McCain's Not So Gentle Slap
While obviously the purpose of the speech is to differentiate himself from his opponent in the Presidential election, it is also a speech directed to the Canadian Government if the US Ambassador to Canada helped arrange for the speech to be delivered in Ottawa. Is this President Bush hitting back for Harper's SPP comments?
No wonder Harper left town and won't meet the Senator!
Note that the issue identified as a problem between Canada and the United States is "thickening" without using the word. He talked about
- "impediments to trade or the equivalent of a tariff."
More importantly, by using the word "impediment," he just threatened the Prime Minister over the issue of oil, something that Harper raised with President Bush during the SPP meeting. Oil was mentioned twice in McCain's speech along with this comment that should give the Canadian Government pause. It will also say to the American public, and to the Canadians, that McCain is prepared to renegotiate NAFTA if needed:
- "When we believe action is necessary, whether military, economic or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them."
Americans, and Canadians especially, should not count out the Arizona Senator so quickly!
- U.S. shouldn't put vital ties with Canada at risk over NAFTA
BY JOHN McCAIN • June 20, 2008
As one end of the bridge that connects America to our neighbors to the north, Detroit knows well that a close U.S.-Canada relationship is vitally and increasingly important.
In Michigan alone, 221,000 jobs are supported by trade with Canada. NAFTA countries comprise by far the largest export market for Michigan manufacturers. Last year, Michigan businesses sent more than $23 billion of exports to Canada, more than 20 times the total of their exports to China.
At a time when Michigan's auto industry faces serious pressure, $11 billion of vehicles and parts were exported to Canada. The task for the next president will be to build on these ties in order to make North America more secure, more prosperous, and more open to opportunity for all our citizens.
The North American Free Trade Agreement has provided our economy with a framework in which we can become more competitive. We will never achieve our goals by simply demanding the unilateral reopening of the treaty or threatening to unilaterally abrogate it. Such a move would be the height of economic and foreign policy irresponsibility.
What is needed is the cooperative work of partners to reduce the burden of complying with NAFTA's rules of origin and to reduce border delays so they do not become impediments to trade or the equivalent of a tariff. Perhaps most of all, those who would lead our countries must work to ensure that the benefits of NAFTA are understood throughout our countries, and not jeopardized through "cowboy diplomacy."
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama does not understand this. He has called NAFTA "devastating" and "a big mistake," characterizations that are out of touch with the reality of NAFTA in Michigan. What truly would be devastating is to jeopardize the trade expansion of NAFTA through a misguided, isolationist impulse that would inevitably and understandably alienate a key partner like Canada.
Our economic ties are not all that so closely binds Canada and the United States. Whether it comes to the protection of our national security, the future of our environment, or the flows of our energy, we rely on the cooperative relations Canada and the United States have forged. We import more of our oil and more of our natural gas from Canada than any other country.
As governments, we have made real progress in keeping our borders closed to terrorists and open to trade. In extending our security partnership with Canada, we can ensure continued flows of people and commerce while maintaining security on which these very flows depend.
In countless areas of international security, from Afghanistan to Haiti to proliferation, our common interests require common action. Sen. Obama's take-it-or-leave-it approach to dealing with America's friends would not rebuild the alliance relationships we need.
On my watch, America will listen to the views of our democratic allies. When we believe action is necessary, whether military, economic or diplomatic, we will try to persuade our friends that we are right. But we, in return, must be willing to be persuaded by them.
Canada and the United States have a shared destiny. We are both continental powers, nations shaped by our diverse heritage and our frontier experience. We are also both Arctic nations. And because of this common geography, we must be acutely aware of the perils posed by global warming and take immediate steps to reverse its effects.
I was among the first in Congress to introduce legislation to curb greenhouse gasses. We must also work to ensure reliable energy supplies and increase sources of renewable energy. Canada is America's largest energy supplier and not one that we need fear will pose a threat to our energy security.
As you read this, I'm scheduled to be visiting Ottawa to demonstrate how much we value our relationship and the economic and security benefits it brings -- for Michigan and all of America. Allies and partners like Canada cannot be taken for granted. If I am elected president, they will not be.