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IN AUSTRALIA, John Howard has conceded. Here’s a big roundup.

UPDATE: An observation: “Bush is now a rare survivor of the pre-9/11 western leaders’ club. Of his allies and opponents on the Iraq war, the latter have gone – Schroder, Chretien, Chirac – but so have the former – Aznar, Blair, Howard.” Well, a lot of time has passed, and Howard, like Blair, was in office well before Bush.

A MANIFESTO AGAINST THE NEW ISLAMIC TOTALITARIANISM: Bravo. Click “read more” to read it.

Continue reading ‘A MANIFESTO AGAINST THE NEW ISLAMIC TOTALITARIANISM: Bravo. Click “read more” to read it.

MANIFE…’ »

CANADIAN SCANDAL UPDATE: The Gomery Report is now online. Here’s a post on it by a Canadian blogger. Chretien comes off badly.

CANADA’S SHORT REACH:

There’s little to say about the tragedy of Canada’s response to the tsunami tragedy that hasn’t already been said. A lot of excuses have been bandied about for why Canadian soldiers weren’t sent, when Australia, Taiwan, Israel, and other countries despatched forces early, and the American military launched its largest operation in the area since Vietnam to try to save lives.

In the end, though, the answer’s pretty simple: 600 tonnes.

That’s the amount of airlift required to move the DART (Disaster Assistance Response Team). Since Canada only has the 4 CC-150 Polaris (modified Airbuses) for strategic airlift, with a cargo capacity of 13 tonnes each, rapid deployment of DART anywhere outside the effective ferry range of our 30-odd additional short-range Herc transports (ie, off this continent) was a mathematical impossibility, without civilian airlift… and civilian airlift is in pretty short supply at the moment. . . .

The lack of airlift was a conscious decision, based on the little remarked-upon shift in the tail-end Chretien period, during John McCallum’s time as defence minister. . . . “The world needs more Canada,” Bono said. Well, it’s unlikely at the moment to get it, at least not in the uniformed variety.

Read the whole thing.

SOME PEOPLE ARE CALLING for the arrest of Jean Chretien for war crimes prior to Bush’s Canada visit.

Seems a bit silly to me, but then there’s a lot of that kind of silliness up north lately.

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER IN CANADA:

It was a great shame for journalists all across the country, for instance, that the Bloc Quebecois, not our so-called media, had to break the story about the revolting 40% increase in federal government spending over the past five years. There was a 90% increase in the Justice Department budget, 129% in legal services alone. What on God’s green earth would they be doing with that money?

Why don’t we know more about the connection between the Desmarais family, TotalFinaElf, the Bank Paribas, Jacques Chirac, and the UN’s Oil for Food program? Given the relationship between the Desmarais family and Chretien, did that have anything to do with our refusal to join the war in Iraq? If this were the States, that story would be front and centre for months. Why do we not know more about the $250,000 the Canadian government gave to Human Concern International, an Ottawa-based organization headed by Ahmed Khadr who is reputed to have links with Osama bin Laden. Khadr used the money to open refugee camps in Pakistan that CSIS now says were used to aid Islamic fighters waging holy war in Afghanistan.

Let me tell you why we don’t have a free press. If we did, things would change for our plushy elites pretty fast.

Indeed. All I can say is that if Ashcroft were ransacking the homes of critical journalists we’d be hearing a lot in the Canadian press about the fundamental lawlessness of America. Which isn’t to say that the Canadians are wrong to be searching here — it’s just to note that that’s what they’d be saying if things were reversed.

I’M ALL FOR JEAN CHRETIEN BEING SNUBBED, but this story seems to have a key point wrong:

Bush has yet to visit Canada in the almost three years since he was sworn in as president.

I guess that Quebec, where Bush attended the “Summit of the Americas,” isn’t part of Canada.

UPDATE: Reader John MacDonald notes that Bush also visited Alberta for the G-8, but suggests that what the writer meant to say was that Bush hasn’t undertaken a formal state visit to Canada, as such.

Quebec reader Kevin Germann says something similar:

Technically speaking, attending a summit that happens to be in Canada is not visiting Canada. A traditional visit would focus on bilateral issues and perhaps involve the President addressing the Canadian parliament. The diplomatic tradition has been that the President’s first foreign visit has been to Canada, acknowledging the importance and closeness of US-Canada friendship. Bush has indeed snubbed Chretien, and deservedly so, in my opinion.

Well, okay. So why didn’t the Toronto Star say that? Apparently, the Star feels it should have, because another reader forwarded me an email from its ombudsman, promising a correction.

RELIGION AND SCIENCE FICTION: My TechCentralStation column, which is Matrix-related, is up. I wish that this piece by Adam Gopnik from The New Yorker had been up when I wrote it. I’m not sure I buy the Catharist angle, but it’s interesting. My favorite quote, though, is here:

The only thing setting Zion apart from the good-guy planets in “The Phantom Menace” or “Star Trek” is that it seems to have been redlined at some moment in the mythic past and is heavily populated by people of color. They are all, like Morpheus, grave, orotund, and articulate to the point of prosiness, so that official exchanges in Zion put one in mind of what it must have been like at a meeting at the Afro-American Studies department at Harvard before Larry Summers got to it. (And no sooner has this thought crossed one’s mind when—lo! there is Professor Cornel West himself, playing one of the Councillors.)

Heh. Of course, there’s a certain pot-and-kettle quality to charges of bloviation coming from Gopnik. On the other hand, Emmanuelle Richard loved the film, though she agrees there’s too much speechifying. And Sgt. Stryker says that Agent Smith should worry about the RIAA more than Neo.

UPDATE: 20,000 Canadians say they’re Jedis.

I’m guessing that Chretien isn’t one of them.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Justin Katz thinks I’m wrong — but I think it’s because he expects more of religion than I do.

HERE’S SOME INTERESTING PERSPECTIVE on SARS in Toronto. Meanwhile Colby Cosh has this observation on the hostile reaction to the WHO:

For the individual traveller Toronto is obviously still a safe place to visit, but avoiding large gatherings there is probably not a bad idea; and the WHO has no mandate or reason to protect the economy or the reputation of any individual city. Isn’t that sort of the idea behind having a World Health Organization? Funny how Canadians love squishy institutions of global governance until one of them acts the least bit peremptory towards them.

Indeed.

UPDATE: A reader emails:

Given that the SARS situation in Toronto is undoubtedly being overblown by the WHO, this would be a great time for the Canadians to have a big, rich, well-connected friend to give them a hand, wouldn’t it?

Too bad they don’t have one.

Yeah, I can’t see Bush overexerting himself on Chretien’s behalf with the “morons” at the international bureaucracies.

MORE NAILS IN THE COFFIN OF ANTIWAR CREDIBILITY:

France, Germany, Russia, Belgium and Canada are not on the side of peace or morality or the Iraqi people. The pictures from the streets of Baghdad make that plain. But we are on the side of TotalFinaElf. Twice in recent columns, Diane Francis has mentioned, almost en passant, a curious little fact:

The Western oil company with the closest ties to the late Saddam is France’s TotalFinaElf. That’s not the curious fact, that’s just business as usual in the Fifth Republic. This is the curious fact: As Diane wrote in February and again last week, “Total’s biggest shareholder is Montreal’s Paul Desmarais, whose youngest son is married to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s daughter.”

Let’s see if I’ve got this straight: TotalFinaElf’s largest shareholder is a subsidiary of Montreal’s Power Corp, whose co-chief executive is Jean Chrétien’s son-in-law, Andre Desmarais. Mr. Desmarais’ brother, Paul Desmarais Jr., sits on the Total board.

For months, the anti-war crowd has insisted that “it’s all about oil,” that the only reason the Iraqi people were being “liberated” was so that the second biggest oil reserves in the world could be annexed in perpetuity by Dick Cheney and Halliburton and the rest of Bush’s Texas oilpatch gang. Instead, it turns out that, if it is all about oil, then the principal North American beneficiary of the continued enslavement of the Iraqi people is the family of the Canadian Prime Minister — that’s to say, his daughter, France Chrétien, and his grandchildren.

Perhaps the new Iraqi government will investigate Chirac, Chretien, and Putin for complicity in crimes against humanity? And I wonder if the folks who marched for “peace” will feel bad about being the tools of Big Oil? [ Yeah, but it’s French Big Oil — Ed. Well, it’s okay then.]

THE ANTIWAR CRACKUP — war opponents are a minority even in San Francisco:

Although support for the war was lower in the Bay Area than elsewhere in the state, residents in the nine-county region told pollsters by nearly a 2-to- 1 ratio that they approve of the U.S. attack.

Asked “Do you support or oppose the U.S.’ taking military action in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power,” 63 percent said they favor and 32 percent said they oppose, a result that surprised even the pollsters.

“The stereotype that one would have of the Bay Area would be that it is one of the hotbeds of the anti-war movement,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll, based in San Francisco. “For a poll to show strong support of the war here — that’s major news.”

Indeed it is. And so is this:

A large majority of Canadians — 72% — believe Canada should have supported the U.S. at the start of the war against Iraq, according to an exclusive National Post/Global News poll. . . .

Jean Chrétien is to give a speech in the House of Commons today endorsing the Bush administration’s “mission” in Iraq and asking MPs to declare formal support for a quick victory by coalition forces.

I think it was Fareed Zakaria who said, back during the Afghan War, that “victory is the best propaganda.”

Of course, the “don’t get cocky” advice still applies.

HERE’S AN ACCOUNT OF ANOTHER PRO-U.S. RALLY IN TORONTO:

TORONTO — About 1,000 Canadians gathered in the freezing rain Friday to show their support for the United States at a downtown rally.

Organizers of the Friends of America said the rally was not formed to champion the U.S.-led war in Iraq but to show friendship and goodwill between the two countries.

”We’re not fair-weather friends,” emcee Ted Woloshyn, a local radio host, told the crowd bearing American and Canadian flags and Union Jacks. Others held placards with slogans such as Canada Loves America, Chretien Doesn’t Speak For Me and Freedom Isn’t Free.

Political speakers included Canadian Alliance Leader Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Ernie Eves. The widow of a Canadian killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York’s World Trade Center was also scheduled to make remarks.

Eves said there were likely those who do support the war in attendance – himself included.

”Canadians, friends of America – that is who we as Canadians are,” Eves told the crowd.

”Our American neighbours, our friends, our colleagues, our Allies have always supported us, they’ve protected us, they’ve helped us and they’ve stood by us and now we should be standing by them.”

Thanks, guys.

UPDATE: Reader John MacDonald emails:

There were more like 6000 at the Toronto Friends of America rally.There would have been a lot more except the weather was terrible,freezing rain,sleet, icy roads.People stayed home from work ,let alone showed up for a rally.The weather didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for the U.S.A.

Several other Canadian readers have sent similar comments. I hope to have some photos up later.

READER GEOFF MATTHEWS notes that Canadian support for the United States is growing:

Support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq is surging in Calgary and across the province, with three-quarters of Albertans in favour of Canada joining the fight, according to a new poll.

However, despite growing support for the war in Alberta and across the country, the Chretien government is standing firm on its decision to keep Canada out of the conflict.

“The (federal) government really blew it by looking at short-term polls (saying Canadians were against the war),” said pollster Faron Ellis of JMCK Polling.

“You’re now seeing a shift everywhere, outside of Quebec, in favour of the war — and Alberta is leading the edge of that shift.”

Very interesting.

WORTHWHILE CANADIAN POLL:

Ottawa — Support for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s handling of the Iraq war plunged in the past week, with opinion split virtually evenly outside Quebec, where antiwar sentiment is strongest, a new Globe and Mail/CTV poll suggests. . . .

Pro-coalition rallies were planned for today in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Red Deer, Alta., and in Calgary and Vancouver tomorrow. American flags are flying off the shelves in many western cities.

But here’s the really interesting part:

Approximately 47 per cent of respondents agreed Canada “turned our back” on the Americans, while 51 per cent disagreed. In Quebec, only 36 per cent agreed that the decision amounted to a failure to support the U.S. at its time of need, while 51 per cent of those in other provinces agreed.

Still, two-thirds of poll respondents said Mr. Chrétien’s stand has shown Canada is an independent player on the world stage.

As reader Michael Nunnelley, who sent this link, observes, being an “independent player” would seem to be the main driver of Chretien’s policy.

I’LL BE ON BBC RADIO 5 in about twenty minutes, at roughly 10:50 Eastern.

In the meantime, watch this Canadian debate on the war. The one big loser is Chretien.

UPDATE: I’m on hold right now. They called me and said “hello, Salam!” But apparently Salam Pax won’t actually be on — they’re having an impersonator read from his weblog or something. We’ll see.

ANOTHER UPDATE: It went well enough, I think. I was uncomfortable doing a show that mentioned Salam, but the producer told me that they’ve already done that a number of times, so I guess it’s not making anything worse — and I don’t think my presence made any difference anyway. But Salam, if you’re reading this, you’ve developed an awfully high profile lately. You might want to drop out of sight for a while. It’ll be over soon enough (well, not soon enough), and you can blog then. People will still care.

I hope that some of the first journalists into Baghdad once this is over will track Salam down and interview him. Once this is over.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Al Barger says we don’t need to worry about Salam.

MARK STEYN on the Chretien / Musharraf connection:

The Liberal Party of Canada, on the other hand, seems to reckon you can insult the Yanks with impunity while being utterly dependent on them. Some of us — on the “right,” as Lawrence Martin sees it — figure it would be honourable for Mr. Chrétien to put his mouth where Canada’s money is. But he can’t do that. He’s in the position of General Musharraf: Political reality necessitates being pro-American, or at least not overtly anti-American, but the inclinations of Ms. Parrish and many other of his supporters are to jump up and down shouting “Death to the Great Satan!” This is par for the course in a basket case like Pakistan, but it’s not really healthy for what’s supposed to be a stable, settled Western democracy. . . .

Read the whole thing, as some people say.

CANADA’S GUN REGISTRY: Not only an expensive failure, but social and political poison:

We now know that the government’s gun-control policy is a fiscal and administrative debacle. Its costs rival those of core services like national defence. And it doesn’t work. What is less well known is that the policy wasn’t designed to control guns. . . .

Which is precisely why it appealed to those putting together the Liberal Red Book for the pivotal 1993 election. If the object of the policy exercise was to appear to be “tougher” on guns than Kim Campbell, they had to find a policy that would provoke legitimate gun-owners to outrage. Nothing would better convince the Liberals’ urban constituency that Jean Chrétien and Allan Rock were taking a tough line on guns than the spectacle of angry old men spouting fury on Parliament Hill.

The supreme irony of the gun registry battle is that the policy was selected because it would goad people who knew something about guns to public outrage. That is, it had a purely political purpose in the special context of a hard-fought election. The fact that it was bad policy was crucial to the specific political effect it was supposed to deliver.

And so we saw demonstrations by middle-aged firearm owners, family men whose first reflex was to respect the laws of the land. This group’s political alienation is a far greater loss than the $200-million that have been wasted so far. The creation of this new criminal class — the ultimate triumph of negative political alchemy — may be the worst, and most enduring product of the gun registry culture war.

Personally, I think that anything that inspires large numbers of Canadians to engage in civil disobedience can’t be all bad. But Canada’s gun registry was an example of the kind of cynicism that inspires most gun-control efforts in America, too. And the results here would be far, far worse.

UPDATE: Reader Jonathan Gewirtz emails:

One reason why Bill Clinton was such a bad president is that, to a much greater degree than other recent presidents, he treated political opponents and their constituents as class enemies. His cynical alienation of gun owners and small-business people will take years to undo, even if the federal govt shows unprecedented goodwill, which it hasn’t. The Canadian left has done the same thing, but worse. These kinds of political tactics don’t work in the long run, as is now becoming obvious. Bush Jr., for all his flaws and triangulations, appears to understand this, which accounts for much of his political success in Texas and as president.

I think that’s right.

THE “FISKIE AWARD” VOTING is fast-and-furious, with Michael Moore and Jimmy Carter neck-and-neck for first place, followed by such, er, worthies as Ted Rall, Noam Chomsky, the United Nations, and, of course, Jean Chretien. Vote now!

DON’T BE SHY ABOUT IT: The New Republic reports on Canadian ineptitude and hypocrisy regarding Hezbollah:

“It is important,” Graham lectured his critics, “not to label [elected officials], doctors, and teachers as terrorists.” The foreign minister and others in the Chretien government argued that the social wing of Hezbollah was independent of its “military” wing, and so a request that Canadian banks freeze the assets of Hezbollah’s “external security apparatus” was sufficient to suppress any terror threat posed by the group on Canadian soil.

Then, just as the debate over the distinction reached a fever pitch in the Canadian media and government–Revenue Minister Elinor Caplan argued for the ban–Nasrallah resolved it decisively. Last Wednesday, stories circulated that Hezbollah’s Al Manar television station had broadcast footage of Nasrallah encouraging the worldwide export of suicide bombings. “Don’t be shy about it,” he told followers. The terrifying quote appeared to eliminate any distinction between terrorist and non-terrorist activities, since Nasrallah sits atop the entire Hezbollah apparatus and not just the military wing. Which meant that suddenly Ottawa found itself insisting on a distinction that even Hezbollah itself was disavowing.

But, but, but they don’t like Americans and Jews! So how could they be terrorists?

To be fair, the non-idiotic part of the Canadian political structure (that is, the part residing largely outside the Chretien government) was horrified by this policy all along.

JIM BENNETT WRITES ABOUT SEPARATISM IN CANADA:

But it’s not Quebec we’re talking about here. It’s four provinces west to Alberta, where the top issue on the agenda is not Francophone nationalism, but Kyoto. Or “Ki-ota,” as it’s pronounced in Canada’s cowboy country. (As I said, they speak differently out that way.)

I have written previously about the curious post-colonial cringe that infects the intellectual and political classes of certain of Britain’s former colonies of settlement. This cringe leads to a rejection of the most obvious interpretation of the cultural identity of the nations they inhabit — that they are, for the most part, distinct nations, but ones that share a great deal in common with the cultures of other English-speaking nations.

One result of this peculiar political culture is a need to endorse the transnational progressive project of global governance through U.N. treaties. This has led Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to sign the Kyoto treaty on limitation of carbon monoxide production. Unlike many transnational progressive treaties, which merely erode the national cultures of signatories, Kyoto carries an immediate and significant price tag for Canadian industries, farms and, ultimately, consumers. Meanwhile, its benefits, if any, are problematic and widely debated.

Furthermore, the pain will be spread unevenly throughout Canada, and energy-producing Alberta with its wide-open Western pattern of population will suffer disproportionately. Normally, such a high-impact treaty would require substantial negotiation in Canada’s more consensus-oriented political system. However, Canada has also developed a particularly unchecked executive power.

We might take ’em in as states. Then again, we might not. But I think Quebec should become part of France regardless. Each deserves the other.

UPDATE: Colby Cosh says that Bennett is absolutely right:

Despite the lack of a serious instrument for the expression of separatist values, separatist sentiment is virtually universal amongst people born and raised in Alberta. The class of federal-government beneficiaries here is small. Most Albertans are vaguely aware that Confederation, for us, is a huge financial ripoff, with outgoing net government transfers amounting to thousands of dollars a head every year. It is a mystery to us exactly what we get for our federal taxes nowadays. Sit down and try to work it out sometime if you’re an Albertan, remembering that health, welfare, and education are provincially funded and administered. What, are they spending the money on our elite, powerfully equipped armed forces?

Asked outright “Stay or go?”, most Albertans (real Albertans, not people who came over from Montreal at age 16) will tell you “Go”, privately. It’s not just the rural loonies, either: as a rule, the more you know about trying to run a business, the more likely you are to answer “Go”. I have a lot of trouble making Easterners understand this. If any well-known leader decides to step up and give a voice to Alberta separatism, they will learn. And fast.

Hmm. I’ll take Alberta as a state, but only if Colby promises to come with it.

CANADIAN READER JAMES MCKENZIE-SMITH proudly forwards this poll, which he says demonstrates that 66% of his fellow Canadians have their heads screwed on straight:

VANCOUVER – Canadians want even closer economic ties to the United States to increase their standard of living, and are increasingly confident they can compete on an equal footing with American industry, a new poll by the Liberal party’s pollster suggests.

Michael Marzolini, the chairman of Pollara, told the National Post yesterday a solid majority of Canadians — 66% — want the Chrétien government to foster greater U.S. economic integration. Only 5% are adamantly opposed.

“We are not fearful of American influence on our culture or our sovereignty as we were a number of years ago,” he said. “There are obviously still some concerns, but I was amazed to find that it is less than three in 10.”

The poll found that while 66% want stronger economic integration with the United States, 29% are somewhat opposed and 5% are absolutely against it.

The poll of 1,200 Canadians was conducted between Sept. 27 and Oct. 1 and is considered accurate plus or minus 2.9 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Hmm. I hope someone tells Chretien.

CONCORDIA UPDATE: Canadian reader Nathan McLeod sends this:

The Concordia University embarrassment continues.

The Board of Governors today announced a cooling off period until December. Until then they are banning any kind of information being displayed in the main hall of the university. I assume this might be the student union building. They are also putting off making a decision on their policy regarding free speech.

Does the BOG’s not understand what happened on September 9th? Thugs upset about the idea of Netanyahu speaking threatened and intimidated those seeking to hear him speak. They broke windows and damaged property to disrupt free speech.

People supporting the Palestinians do not believe in a free exchange of ideas. They believe in intimidation and violence.

What grade school children inherently understand, the concept of free speech, will supposedly take the Board of Governors a few months to think about. Their abdication of responsibility is an embarrassment.

Although if Canadian society is willing to tolerate thugs intimidating free speech it is understandable how they tolerate being ruled by Prime Minister Chretien with his blame the victim philosophy when referring to the murder of 3,000 innocent men, woman and children.

George Bush said it is up to all nations to decide if they are with or against terrorism. In small and large ways my country is failing the test.

Also, Martin Devon has a post with links to streaming video of the anti-Jewish riot at Concordia that shut down Netanyahu’s speech.

CHRETIEN UPDATE: Apparently he’s not having much success at dining out on his anti-American reputation.

(Via Shiloh Bucher).

CHRETIEN UPDATE: Tom Nichols of the U.S. Naval War College writes:

To be sure, Americans are used to hearing this kind of bloviation from European intellectuals, but Canada was once a country that could boast common sense among its many virtues. In fairness, Chretien’s foolishness has drawn fire from some Canadian politicians on the right, including former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who called his successor’s comments “false, shocking and morally specious,” and “dangerous intellectual nonsense.” Canada’s National Post was even more blunt, asking: “did Jean Chretien have to choose the subject of Sept. 11 as an opportunity to make a Royal Canadian ass of himself?” Still, too many Canadians are drawn to Chretien’s attempts at neo-appeasement, indulging in a reflexive anti-Americanism that takes as an article of faith that the downtrodden of the world hate the United States because they have every reason to. . . .

Given Chretien’s inane comments prior to the meeting, Bush can hardly be faulted for not trying to lay out a case to his Canadian colleague. Indeed, given the lack of substance in their meeting and the clear Canadian aversion to shouldering the burden of the fight against terror — an aversion, by the way, that does not seem to be shared by the brave and able men and women of the Canadian armed forces — September 2002 might well be the date affixed by future historians to Canada’s last days as a world power.

Yes, it’s hard to take statements like Chretien’s — or the government that issues them — seriously.

CHRETIEN UPDATE: Mark Steyn is dissing him and the horse he rode in on:

M. Chrétien, whatever his efficacy as a small-time largesse-dispensing ward-heeler, has never troubled himself to form anything approaching a political philosophy. So, ask him what’s to blame for September 11th, and he falls back on that old standby — “global poverty,” the growing “inequality” between rich and poor.

Let’s spell it out: There’s no such thing. The story of the last 30 years is the emergence of “a new world middle class,” as Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin calls them in his study The World Distribution Of Income. This class is made up of some 2.5 billion people in the developing world, whose standards of living now approach those of the West. That’s to say, roughly half the people in the developing world are doing pretty well economically. As Virginia Postrel wrote in The New York Times recently, taking the world’s population as a whole, in 1998 “the largest number of people earned about $8,000 — a standard of living equivalent to Portugal’s.”

Why hasn’t the Middle East shared in this economic growth? Because they’re failed states run by kleptocrats who govern by clan and corruption and whose starting point is to exclude half the population — the women — from the economic life of the country. If M. Chrétien wants to give Paul Wells’s salary to President Mubarak, that’s up to him but it will have zero effect on either poverty or terrorism. . . .

The Islamists have no rational demands, and no conceivable changes to U.S. policy will deflect them. M. Chrétien says he formulated his theory –American arrogance plus Osama’s poverty equals global terrorism — on the evening of September 11th. And what’s heartening is that in the last 12 months nothing in the torrent of evidence has stirred our grand buffoon from his complacency.

There’s more.

OH, CANADA: Reader James McKenzie-Smith sends this quote from a Canadian sniper in Afghanistan about his record long-distance kill as proof that not all Canadians are like Chretien:

When he hit his first target, an enemy gunman at a distance of 1,700 metres, he said all that ran through his mind was locating his next target.

“All I thought of was Sept. 11th and all those people who didn’t have a chance and the American reporter who was taken hostage, murdered and his wife getting the videotape of the execution; that is my justification.”

More Canadians like that, please, and fewer like Chretien.

CHRETIEN UPDATE: Here’s a column from the Toronto Sun:

Why on earth would Prime Minister Jean Chretien blame America for terrorist attacks on not only the U.S., but Western civilization in a CBC-TV interview scheduled to run on or around Sept. 11 — a day of remembrance and dedication.

And make no mistake — it was America he was slamming, using the euphemism of blaming “arrogant, self-satisfied, greedy” western countries for “humiliation” that provokes others to resort to terror. . . .

That Chretien resents America and President Bush may well be because they make him look weak and petty.

Chretien can’t inspire others, except those who depend on him for favours. He has disarmed Canada, made us utterly dependent on America for security, and resents it.

Increasingly, Canadians want Chretien gone. The longer he sticks around, the greater the likelihood that the Liberal party will suffer. Chretien has become a national embarrassment.

Americans and Canadians should be equally upset at his boorishness.

No prime minister in our history would have been so crass as to snipe at America the way Chretien has on such a poignant date in its history. It will encourage many Americans to resent Canada and wonder what warrants such hatred from a Canadian PM.

“Weak and petty” seems about right. Until the other day, my attitude on Chretien was Bogartesque — I probably would have despised him, if I had given him any thought. Then he made sure that I gave him thought.

(Via Max Jacobs).

DAMIAN PENNY weighs in on the Chretien flap.

UPDATE: Armed Liberal embraces banality. Thanks, Salon!

THE CANADIAN EMBASSY HAS RESPONDED to my email concerning Chretien’s remarks by sending, without comment, this extract from his interview:

Peter Mansbridge: By the end of the day, what were you thinking about in terms of how the world had changed?

Prime Minister Chrétien: But I’ve said that it is a division in the world that is building up. And I knew that it was the inspiration of it. For me, I think that the rest of the world is a bit too selfish, and that there is a lot of resentment. I felt it when I dealt with the African file for the Summit of the G8. You know, the poor, relatively, get poorer all the time. And the rich are getting richer all the time. You know, now we see the abuse of the system with problems in the United States at this moment with the corporate world, you know.

When you think that, you know, you have to let go somebody in the Cabinet because perhaps relatively very minor things…of guidelines. And there was billions of dollars that were basically stolen from the shareholders. And we have to you know solving the problems when you read history. Everybody don’t know when to stop. There is a moment, you know, when you have to stop. There is a moment when you have very powerful (inaudible).

I said that in New York one day. I said, you know talking, it was Wall Street, and it was a crowd of capitalists, of course, and they were complaining because we have a normal relation with Cuba, and this and that, and, you know, we cannot do everything we want.

And I said…if I recall, it was probably these words: ‘When you’re powerful like you are, you guys, is the time to be nice.’ And it is one of the problems. You know, you cannot exercise your powers to the point that of humiliation for the others. And that is what the Western world, not only the Americans, the Western world has to realize, because they are human beings too, and there are long﷓term consequences if you don’t look hard at the reality in 10 or 20, or 30 years from now. And I do think that the Western world is going to be too rich in relation to the poor world. And necessarily, you know, we look upon us being arrogant, self﷓satisfying, greedy and with no limits. And the 11th of September is an occasion for me to realize that it’s even more.”

Well, there is a mild effort to expand the claims of misbehavior beyond America alone, but this is — except for that one phrase – entirely about accusations of American wrongdoing when you get down to it. I’d be interested in seeing what impression the entire interview gives.

UPDATE: Lots of Canadians seem to dislike this guy:

I am a Canadian and I found Mr. Chretien’s remarks offensive. The clear message in the interview is that the US in particular and the west generally must bear responsibility for the actions of those in the third world who are angry and who are seeking revenge because of it. This line of reasoning is so empty headed and easy to refute that it is barely worth making the effort.

Americans only have to deal with Mr. Chretien’s foolish and witless conduct when he is addressing issues of mutual interest. In Canada, we live with the results of his buffoonery every day. His government is in complete disrepute-charges of corruption and cronyism are so frequent that they are rarely reported any more. He has been an embarrassment to this country on virtually every occasion. He says in the interview that he likes to keep his distance from US presidents in order to preserve Canada’s independence. I am inclined to think that Mr. Clinton and Mr. Bush have found it wise to keep their distance from him in order to preserve their sanity. They have enough wing nut leaders in the middle east to deal with.

Ouch. Meanwhile Porphyrogenitus blames the French.

BREAKING NEWS: Chretien (well, his Press Office) is “clarifying” his remarks. Seems he wasn’t actually criticizing America after all. Not everyone’s persuaded

UPDATE: More mail:

I’d like to add my voice to the (hopefully) large chorus of e-mails you’ve received from Canadians distancing themselves from the antics of our PM. The man is an embarrassment to our country.

I had stumbled across the article in the Post just before you linked to it. Up until then I had been planning on commenting on the Judd/High Noon post you had linked to in order to defend Canada (he had lumped us in with Germany and France). After I read this I just didn’t have the heart. How could a non-Canadian possibly think any other way when this is our public face?

Yesterday around town most businesses had their flags at half mast and a large number were flying American flags alongside our own. I like to think that this is far more representative of how the Canadian people feel. Despite occassional differences, America is our closest friend and ally and we are fortunate to have you as our neighbour. Chretien’s comments were disgraceful.

Sean Engemoen

Saskatoon, Canada

Thanks Sean. We know most Canadians don’t feel this way. We just have trouble understanding why so many Canadians who do feel this way wind up in high office. And yes, my inbox runneth over — and nearly all the email is from Canadians.

CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER JEAN CHRETIEN is a blowhard. Instead of criticizing the United States and saying that the 9/11 attacks were America’s fault for trying to “impose its values” around the world (as opposed to those of people who stone women to death for baring their ankles) perhaps Chretien should do something about the mobs imperiling free speech in Montreal.

Chretien is a poster boy for what’s wrong with the world’s governing classes. It’s disgusting, and Canadians should be ashamed to have him as their spokesman. I suspect that some of them are.

And why is it that the people who lecture the United States on its “arrogance” are always so arrogant themselves?

UPDATE: Canadian reader M. McInnis writes:

I likely speak for many Canadians when I say that I agree with your sentiments about the our Prime Minister. They say that in a democracy you get the political leaders you deserve; what does that say about us when Chretien has been elected to three consecutive majority governments? (Though with the political right in Canada split between two parties, Chretien’s Liberal government “mandates” have been with less than 50% of the popular vote (e.g. 41% in 2000).

The link below takes you to a brief piece the Globe and Mail prepared on Chretien during the last federal election. Appropriately, it is called “Ambition or arrogance?”

Uh, I’ll take #2. Then there’s this:

I am a Canadian, born and raised. Am I ashamed to have Chretien as my “spokesman”?

Hell YES !!!

Rick in Toronto

Thanks, Rick.

UPDATE: Here’s more Canadian mail:

Our esteemed Prime Minister states that “You cannot exercise your power to the point of humiliation of others” in the National Post article you linked. It’s funny that exercising power to the point of humiliating others seems to be a guiding principle of Chretien’s long political career. The sacking of his chief rival Paul Martin, our former finance minister (link), is the most recent example of this.

Dave Peterson

Vancouver

Reader Eric Tam (who unlike the folks I quote above is an American, not a Canadian) thinks I’m too hard on Chretien, and sends this link to a report in the Toronto Star that gives Chretien’s remarks less of an anti-American spin. Personally, I think it was pretty clear who Chretien was talking about (note his self-report of bravely standing up to “Wall Street.”) But if Chretien didn’t mean to call America names, he can certainly clarify his remarks on the subject. I’ve emailed the Canadian Embassy for a reaction, and will report any response. UPDATE: Tam emails that he’s a Canadia living in America. Sorry. Actually, I think that means that everyone who’s emailed so far is Canadian!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Canadian blogger Mark Wickens says “Sorry, America.” And Jason Bauer has posted the letter that he sent to the Canadian embassy.

CANADIAN READER NATHAN MCLEOD WRITES:

A great article today in the Opinion Journal by WSJ by Peter Worthington describing the current Canadian situation with regards to our military.

I am not surprised that you receive a lot of e-mail from frustrated Canadians living in a socialized utopia. I look at the current strife in Argentina and unfortunately see Canada’s future. The sad reality is that Canada, like the European sophisticates that we seem to follow on most issues, is a has been country heading nowhere fast.

The right of centre party, the Canadian Alliance, has a new leader, Stephen Harper, that gives me some hope for the future. Living under a corrupt quasi dictator like Jean Chretien and his governing liberals is enough to drive any reasonable person insane.