Friday, July 07, 2006

On poor messages

James Curran cites the Toronto Star in speculating about the possibility of an election this fall with Bill Graham at the helm of the Libs. Judging from Graham's garbled message on Canada/U.S. relations today, the parties aside from the Libs don't seem to have much to fear if that happens:
By calling Harper "Steve," Bush might have left the impression that he and the prime minister now share a close, chummy relationship, but that's far from the truth, Graham said. "Suddenly everyone's jumping up and saying this is a much more cordial relationship because the president referred to the prime minister as 'Steve,' " Graham said.

"Well, my recollection is he referred to (former) prime minister Paul Martin as 'Paul,' too."

If anything, people should be leery of the two leaders getting too close and should demand that Harper take a tougher stand on Canadian issues, Graham said.

"A change in attitude which creates a closer, cosier relationship with the American administration has never in the long run been good for Canada," he said.
To sum up, Graham argues that a close, cozy relationship with the U.S. is bad for Canada - and that the Libs' relationship with Bushco was no less close or cozy than the Cons'. Needless to say, the NDP will gladly agree with Graham on both fronts...but it's hard to see how the combination could speak well for the Libs.

Granted, Graham would presumably at least be prepped a bit more thoroughly come campaign time. But his statements on behalf of his party now presumably won't be forgotten if he does end up contesting an election as leader. And given the choice between a leader who's as interested in proving his own party's chumminess with the U.S. as in acknowledging the potential harms of excessive concessions, and one charting a clear path to defend Canadian interests, it won't be surprising to see Canadians preferring the latter at the polls.

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