It takes two to initiate and carry on a cold war. In North America, there is a rather unusual cold war under way, unusual because there is only one antagonist, Canada.
Or rather I should say the single antagonist is Canada’s Liberal Party government. The Liberal Party cold war began in 1968 when the ultra-left Pierre Elliot Trudeau became prime minister. Trudeau openly admired Fidel Castro. As between the U.S. and the Soviet Union he was “neutral” against the U.S. Trudeau’s foreign policy was fairly simple. Anything the United States was for, Canada was against.
The same cold war anti-American attitude was more evident during the seven years of the Liberal government headed by Jean Chretien. He truly hated the U.S., so much so that while the rest of the democratic world expressed its sympathy in various ways on September 11, 2001, Mr. Chretien failed to offer a genuine, heartfelt word of solace to the American people in their hour of grief. For some strange reason, Mr. Chretien could never understand why he was never invited by President Bush to the Texas ranch or to Camp David, as was British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The successor Liberal government headed by Paul Martin, another America hater, has just won a general election by a minority vote and may not last a year. In the meantime Mr. Martin has appointed as the Canadian ambassador to UNESCO Yvon Charbonneau, a man with a record of anti-Semitism. The Liberal Party could easily rename itself the Anti-American Party.
Such a name change, I am sure, would be welcomed enthusiastically by Carolyn Parrish, a leading member of the Liberal Party parliamentary caucus. When reporters asked Miss Parrish about a Canadian initiative at the United Nations aimed at delaying U.S. military action against Saddam Hussein, she said, “Damn Americans … I hate those bastards.” Miss Parrish’s dislike of Americans has not hurt her at the polls. She has been elected to the House of Commons four times from her district west of Toronto. And, oh yes, she no longer refers to Americans as hateful bastards. She now calls them “idiots.” Now that ought to help the beleaguered Canadian Embassy in Washington explain Prime Minister Martin and his House of Commons members’ policy toward the United States.
Some years ago, I debated at a Canadian summer retreat a leading Canadian intellectual, Gerald Caplan, whose attack on the U.S. could have run in what was once the leading Soviet journal, Pravda. For Mr. Caplan, an NDP leader, America was a bloodsucking multinational corporation. For him, America, not the former Soviet Union, was the evil empire. He warned that if the NDP ever came to power in Canada, the U.S. would invade Canada because it would not allow socialism north of the border. Mr. Caplan’s warning about a possible CIA coup if the NDP ever won an election got such wide publicity in Canadian media that the American Embassy felt it had to issue a denial the U.S. was contemplating an invasion of Canada.
Far more startling is today’s news: Al-Jazeera, the anti-Semitic, pro-terrorist Arabic-language news network, has been approved by special dispensation of a Canadian government agency for distribution in Canada, while Fox News channel and the Italian state channel RAI have been barred, according to Daniel Pipes. (Statistical note: there are, 470,000 Italian-speaking Canadians compared with 200,000 Arab-speaking Canadians.)
In Baghdad, Iraqi authorities shut down Al-Jazeera, which of course inspired the Canadian government to allow Al-Jazeera to open for business in Canada. Canadian distributors admit they have no idea what is being broadcast on Canadian airwaves.
One distributor told Mr. Pipes: “We would have to have somebody 24 hours a day, seven days a week, who spoke Arabic, who understands the Canadian broadcasting standards, and then would be able to black out that particular piece of programming,” So we can assume our friendly neighbor to the north is permitting from its own soil a pro-terrorist broadcaster to send terrorist, anti-American propaganda, such as a recent Al-Jazeera broadcast declaring “[Jews are] the descendants of apes and pigs [who] will not be deterred unless there is a true Holocaust that will exterminate all of them at once.”
The great paradox of Canada’s anti-U.S. cold war is the Unied States is Canada’s biggest trading partner, thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiated by the Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in 1989. Something like $1.2 billion dollars a day in goods and services now flows bilaterally across the 49th Parallel. According to a Standard & Poor’s study, Canada’s exports to the U.S. have risen from 71 percent in 1990 of total Canadian exports to 80 percent today. The more profitable to Canada the bilateral trade relationship, the greater the Canadian Liberal government’s hostility.
The same study, published in the Toronto National Post, showed Canada purchases more U.S. goods than the rest of the Western hemisphere combined, that U.S.-owned firms employ more than 1 million Canadians and produce about 10 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP).
Despite this symbiotic American-Canadian relationship, Canada’s official hostility shows no signs of abating. In fact, it is supported by the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) whose membership sees nothing but evil emanating from south of the 3,987-mile-long border between our two nations.
Prime Minister Martin’s antipathy toward America reminds me of George Orwell’s 1949 commentary: “To be anti-American nowadays is to shout with the mob. Of course, it is only a minor mob but it is a vocal one.” A second rule Orwell described as the anti-American operational code is “when the United States can be insulted, it must be insulted.” Carolyn Parrish and her fellow Liberals have overfilled Orwell’s ironic prescription.
Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times. His updated biography “Herman Wouk, the Novelist as Social Historian,” has just been published.