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Mel Hurtig to Paul Cellucci

April 4, 2003
University of Victoria

Speech on Canada - U.S. Relations --
Mel Hurtig (780) 488-3832 mhurtig@telusplanet.net

I want to say a few words about the ill-mannered, obnoxious, arrogant U.S. Ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci.

Mr. Cellucci,
you ask why Canada doesn't support the United States. Why have we let you down?

Is not an equally justified question, Mr. Cellucci, why have you not supported Canada? Why have you turned your back on us? Why have you and your country proceeded in a reckless, arrogant manner which is 100% guaranteed to substantially increase terrorism and volatility around the world, is guaranteed to destabilize Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan (with its nuclear weapons), Turkey, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sudan, Yemen and many other countries?

Why have you launched into this foolhardy aggression that will cause hundreds of millions of Muslims to hate and despise Westerners for generations into the future, with potentially cataclysmic results, for ourselves, for our children and for our grandchildren?

Mr. Cellucci,
you ask why Canada doesn't support the United States in your aggressive, pre-emptive militarism.

Let me give you just a few of the reasons:

First, we are opposed to war when we believe there are viable alternatives to war.

Scores of countries, Canada included, made it clear that they believed that more weapons inspectors and more time would determine whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

We also believed that unless they were invaded, there was no probability of Iraq launching attacks beyond its border.

We also believed that there was no evidence of cooperation between two natural opponents, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

We also believed that your war would kill and injure thousands of innocents.

We also believed that we should not break with clear, long-established international law. international law which is the fundamental basis of the United Nations.

Unlike your country, Mr. Cellucci, Canada has always been a strong supporter of the United Nations.

Perhaps, Mr. Cellucci, you should look in a mirror and ask why it is that BOTH your NAFTA partners fought off heavy pressure from the White House and your State Department to join your ill-advised war. After all, didn't Mr. Bush once say that the U.S. has no greater friend than Mexico?

Where is it mandated that if your neighbour chooses to go off into a potentially catastrophic war, you must go too, even if we strongly disagree with your reasons and your logic, and if we regard your evidence for the necessity of war with the greatest skepticism?

Mr. Cellucci, the war your country has launched is the very type of war that was so harshly condemned by the Nuremberg War Crime Trials.

How is your attack on Baghdad different from the terrible day of infamy that Franklin Delano Roosevelt spoke of after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour, December 7th, 1941? Today, just as we were in the case of the Vietnam War, Canada is on the right side of history in relation to the war on Iraq.

Were also on the side of morality, justice and well-established, principled international law.

And were also on the side of innocent Iraqi men, women and children, not to mention the young British and American men and women who have been and will be killed both during the war, and for many years AFTER the war is over in the Balkans - like quagmire of ethnic war lords, bigotry and hatred and in the inevitable civil war that will result from the debris of Americas so-called and almost humorous, if it wasn't so deadly - coalition of the willing.

You know, bullied and bribed countries like Cameroon, the Marshall Island, Angola, Guinea, Ethiopia, El Salvador and Eritrea.

Several times in your inappropriate, offensive, threatening speech, Mr. Cellucci, you referred to Canadians as part of our family.

Mr. Cellucci, this might come as a surprise for you, but we are NOT part of your family and we have no desire to be part of your family. In a public opinion poll for Maclean's magazine, Canadians were asked how they would describe our relations with the U.S. Only one in three said like family or best friends. 65% said cordial but distant or openly hostile. In another Maclean's poll, 72% of Canadians said that they did not want to move closer to the U.S. And, more recently, only 8% said they thought Canada should become more like the U.S Five times as many opted for less like the U.S.

Mr. Cellucci, some of these poll results were from polls taken soon after September 11th, when world-wide sympathy and support for your country was impressive and enthusiastic. Shouldn't you be asking yourself how you and Mr. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney have managed to squander so much popular support from around the world in so short a time?

Mr. Cellucci, you say that the United States would be there for Canada and that Americans are disappointed and upset that Canada is not supporting the U.S. now.

Please tell me, exactly, where was the United Sates when from 1914 to 1917 tens of thousands of young Canadian men were left dead in the muddy trenches of Europe fighting off the Germans?

And, where was the United Sates from 1939 to late 1941, when Germany was overrunning Europe and the Luftwaffe and the rockets were bombing England and killing tens of thousands of men, women and children during the blitz and the Germans were beginning their roundup of millions of Jews who would be slaughtered in the Nazi concentration camps?

How is it that even though you knew exactly what was happening, your country sat back in the face of so much evil and agony, and waited until the Japanese attacked you before you finally, reluctantly, got involved in the war against the brutal Nazis?

Mr. Cellucci, Id like to hear your answer to that question.

And, by the way, thank you for being there for us when your country invaded us three times, the only country to ever invade Canada.

And, please don't ever lecture us again about going to war. We left 45,000 Canadians in European graves during our defence of liberty and democracy in the Second World War, while for much of the war your isolationists refused to get involved.

Mr. Cellucci, lets be clear. Canadians do not approve of your bad manners, your grossly undiplomatic behaviour, your lecturing us about defence spending, your warnings about the possible linkage of our opposition to war with your trade policies.

Best be careful. If you want to advocate linkage, Canadians may want to consider imposing a 27% tariff on our exports of oil, natural gas and electricity to the United States as a reasonable quid pro quo for your egregious softwood lumber duties. After all, you do believe in reciprocity, don't you?

And, don't for a moment consider it a meaningful warning for you to suggest that Mr. Bush might not want to come to Canada for his official state visit next month.

Canadians well remember the disastrous results for Canadian sovereignty when Ronald Reagan visited the obsequious Brian Mulroney in Quebec City in 1985.

Moreover, we all know why Mr. Bush was or is planning to come to Ottawa. There was only one reason. Not to patch up relations between the two countries, but rather to get your hands on even more of Canada's oil, natural gas and electricity. Best mind your manners, Mr. Cellucci, or the Canadian government might just possibly finally wake up to the fact that Mexico, your other NAFTA partner, firmly refused to sign the ridiculous NAFTA energy and resource-sharing agreement that some of our inept trade negotiators somehow managed to agree to.

Perhaps the Canadian government will realize that we haven't replaced our declining natural gas reserves since 1982. That our major Western sedimentary basin pools are depleting at the rate of 20% a year, that new replacement reserves are proving to be much more expensive to locate, are smaller in size and deplete more rapidly.

Mind your manners Mr. Cellucci, or perhaps Canada will have to walk away from the foolish NAFTA clauses that mean we must continue selling you 62% of our oil and natural gas, even if we Canadians begin to run short ourselves.

Mr. Cellucci, you were greatly upset that Cabinet Minister Herb Dhaliwal made totally inappropriate remarks by suggesting that George W. Bush was a failed statesman.

My, my, my. How terribly offensive can one be? How does failed statesman compare with Richard Nixon calling Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau an asshole, or John F. Kennedy calling Prime Minister John Diefenbaker a son of a bitch and a prick, or Lyndon Johnson grabbing Lester Pearson by the collar and shouting you pissed on my rug when Pearson suggested a pause in the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the bombing.

It seems to me that being called a failed statesman is not only a mild criticism by comparison, but it is an accurate criticism.

George W. Bush is no moron. Few Canadians regard Americans as bastards. Most Canadians like most Americans.

But, not since the days of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War has there been so much anti-Americanism in the world. The U.S. has antagonized not only the Muslim world, but long-time allies as well. It has walked away from, worked against or failed to support a long list of international agreements supported by Canada and the overwhelming majority of countries - the Land Mines Treaty, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the agreement to provide lower cost drugs to developing countries battling AIDS and other diseases, the International Criminal Court, the U.N. protocol on Developing, Producing or Stockpiling Biological or Toxic Weapons, the Small Arms Treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (supported by 191 countries, but not the U.S. or Somalia!).

While it is true that in recent months anti-Americanism in Canada has been increasing, and has increased since the invasion of Iraq and your ill-considered remarks, most of the antipathy is directed not at average Americans, but at George W. Bush and the arrogant, aggressive men and women who surround him as key advisors, the repugnant Donald Rumsfeld, the selfishly-motivated Dick Cheney, Karl Rowe and Paul Wolfowitz and other American hyper hawks who apparently place little value on human lives and have little appreciation for the value of patient international diplomacy.

Mr. Cellucci, Canadians are not impressed by your campaign of intimidation, by threats re the border, by proposed American boycotts of Canadian products.

Perhaps you would much better serve your country if you reminded your fellow citizens that millions of American jobs depend on your exports to Canada, that as every year goes by you will become increasingly dependent on imports of Canadian resources, that for 46 years in a row Canada has been the leading export market in the world for U.S. goods and services, that your exports to Canada every year are greater than your exports to all fifteen European Union countries combined, greater than your exports to Japan, the United Kingdom and Germany put together and more than to all of Latin America and the Caribbean countries combined.

Perhaps, instead of threatening us with economic retaliation for not taking part in your military aggression, you would be wise to remind Americans that by punishing Canadians you would be harming your best customer (not a very bright thing to do), you would be harming the profitable American companies that dominate so much of the Canadian economy, and you would be encouraging more anti-Americanism in Canada.

Mr. Cellucci, both you and your predecessor Gordon Giffin and Senator Hillary Clinton have expressed concerns about the Canada-U.S. border and, in Giffins words, skepticism about Canada's reliability on security.

Forget for a moment that Canada has already committed close to an extra $10 billion to security and defence spending since September 11th. Forget too, that Canada has had in place overseas document-screening for air travelers well before the United States even thought of such precautions. Forget that the September 11th terrorists were mostly from your Saudi Arabian friends, and were in the U.S. on visas. Forget that at the time of September 11th there were some six million illegals living in your country, but do consider the following.

There is not one single airport in Canada, not one single flight school that would have been dumb enough to agree to train people from the Middle East how to fly large passenger jet aircraft - people who had no interest in learning how to take off or how to land the aircraft - without quickly reporting the highly suspicious students to the RCMP and/or to CSIS.

Once again, Mr. Cellucci, look in the mirror instead of warning Canadians re security. Increasingly, your CIA, your FBI, your National Security Agency, all with huge multi-billion dollar budgets, make the term American intelligence seem like a laughable oxymoron.

And, by the way, have you thought about apologizing to Canadians for all the Canadians killed on September 11th and for your own irresponsible action in appointing your personal driver as head of security at Logan Airport in Boston, where two of the ill-fated aircraft and their hijackers took off from? Don't you think that you owe Canadians an apology?

Shouldn't it be Canadians who need to be concerned about the border, given your poor security record and all the violent nutcases your gun-ridden society breeds, your murderous snipers, your anthrax disseminators, your Timothy McVeighs, your Columbines, your paranoid militia, your aggressive history and behaviour?

Please dont threaten us about the border, because if you do, we might just decide to look more closely at your own records.

And, don't for a single moment believe that Tom d'Aquino, Allan Gotlieb and Brian Mulroney represent majority opinion in Canada. They never have, and they certainly don't now.

The best thing you and your fellow Americans can do in the best interests of future Canadian - American relations, is to listen carefully to every word Mr. d'Aquino, Mr. Gotlieb and Mr. Mulroney say, and then remember that Brian Mulroney left office as the least- popular prime minister in Canadian history, and that most Canadians do not subscribe to the craven policies of Gotlieb and d'Aquino.

Canada, you and Mr. Bush may find it hard to believe, is not yet an American colony, and we have no intention of becoming one. You would best serve your country by making that clear in Washington.

Gee it's good, to be Back Home again....