ever invade Canada.

And, please don't ever lecture us again about going to war. We left 45,000 Canadians in European graves  during our defence of liberty and democracy in the Second World War, while for much of the war your  isolationists refused to get involved.

Mr. Cellucci, lets be clear. Canadians do not approve of your bad manners, your grossly undiplomatic  behaviour, your lecturing us about defence spending, your warnings about the possible linkage of our  opposition to war with your trade policies.

Best be careful. If you want to advocate linkage, Canadians may want to consider imposing a 27% tariff on  our exports of oil, natural gas and electricity to the United States as a reasonable quid pro quo for your  egregious softwood lumber duties. After all, you do believe in reciprocity, don't you?

And, don't for a moment consider it a meaningful warning for you to suggest that Mr. Bush might not want  to come to Canada for his official state visit next month.

Canadians well remember the disastrous results for Canadian sovereignty when Ronald Reagan visited the  obsequious Brian Mulroney in Quebec City in 1985.

Moreover, we all know why Mr. Bush was or is planning to come to Ottawa. There was only one reason.  Not to patch up relations between the two countries, but rather to get your hands on even more of Canada’s  oil, natural gas and electricity. Best mind your manners, Mr. Cellucci, or the Canadian government might just  possibly finally wake up to the fact that Mexico, your other NAFTA partner, firmly refused to sign the  ridiculous NAFTA energy and resource-sharing agreement that some of our inept trade negotiators  somehow managed to agree to.

Perhaps the Canadian government will realize that we haven't replaced our declining natural gas reserves  since 1982. That our major Western sedimentary basin pools are depleting at the rate of 20% a year, that  new replacement reserves are proving to be much more expensive to locate, are smaller in size and deplete more rapidly.

Mind your manners Mr. Cellucci, or perhaps Canada will have to walk away from the foolish NAFTA  clauses that mean we must continue selling you 62% of our oil and natural gas, even if we Canadians begin  to run short ourselves.

Mr. Cellucci, you were greatly upset that Cabinet Minister Herb Dhaliwal made totally inappropriate  remarks by suggesting that George W. Bush was a failed statesman.

My, my, my. How terribly offensive can one be? How does failed statesman compare with Richard Nixon  calling Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau an asshole, or John F. Kennedy calling Prime Minister John Diefenbaker a son of a bitch and a prick, or Lyndon Johnson grabbing Lester Pearson by the collar and  shouting you pissed on my rug when Pearson suggested a pause in the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and  the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the bombing.

It seems to me that being called a failed statesman is not only a mild criticism by comparison, but it is an  accurate criticism.

George W. Bush is no moron. Few Canadians regard Americans as bastards. Most Canadians like most  Americans.

But, not since the days of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War has there been so much anti-Americanism in  the world. The U.S. has antagonized not only the Muslim world, but long-time allies as well. It has walked  away from, worked against or failed to support a long list of international agreements supported by Canada  and the overwhelming majority of countries–the Land Mines Treaty, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the  agreement to provide lower cost drugs to developing countries battling AIDS and other diseases, the  International Criminal Court, the U.N. protocol on Developing, Producing or Stockpiling Biological or Toxic  Weapons, the Small Arms Treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (supported by  191 countries, but not the U.S. or Somalia!).

While it is true that in recent months anti-Americanism in Canada has been increasing, and has increased  since the invasion of Iraq and your ill-considered remarks, most of the antipathy is directed not at average  Americans, but at George W. Bush and the arrogant, aggressive men and women who surround him as key  advisors, the repugnant Donald Rumsfeld, the selfishly-motivated Dick Cheney, Karl Rowe and Paul  Wolfowitz and other American hyper hawks who apparently place little value on human lives and have little  appreciation for the value of patient international diplomacy.

Mr. Cellucci, Canadians are not impressed by your campaign of intimidation, by threats re the border, by  proposed American boycotts of Canadian products.

Perhaps you would much better serve your country if you reminded your fellow citizens that millions of  American jobs depend on your exports to Canada, that as every year goes by you will become increasingly  dependent on imports of Canadian resources, that for 46 years in a row Canada has been the leading export  market in the world for U.S. goods and services, that your exports to Canada every year are greater than  your exports to all fifteen European Union countries combined, greater than your exports to Japan, the  United Kingdom and Germany put together and more than to all of Latin America and the Caribbean  countries combined.

Perhaps, instead of threatening us with economic retaliation for not taking part in your military aggression,  you would be wise to remind Americans that by punishing Canadians you would be harming your best  customer (not a very bright thing to do), you would be harming the profitable American companies that  dominate so much of the Canadian economy, and you would be encouraging more anti-Americanism in  Canada.

Mr. Cellucci, both you and your predecessor Gordon Giffin and Senator Hillary Clinton have expressed  concerns about the Canada-U.S. border and, in Giffin’s words, skepticism about Canada's reliability on  security.

Forget for a moment that Canada has already committed close to an extra $10 billion to security and  defence spending since September 11th. Forget too, that Canada has had in place overseas  document-screening for air travelers well before the United States even thought of such precautions. Forget  that the September 11th terrorists were mostly from your Saudi Arabian friends, and were in the U.S. on  visas. Forget that at the time of September 11th there were some six million illegals living in your country,  but do consider the following.

There is not one single airport in Canada, not one single flight school that would have been dumb enough to  agree to train people from the Middle East how to fly large passenger jet aircraft–people who had no  interest in learning how to take off or how to land the aircraft–without quickly reporting the highly  suspicious students to the RCMP and/or to CSIS.

Once again, Mr. Cellucci, look in the mirror instead of warning Canadians re security. Increasingly, your CIA, your FBI, your National Security Agency, all with huge multi-billion dollar budgets, make the term  American intelligence seem like a laughable oxymoron.

And, by the way, have you thought about apologizing to Canadians for all the Canadians killed on September  11th and for your own irresponsible action in appointing your personal driver as head of security at Logan  Airport in Boston, where two of the ill-fated aircraft and their hijackers took off from? Don’t you think that  you owe Canadians an apology?

Shouldn't it be Canadians who need to be concerned about the border, given your poor security record and  all the violent nutcases your gun-ridden society breeds, your murderous snipers, your anthrax disseminators,  your Timothy McVeighs, your Columbines, your paranoid militia, your aggressive history and behaviour?

Please don't threaten us about the border, because if you do, we might just decide to look more closely at  your own records.

And, don't for a single moment believe that Tom d'Aquino, Allan Gotlieb and Brian Mulroney represent  majority opinion in Canada. They never have, and they certainly don't now.

The best thing you and your fellow Americans can do in the best interests of future Canadian-American  relations, is to listen carefully to every word Mr. d'Aquino, Mr. Gotlieb and Mr. Mulroney say, and then  remember that Brian Mulroney left office as the least-popular prime minister in Canadian history, and that  most Canadians do not subscribe to the craven policies of Gotlieb and d'Aquino.

Canada, you and Mr. Bush may find it hard to believe, is not yet an American colony, and we have no  intention of becoming one. You would best serve your country by making that clear in Washington.