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Celluci Part 3

More from this morning’s papers, and the web. 

First, courtesy of the US Embassy: Celluci’s speech. Yes, it’s inflammatory.  But Mr. Celluci goes to great pains in the first half of the speech to acknowledge Canadian contributions.  It’s a measured rebuke, as opposed to throwing down a gauntlet. 

Three stories from this morning’s Globe and Mail:

  • White House consulted Cellucci on rebuke.  Of course. Ambassador’s don’t just go off the rails and make statements like these without official sanction from their governments.  Those calling for Celluci to be expelled from Canada should think again. 
  • Canada not anti-US, says Martin.   The story has a bunch more material from the latest Liberal caucus meeting.  They are very divided. It also notes that Ernie Eves has followed Ralph Klein’s lead on sending a letter of support to Paul Celluci.  And finally, it has a pointer to this site — www.wesupporttheusa.ca — which is a petition urging the PM to change his stance on US support. 
  • And from the Report on Business: US Backlash Seen Growing.  Totally predictable. 

Then two opposing views from the Globe’s columnists:

  • Margaret Wente: Mr. Celluci’s absolutely right. Margaret Wente is right too.  American perceptions about Canada have been changing not just over the last weeks, but for the last year.  Six months ago I sat in a bar in Las Vegas airport waiting for a plane back to Ottawa and chatted with an American man who said “Canadians don’t like American’s very much, do they?”.   Just last week I listened to American talk radio slamming us again.
  • Naomi Klein: Standing up to Uncle Sam. Sentimental musings about her childhood and peace loving parents decrying the Vietnam war.

Celluci’s speech, to me, reads as if he is almost embarrassed to have to deliver it.  So, why now? On the surface it looks like a predictable PR strategy — line up a few more nations a few weeks after the campaign starts, and get them to pile on and declare their support too!  But that kind of strategy would require backroom arm twisting, not public condemnation. 

The administration, I believe, is reading the tea leaves here.  By softening up the Canadian public with emotional rhetoric, they are preparing the way for Chretien to declare that Canada will enter the war.  By taking the side of the right, and dividing the liberals, they are paving the way for Chretien to save his government.   English Canada is on side, but French Canada isn’t.  Polarizing the country more will force Chretien to decide between his Quebec loyalties and power base, and the rest of the country.

It should be interesting.

Oh – and go sign that petition at www.wesupporttheusa.ca 


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