- The Washington Times - Monday, March 17, 2003

Some Americans are reluctant to visit Canada, fearing antagonism because they cannot speak French.

They should know language no longer is a serious barrier — it is only in one province that French rules — but there is a "rising wave of anti-Americanism" in Canada due to causes more serious than language.

It is partly about anti-war sentiment, which reportedly runs deep in Canada, and partly about the perception of George W. Bush as a cowboy, says Lian MacDonald, former head of public affairs at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

"But it's largely about America's wealth and power. And in that sense, anti-Americanism is as pernicious as anti-Semitism, rooted in envy rather than grievance," MacDonald writes in MacLean's, Canada's weekly news magazine.

The developing new anti-Americanism in Canada is similar to that which has developed in Europe but there are some special factors. Canada has been "miffed" about the North American Free Trade Agreement, which it says resulted in the bitter, and still ongoing, dispute over Canadian soft-wood exports and other products. Recently the Canadians have been grumbling because after they had given a huge fleet of U.S. air carriers landing permission on Sept. 11, 2001, Canada was ignored completely when "thank yous" were passed out in an address to Congress.

MacDonald is sharply critical of the Canadian anti-Americanism. He notes: "Even as we live under the protection of the American shield and live off the profits of our trade with them, we resent Americans. We see ourselves as the 'kinder, gentler' place … a nation of peacekeepers — but we don't even do as much of that anymore. The impoverished nation of Bangladesh leads the world in peacekeeping while Canada's contribution has slipped to 34th place."

This wave of Canadian anti-Americanism began in a small way when Bush ignored the protocol that presidents go to Canada on their first official trip abroad. Bush went to Mexico and then had Mexican President Vicente Fox at a formal reception and dinner at the White House before meeting Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

President John F. Kennedy considered Prime Minister John Diefenbaker an oaf and President Lyndon Johnson once grabbed Prime Minister Lester Pearson by his coat lapels and shook him violently because Canada refused to follow U.S. policy on Vietnam.

But those were personal differences.

This time the anti-Americanism seems broader and more dangerous.

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