Thursday, December 15, 2005

For a growing number of people in our country, “O, Canada” is now less about a national anthem and more about frustration, confusion, disappointment and anger. As in, “Oh, Canada! Why are you once again stabbing the United States in the back?” A recent public spat between liberal Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, and David Wilkins, U.S. ambassador to Canada, is shining a much-needed light on a problem that runs much deeper than mere name calling. It is a problem that if not properly addressed and fixed, could have severe national-security consequences for the United States.

In what some in Canada are saying is a desperate bid to win reelection, Mr. Martin has decided that slandering the United States will win him the most votes among the millions in his country who have a strong dislike of our nation, George W. Bush, the war in Iraq, sensible immigration policies and the rule of law. Having grown weary of the prime minister’s insults, as well as the vile and juvenile insults thrown at our country by other liberal Canadian politicians, Mr. Wilkins decided enough was enough.

After the prime minister said the United States lacked a “global conscience” for not ratifying the seriously flawed Kyoto accord, Mr. Wilkins decided it was time to speak up. If that had been the first insult, he more than likely would have let it go. Sadly, it was far from the first or the worst.

A top aide to Mr. Martin’s predecessor, Jean Chretien, once called President Bush a “moron.” Another high-ranking Canadian official publicly called Mr. Bush a profane name. And yet another liberal member of parliament stomped on a George W. Bush doll on national television. This would be the same Canadian liberal who called all Americans a profane name.

Insulting and verbally attacking the United States has become such a national sport among liberal Canadian politicians that one conservative member of parliament said they displayed “a consistent attitude of anti-Americanism.” As Mr. Wilkins stressed, “It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your number one trading partner. But it is a slippery slope, and all of us should hope that it doesn’t have a long-term impact on the relationship.”

The ambassador’s point raises a larger question: Can Canada really be considered our “friend” anymore? As someone whose family comes from Canada, a country I grew up loving as a child, it pains me to ask the question. That said, what other question can be asked when the Canadian government not only willingly allows Islamic terrorists into their country, but does nothing to stop them from entering our nation.

Two cases in point out of many. The first being in December 1999, when al Qaeda operative Ahmed Ressam entered the United States from Canada. By luck, he was arrested with a trunk full of explosives. His mission: to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

Next were two Pakistani men on the “no fly” list, with possible terrorist connections, who were arrested in Seattle. They were caught buying one-way tickets to New York City with cash. How did these potential terrorists get into our country? From Canada. One of the men even had a driver’s license from British Columbia.

For years, our intelligence services have warned and even begged Canadian officials to do something about its dangerous open immigration policies. Immigration policies that continually allow highly suspicious people into Canada with a free shot at the United States.

U.S. politicians from both sides of the aisle have joined with U.S. law enforcement personnel to ask Canada to address this growing security threat. In response, Canadian politicians from the left have basically said, “Drop dead.” We may yet. And how tragic it would be if the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans came at the hands of a terrorist that Canada willingly allowed into their country.

Comedian Jon Stewart once joked that “A Canadian woman kept asking me, ‘What do Americans really think about Canada? What do Americans really think about Canada?’ ” And Mr. Stewart answered, “We don’t.” Well, the day has come when we need to not only start thinking about them, but holding some Canadians accountable for their irresponsible actions.

Our once great friend is turning against us. Common sense and our national security dictate that we can no longer afford to ignore that fact.

Douglas MacKinnon served as press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official and an author.

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