July 7, 2006


PM's new agenda relies on Bush's help (JAMES TRAVERS, 7/07/06, Toronto Star)

What's on Stephen Harper's mind is now on his lips. Anyone who bothers to listen will learn what's worrying the Prime Minister and where his government will lead Canada this fall.

In conversation here with George W. Bush and later with the press, Harper made it crystal clear the federal government's first priority is an open America. "If the U.S. becomes more closed to its friends, the terrorists win," he told reporters at the White House.

That's much, much more than a war-on-terror bumper sticker. In a handful of words Harper connected the most important dots in a multi-layered relationship: Security, the economy and a border that must remain a conduit, not a barrier. [...]

Prospering in that economic climate requires not only robust investment in the country's bricks and mortar but also in its social infrastructure. It demands hard and immediate reconsideration of policies that cross the spectrum. Making Canada more competitive means adjusting education to meet the higher needs of the knowledge economy and reforming current immigration practices to ensure new arrivals can contribute to the economy and fulfill Canada's promise.

It also will lead to changes in a tax system that currently discourages marginal workers and corporate innovation.

None of that will be easy and may well be impossible if the United States, bruised from its foreign adventures and unsure of its neighbours, withdraws into a shell.

Tougher border controls already legislated for 2008 by Congress are just one symptom of a disease that would poison trade and tourism.

Harper's prescription is holistic medicine. He's aligning Canada with the U.S. internationally while working with an equally concerned Bush administration on first slowing new border controls and then ensuring the range of acceptable documents will keep people, goods and services flowing. [...]

Bush might have been reading from Harper's briefing notes when he emphasized the importance to the U.S. of trade with Canada. More surprising, he made a point of volunteering that the two countries would go beyond fighting terror to end genocide.

Both are important presidential asterisks attached to a relationship that inevitably tilts toward the interests of the dominant partner.

In effect, Bush was acknowledging both Ottawa's concern about sharing future continental prosperity and the Canadian worry that waging war in Afghanistan is keeping it from making peace in Darfur.

Mr. Harper has drunk deeply from the cup of Bush/Howard/Blairism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 7, 2006 9:30 AM

What's third way about this? Harper, and Canada if they'd only see it, have a real problem. Their border controls are even worse than ours, except that with an open US/Canadian border, their border controls are our border controls. That's why the northern border, rather than the southern, is the terrorists' preferred entry point to the US.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 7, 2006 9:58 AM


The Third Way is domestic.

Posted by: oj at July 7, 2006 10:04 AM