- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2004

Canadian historian Jack Granatstein has said, “Anti-Americanism has been and, to a substantial degree, remains Canada’s state religion, the very bedrock of Canadian nationalism.”

That finding is true of two of the three Canadian political parties vying in the national election. The most anti-American party is, of course, the statist Liberal Party, now in power. Second in hostility is the socialist New Democratic Party. The least hostile is the Conservative Party, which is given a good chance of ousting the corrupted Liberal Party on June 28. The Liberal government has been under investigation for allowing the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars by advertising agencies. The present Liberal Party prime minister, Paul Martin, 66, was finance minister during all the stealing but says he knew nothing about it.

Under the longtime leadership of Jean Chretien, the Liberal Party was hostile to anything and everything about the United States even though the U.S. is Canada’s most important trading partner. So hostile was Mr. Chretien to the U.S. that our September 11, 2001, tragedy was virtually ignored by the Canadian government. In fact, Mr. Chretien’s reaction to our great national tragedy was a declaration he would not be stampeded into transforming Canada into “a fortress against the world.” Even more, “Let there be no doubt; we will allow no one to force us to sacrifice our values or traditions under the pressure of urgent circumstances.” That’s telling the Yanks.

However, the Canadian people demonstrated their generosity to the thousands of airline passengers whose planes en route to the U.S. on September 11, were suddenly diverted to Canadian airports.

Instead of convening the Canadian House of Commons as had British Prime Minister Tony Blair immediately after the tragedy, Mr. Chretien became invisible. So when President Bush addressed a post- September 11 joint session of Congress, he thanked South Korea, Australia, Latin America, France, Germany and made no mention of Canada.

Then came the acclamation for Britain whose prime minister was sitting in the House balcony as Mr. Bush spoke and who got a standing ovation from the audience.

Mr. Chretien was a protege of Pierre Trudeau, the most anti-American of modern Canadian prime ministers, an enthusiastic admirer of Fidel Castro and the Soviet Union. In fact the Liberal Party credo is based on opposing the United States anywhere and anywhere. The party’s theme song vis-a-vis the U.S. could well be an adaptation of Groucho Marx in “Horsefeathers”: “Whatever the U.S. wants, I’m against it.”

Yet Mr. Chretien desperately wanted an invitation to the Bush ranch, to a Camp David weekend. When you hate America but still covet social invitations from the American president to his private sanctuaries you have an example of what is called cognitive dissonance, the psychological term for holding two contradictory ideas at the same time. That’s also a good definition for Canadian anti-Americanism.

The present Conservative Party is a merger of the onetime so-called Progressive Conservative Party and a Western Canada regional party, the Canadian Alliance. Its spokesman is Stephen Harper, 45, who if his party won a majority of seats in the House of Commons would become prime minister. The party platform, 100 percent contrary to the Liberal Party, is pure Reaganism:

(1) An $18 billion tax cut.

(2) Investing $1.2 billion more per year in “Canada’s military.” (Jay Leno joke: “The Canadian prime minister has ordered the Canadian navy not to capture any of Saddam’s henchmen if they try to flee Iraq by sea. The Pentagon is stunned by this. They had no idea Canada had a navy.”)

(3) Fixed election dates. Presently, the prime minister calls an election when conditions are in his favor.

(4) An elected, not an appointed, Senate.

(5) An end to gun registration.

(6) Eliminate the capital gains tax.

(7) Last but important to both our countries is the party platform call for stronger ties with the United States.

A Harper victory could mean an historic change for the better between the U.S. and Canada, a consummation devoutly to be wished.

Arnold Beichman, a Hoover Institution research fellow, is a columnist for The Washington Times.

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