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Canada may suddenly be hip with Americans, but it might surprise people on both sides of the border that Americans still retain some popularity among Canadians. The Washington Post reports on the upcoming Canadian election today by covering the backlash from Paul Martin's clumsy attempt to leverage the relatively low anti-American sentiment in Canada to turn his disastrous campaign around:
Polls show a deep antipathy among Canadians toward the Bush administration, made more acute by the invasion and occupation of Iraq. That has carried over to a more general anti-Americanism, and academics here have made a cottage industry of talking about the divergence of values between Canadians and Americans.
Martin sought to corral that sentiment by portraying Harper as dangerously pro-American. But the strategy appeared to backfire in this campaign, exacerbating his slide in the polls.
"In the last campaign, those attack ads worked. This time they won't. People are just fed up," said Peter Bryce, 46, a financial manager who said the political rally in this town west of Toronto was the first he had attended.
Martin makes the same mistake that European leaders have made in their tired strategies of blaming America for their own shortcomings -- it doesn't work as a long-term approach. Gerhard Schroeder finds himself working for Vladimir Putin instead of running Germany because his electorate finally got disgusted with his sabotage of what had been a strategic security and economic partnership with the US. Canadian voters simply have seen through the ruse much more quickly than the Germans, perhaps because of the context of explicit Liberal corruption for this election.
Unfortunately, the Post doesn't provide much more coverage of the issues in play for the upcoming vote. That tends to underscore the notion of American apathy towards its biggest trading partner, an apathy that remains inexplicable to me. Americans know more about the electoral politics of Britain and France than they do about Canada, and probably less about the trade relationship. The American media may also pay the price for missing the huge political story about to play out to its conclusion Monday.Sphere It View blog reactions
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