Friday, December 22, 2006

The Maher Arar Lesson

The telling thing about the members of the administration of George W. Bush is that no matter how much you fawn and bend the knee and profess complete adherence to their weltanschauung, they will not concede the smallest thing to you if it does not suit them completely.

Poor Peter Mackay was seen in diplomatico flagrante with Condoleezza Rice in Washington exchanging sweet nothings about how close the Canada-U.S. relationship has become now that the Liberals have been banished from office. But could he get the Americans to take Maher Arar off their terrorist watch list? No. Following a painstaking Canadian investigation of the case that revealed how the innocent Syrian-born Canadian was grossly mistreated by Canada, the U.S. and Syria, will the Bush administration concede the point? Not a chance.

There is a theory, often advanced by neo-conservatives in Canada that much is to be gained by maintaining an intimate relationship with Washington. But when push comes to shove, the Americans don’t yield an inch---on Canadian sovereignty in Arctic Waters, on softwood lumber (where Canada did the yielding) or on any other file. Misty-eyed evenings where prime ministers and presidents sing When Irish Eyes are Smiling get us nowhere.

In dealings with Washington, realism and a clear-eyed view of the Canadian interest ought to be our watchword.

Call it the Maher Arar lesson.


Stephen said...

Agreed. I think that is one of the weak points of the Conservative Party in terms of electoral prospects. The opposition can point to the Canada-US relationship and say yes, it is closer now, but what have we really gotten out of it?

Harrap said...

Happy Holidays and All the Best in 2007!

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