Jeb Bush says he would visit Canada within 100 days of taking office
That neighbour to the north is Canada, America’s closest ally, largest trading partner, and supplier of 30 per cent of American energy. Finally, someone is paying attention to Barack Obama’s neglect of – and sometimes abrasive attitude toward – Canada.
Since 2008, Canada has not been feeling a lot of love from the White House. Jeb Bush said Wednesday he would change all that.
The presumed Republican presidential candidate issued a strong call for improved U.S.-Canada relations during a speech in New Hampshire. Bush told about 60 supporters that it is hard to imagine how the U.S. could have a bad relationship with Canada, but this (Obama) administration has managed to do it.
The Washington Post reports that twice during his speech in Portsmouth, the former Florida governor suggested the U.S. relationship with Canada is in need of serious repair and that is time to “stop insulting our neighbour to the north.”
He added that U.S.-Canada friction is not just focused on disagreements over construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline “but across the board” but did not elaborate.
There are other issues, but Keystone XL is a major irritant. Obama gets his opinions about Canadian oil from American environmentalists, not the State Dept., scientists, or industry. “The reason that a lot of environmentalists are concerned about it is the way that you get the oil out in Canada is an extraordinarily dirty way of extracting oil,” he said in March after vetoing a Keystone XL bill. The President ignores that Canadian heavy crude is displacing oil from from Venezuela and Nigeria, which at worst will lead to a wash in greenhouse gas emissions but at best could lead to lower emissions.
The President uses job creation numbers provided by environmental groups rather than TransCanada, the project proponent. He claims the Canadian crude oil will not stay in the US, even though consultancy IHS had demonstrated that 70 per cent or more will be refined on the Gulf Coast and be sold to American consumers.
After that sort of treatment, why wouldn’t Canada feel slighted by President Obama?
The Washington Post quoted Jeb Bush as saying “our neighbourhood should come first” and the United States needs to establish stronger relations with its largest trading partner, strongest ally and the country the U.S. “can count on to be our partner in establishing a safer world.”
Bush also suggested, according to a tweet posted by a Boston Globe reporter, that he wants to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper re-elected. The Canadian national election is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 19 and Harper’s Conservatives have a narrow lead over the Liberals and New Democrats, but at current polling numbers would only gain a minority government.
Asked later what he would do during his first 100 days in the Oval Office, Bush listed several items, including “going to Canada.”
Bush has raised concerns with the U.S.-Canadian relationship previously before during a March visit to New Hampshire and during a town hall meeting on energy policy in Denver in April.
Jeb Bush gets it. Barack Obama has deliberately and methodically eroded America’s relationship with Canada, and that relationship needs to be repaired.
Other Republican candidates might want to take their cue on this issue from the former Florida governor.
With files from The Canadian Press.