Bush visit to Canada in doubt
Whoa, whoa, whoa! The who?! The ambassador to Canada?!
OTTAWA - The White House is considering cancelling a planned state visit to Ottawa by George W. Bush in May because of the war in Iraq and increasingly strained relations between the U.S. administration and the Chrétien government. News that Mr. Bush's scheduled May 5 visit is in jeopardy came one day after Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said Americans are ...
The role of an ambassador, as I have always understand it, is to go Way The Hell Over There and talk to Some Foreigners in an Incomprehensible Moonman Language Like Tagalog or Swahili or Irish. So news that there's a Canadian ambassador comes as something of a shock to me. I've always envisioned the US and Canada as having kind of a Jack Tripper / Larry Dallas relationship, where, you know, they were always just showing up at each other's place unannounced or heading over the the Regal Beagle to knock back a few beers and hash out the Yukon salmon agreement.
Man, ambassador to Canada -- whatta sweet job that's gotta be. Get an apartment in Northern Vermont, drive your 1996 Dodge Neon up to Ottawa every week or so, hang out with The Barenaked Ladies ... I can just see the job announcements: "Seeking energetic go-getter who enjoys good beer, hockey, and a fantastic exchange rate." Yo Chrétien: if you get fed up with this Cellucci guy, drop me a line -- I'm willing to relocate.
(Woo! I didn't talk about politics for nearly a day!)
Posted on March 27, 2003 to Politics
Under qualifications, you forgot:
Able to 'do' the metric system without moving your lips.
Able to speak French without giggling.
Able to consume mass quantities of poutine without, ah, losing it.
So, funny you should mention this... Paul Cellucci was our Governor (MA) until Bush won, at which point he was given this job. He left his original job here half way through his term to take this position. Basically, Cellucci was a huge Bush supporter and made a lot of money for his campaign. Ambassador to Canada was his reward.
I just got back from Quebec (technically, and annoyingly for them, still a part of Canada) yesterday. Two things:
1) this "does the US still like us" issues is HUGE news in .ca, and the wall-to-wall coverage has pushed the massive softwood lumber story off the air, at least temporarily.
2) whatever they're speakin' up there, it ain't French.
And a word of advice: lighten up on the forced bilingualism. A sofa may be a chesterfield, but a croissant is a croissant, NOT a crescent. Amusing, yes, helpful, no.
Oh they have an abassador alright. He works in what the Ottawa-crowd call "The Fortress" that's pretty close to parliament.. and, with all due respect, is scary as hell.
Side note: I kind of like our embassy in Washington. It even has sculptres of animals in a canoe!
Mr. Cellucci has been opening his mouth a lot lately. First he tells us that we aren't spending enough on our military. Then he keeps expressing how dissapointed he is that we aren't supporting the war with Iraq. Then he praises the alcoholic high-school educated Albertian-cowboy Premier for being embarrased that we aren't going to Iraq despite the fact that we have little or no capability for any operations there, that we are sending 1000 peacekeepers to Afghanistan which the US likes to occasionally bomb and the Premier of a province has little or no bearing on foreign policy.
I think I just won the award for longest sentence in a defectiveyeti post. Woo!
Not to say that relations have always been this way though. During the 1995 Quebec referendum, the US Ambassador played an important role in helping the federalist cause. Way to keep the country together guys :-)
My last point - Ottawa in January, no matter how sweet one's digs, is not a reward. Can you say -40C.
I'm not quite sure what the US ambassador is up to. We have a couple of federal politicians who have recently said some strange things about Americans (nothing new there) and one Cabinet Minister who has been pilloried and dragged through the dirt for saying, get this, that Bush's failure to get UN sanction for his invasion is a clear indication that he is "not a statesman."
The pro-invaion opposition somehow interpreted this as an anti-American comment, but given the huge number of times I've read heard actually real live Americans say the same or worse about Bush, I dunno what they are complaining about.
So the ambassador does a whirlwind tour of the western provinces and Toronto saying things like "friends should support each other when they are in trouble" to which the most effective response has been "friends don't let friends drive drunk."
And while Celucci parades around whining like Darcy Tucker (Canadians will get this, and I'm a Leaf fan!), the Vancouver Board of Trade writes him a letter saying, "You are SO right big C. We're with you. WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS and our government are idiots for not helping you invade Iraq."
And meanwhile, the US domestic lumber industry has put most of the small forest towns in British Columbia out of business with a 27% duty on our softwood, a move which has been declared illegal by such radical bodies as the WTO.
And on top of all that, we still helped you look for Osama, and you showed you gratitude by dropping bombs on our troops, killing four of them and then denying culpability. We are with you, moran. (that's IS how you spell moran isn't it? lol)
Friends don't wander into their friends houses, steal all the food, coerce them into a brawl against the local bully and then complain when they won't join them in a home invasion down the block.
So listen up Celluci (I know he reads this blog):
We think you're a tad bit, what's the word, hypocritical. Lay off the wood, stop blaming us for September 11 (what do you mean OUR borders are porous? You let them into to your country AND you all trained them. They didn't climb on those planes in Winnipeg you know) and go back to the fortress in Ottawa and remember how lucky you are not to have been posted to Mongolia, you ungrateful slob.
Back to your regulary scheduled blog comments.
You actually pronounce it crescent? I've called it a croissant since I was a kid, and I grew up in VERY english western Canada.
And it is a huge issue up here. Though I'm not sure I like to admit this :], we do tend to look for approval from you. Like an older brother, call it. Whether we like it or not.
Stefka wrote: "Can you say -40C?"
Funny you should have picked that temperature, which is the same in Fahrenheit as in Centigrade. You could as well have just said, "Can you say forty below?"
Trivia fact of the day...
I was under the assumption that Canada had become the 51'st state some time back in 1959. It was Washington, Hawaii, Alaska and then Canada right?
It's interesting to note that in seven comments about Canada two mention the softwood lumber tariff. I'd bet 6/5th of Americans have no idea what that is.
The other 1/12th realize Canada subsidises it's timber industry by selling Crown timber at below market value and uses the funds to pay for its socialized medical care. Or more to the point, the U.S. pays for Canada's socialized medical care by taking a huge hit on its own timber markets while allowing subsidized wood to flood it's markets.
At least someone is getting the medical care they need from my tax dollars...
hey, man, all i have to say about les quebecians living right above me is that they drive WAY too fast through my state. CE QUI EST THE HURRY, DUDE? there's no reason to go 150 kmph and smash into some unsuspecting vermonter. how about cellucci bring up the notion of making canadians on their way to nyc or boston take a detour through new hampshire. new hampshire sucks anyway.
Wow, thanks Duane. That's a really cogent analysis. :-|
Since the softwood lumber duty has been in place, several BC mills have closed and several mill towns have suffered major job losses. It's been a real hardship for thousands of people, and it's illegal under any number of trade agreements. I'm getting a little tired of the US administration breaking the law when it sees fit, but insisting that others tow the line when it's in their interest. Either the White House believes in international laws or it doesn't. Your pick.
But here's the kicker. The mills that have survived the tariff have actually created such an efficient response and are pumping out so much wood that MORE American mills have closed since the the tariff was put in place. And the real losers are the American homebuyers who are now paying 27% more for construction lumber. Way to sock it to us.
So what did the US lumber lobby do, once it realized that the tariff was only shooting it's members in the foot? It pressured for a GREATER tariff. That lobby effort is ongoing, despite the little distration in Iraq. It'll probably sneak through Congress in some omnibus bill approving more money for the war.
And all the while, BC is reforming it's forest tenure to create more market based pricing, not that it matters to Duane.
Anyway, all this is to say that Mr. Celluci isn't getting much symnpathy from me when he pleads for the support from friends in difficult times. It either works both ways, or it doesn't work at all.
51st state...yuk yuk yuk.
I love America...it's an amazing place. Lots of friends and business partners there, lots of good to say about the country and the people and the culture. But the noodleheads you guys keeping appointing to run the place still make the 49th parallel my favourite line on any map.
And I'm still trying to figure out Duane's math...
That's all for now.
Hey USA, give us a break! Cellucci's been shitbagging us ever since he got here and found out his is the only U.S. Embassy in the world that doesn't need a Marine contingent to guard his life, liberty, and pursuit of porkbarrel prizes. Apparently he paid for a posting with guards, and he blames us for getting ripped off on the deal. Plus, he's still pissed off that his Christmas party fell apart when nobody wanted to play Bobbing for Green Cards and he couldn't remember the codeword to authorize retaliatory airstrikes. Face it, your guy's a lightweight, and not likely to motivate us into joining the war-of-the-month club this time round. Besides, much as we appreciate a romper-stomper through the third world, field reports from Afghanistan indicate that our troops have the wrong kind of training for operations in Islamic countries, where adverse conditions like a total ban on alchohol consumption and the suppression of full-face nudity among women have severely degraded morale. We care about our boys overseas, so in future you should pick your dictatorship a little more carefully if you want our help to bomb it into liberation. Listen, why not do Panama again? It's defenceless, it's got great beaches to storm, and it's adobe buildings are perfect to ratrace tanks through without scratching their paint. Best of all, it's close enough that our forces can all be home for the weekend, tanned and rested. Give us a call once you invent a threat to the canal, and we'll talk coalition. In the meantime, send up a new ambassador, willya? This one talks too much.
So, now that Bush has admitted to lying about the reasons for war...
Can we Canadians expect an apology? Cellucci? Scumbag?
Or are you too busy with pretentious debutante/hockey weddings?