Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bush was on his game today in Canada

He went to a troubled, bitter neighbor (& friend) and he stood his ground while affirming his appreciation of Canada. I liked his cocksure response to the following question:

Q: My question is for President Bush. And then, Prime Minister, if you would respond en Francais, s'il vous plait? In the days after September 11th, thousands of Canadians went to Parliament Hill to demonstrate solidarity with the U.S. -- and, in fact, in cities across the country. Yet, public opinion polls and other evidence suggest that now, today, our peoples are, in fact, diverging; that, in fact, our peoples are drifting apart. Why do you think that is? And do you have any responsibility for it?

BUSH: You know, I haven't seen the polls you look at, and we just had a poll in our country where people decided that the foreign policy of the Bush administration ought to be -- stay in place for four more years. And it's a foreign policy that works with our neighbors. Trade between our countries has never been stronger. But it's a foreign policy that also understands that we've got an obligation to defend our security. I made some decisions obviously, that some in Canada didn't agree with, like, for example, when we removed Saddam Hussein and enforcing the demands of the United Nations Security Council.

And then after recounting a couple of points of cooperation, he adds:

No, look, I fully understand there are some in my country -- probably in your country and around the world -- that do not believe that Iraq has the capacity of self-government, that they're willing to sign those people up for tyranny. That's not what I think. And that's not what a lot of Americans think. And they believe that democracy is possible in Iraq. That's a legitimate point to debate. But I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right, and will continue to do what I think is right. I'll consult with our friends and neighbors, but if I think it's right to remove Saddam Hussein for the security of the United States, that's the course of action I'll take. And some people don't like that; I understand that. But that's a good thing about a democracy, people can express themselves freely.

I, frankly, felt like the reception we received on the way in from the airport was very warm and hospitable, and I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave -- with all five fingers -- for -- (laughter) -- for their hospitality. (Laughter.)

Bush had a good response to a Mad Cow/cattle trade question. It wasn't exactly what they wanted to hear, but it was forthright and optimistic:

BUSH: Look, the Prime Minister has expressed the -- a great deal of frustration that the issue hasn't been resolved yet. And I can understand his level of frustration. There are a series of regulations that are required by U.S. law, and the latest step has been that the Agriculture Department sent over some proposed regulations to handle this issue to what's called the Office of Management and Budget. This is a part of my office. I have sent word over that they need to expedite that request as quickly as possible.

I fully understand the cattle business; I understand the pressures placed upon Canadian ranchers. I believe that, as quickly as possible, young cows ought to be allowed go across our border. I understand the integrated nature of the cattle business and I hope we can get this issue solved as quickly as possible.

There's a bureaucracy involved and I readily concede we've got one. I don't know if you've got bureaucracy here in Canada or not, but we've got one in America, and there are a series of rules that have to be met in order for us to be able to allow the trafficking of cows back and forth, particularly those 30 months and younger. So we're working as quickly as we can. And I understand the impact it's had on your industry here.

No comments: