Monday, October 24, 2005

It's all relative

So Condoleezza Rice is finally gracing Canada with her presence this week. Martin's promised to speak with her about softwood lumbar and border security issues, but the following, from an e-mail I received from the Council of Canadians, are other issues he needs to address (and this week, preferably!):

1. "Canadians are opposed to deep integration with the U.S."

91% of Canadians believe that we should be able to set our own
environmental, health and safety standards and regulations, even if this might
reduce trade with the U.S. The Prime Minister must tell Ms. Rice that
Canada is a sovereign country and that it has the right to have "made in
Canada" economic, foreign and defence policies, and to make its own
decisions on regulatory efficiency, resource security, and border issues.

2. "Canadians continue to be opposed to Star Wars."

69% of Canadians believed that Canada should not support the Bush
administration’s missile defence system if it required dedicating military
spending to the program or allowing U.S. missile launchers in Canada.
Ms. Rice cancelled an earlier visit to Canada to express U.S. disapproval
of Canada’s decision not to participate in Star Wars. Canadians are
still opposed to Star Wars and Prime Minister Paul Martin should make that
clear to Ms. Rice.

3. "Canadians see NAFTA as a failure."

More than 50% of Canadians in a recent Globe and Mail daily poll stated
that Canada should withdraw from NAFTA. 76% of Canadians believe that
the federal government hasn’t been tough enough in its response to U.S.
non-compliance on the NAFTA panel decision on softwood lumber. 60%
oppose trade deals, like NAFTA, that give corporations the right to sue
governments if public policies impair their profits. The Prime Minister
must reject the expected message from Ms. Rice that Canada should
negotiate a settlement to the softwood lumber dispute.

4. "Canada will act multilaterally to build peace."

More than 80% of Canadians believe former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien
did the right thing to stay out of the Iraq war. United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is
illegal under the terms of the UN Charter. While Canadians want lasting
peace and stability in Iraq, we question the U.S. agenda of greater
Canadian participation in the rebuilding of Iraq. Prime Minister Paul Martin
should tell Ms. Rice that Canada will set its own course in building
global peace and act in partnership with countries that respect
international law.

5. "The Canadian Council of Chief Executives does not speak for Canada."

Canadian corporate executives make an annual lobbying trip to
Washington. They’ve even met with Condoleezza Rice while there to advance their
agenda of deep integration. Prime Minister Paul Martin must tell Ms.
Rice that the CCCE's promotion of further regulatory, economic and policy
integration with the U.S. does not have his support.

For more ideas on Canada-U.S. relations from the Council of Canadians, click here.

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