Friday, December 23, 2005

Canada to Bush: "Take off, you hoser!"

In the upcoming parliamentary elections in Canada, it appears to pay to be the target of Washington's slings and arrows. In fact, Prime Minister Paul Martin is gaining newfound support with his reluctance to back down in the face of mounting criticism from the Bush White House.

To that I say, "Way to go, you hosers!"

Clearly, most Canadians seem to have a love-hate relationship with the United States. They tend to love Americans (despite what Winnipeg natives The Guess Who sang in their long ago rock anthem, "American Woman") but hate the American government, specifically the Bush administration.

Hmmmm. That seems to be a familiar refrain in many parts of the world these days, doesn't it?

Anyway, as a first-generation American of Canadian-born parents, I have to give the Canadians credit for standing up to their big brother to the south. As our closest ally and largest trading partner, Canada often is dealt with by Washington as the little kid who should be seen and not heard. When Canada wants to be heard about something, Washington summarily smacks it down and tells it to shut up...or else.

More recently, U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, has come under fire north of the border for essentially telling the Canadians to stop bashing Washington and the Bush White House. But this time, the Canadians are NOT taking it sitting down. In fact, Prime Minister Martin is using his consituents' ire to boost his once-sagging popularity. And anyone in the race who ties himself or herself to President Bush is in big trouble with the electorate, according to USAToday:

The flap is likely to mean a boost at the polls for Martin's Liberal Party, says Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs, a polling firm in Toronto. After the holidays, Bricker says, look for aggressive Liberal campaign ads tying Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper to President Bush. Some voters will be drawn to Martin's Liberals "to stop what they see as a mini-George Bush," Bricker says.

The controversy underscores Canadians' ambivalence toward their country's closest ally and largest trading partner. Ottawa and Washington have worked together to integrate their economies and, since 9/11, to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and combat the threat of terrorism at home. However, Canada did not support the U.S.-led war in Iraq. The two governments have sparred repeatedly over border security, a planned U.S. missile shield and U.S. imports of Canadian lumber.

In a November poll, 73% of Canadians expressed an unfavorable view of Bush, according to results by Innovative Research. In the same poll, though, 68% said they had a favorable view of Americans.

The results show "that the rising tide of anti-Americanism in this country is driven not out of a dislike for the American people but as a visceral dislike of Mr. Bush and the war in Iraq," Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the Dominion Institute, a group that promotes Canadian history, told the National Post newspaper.

Yes, that "visceral dislike" of President Bush seems to carry a lot of weight these days, both in Canada and elsewhere. Perhaps the widespread disdain for this U.S. President will find its way to the land of the free and the home of the brave before long. To this day, far too many Americans seem willing to see their government virtually rape and pillage them into automaton-like submission.

It's high time that Americans take the lead of their hoser brethren to the Great White North and tell the Bush administration to "take off".

Talk about some real hosers, eh?!


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