Monday, January 24, 2005


During President Bush's visit to Canada last month a discussion over missile defence supposedly became 'tense.' Reports of the discussion are in the National Post, apparently leaked by 'un-named sources' (so take it for what you will). A couple of quotes are interesting. First:

"(Bush) leaned across the table and said: `I'm not taking this position, but some future president is going to say, Why are we paying to defend Canada?"
As if Canadian's have never heard this question numerous times from various Americans. As if when FDR proclaimed, "the people of the United States will not stand idly by if domination of Canadian soil is threatend by any other empire" he was not calling attention to Canada's weak defences as a liability for America.

The notion that America 'pays to defend Canada' always strikes me as a little ridiculous because any military resources America does put into 'defending Canada' are first and foremost done with the intent of defending America. If Canada reeps some benefit it is only incidentally. Missile defence will absolutely fall into this category, except that there will be little or no benefit to Canada.

Secondly, the president, apparently became frustrated with Canadian attempts to explain the difficult domestic politics regarding missle defence and exclaimed,
"I don't understand this. Are you saying that if you got up and said this is necessary for the defence of Canada, it wouldn't be accepted?"
This highlights one of the principal differences that currently exist between Canada and the United States. The United States is at war, and is shaken by it, while Canada is not. The president cannot imagine how 'the national defence argument' does not automatically end debate. One quotation, with an important insight into the president's mentality.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:19 a.m.