Monday, April 04, 2005

What Frank Said


In the comments to the last post Paul Willcocks made the point that we should wait and see what Frank McKenna says and does before we rush to judgement based purely on his past associations (ie. with the Carlyle Group).

Which would be fair enough - if that's all there was to it.

However, it is impossible to ignore the following timeline:

".....During U.S. President George W. Bush's first visit to Canada, Nov. 30, 2004, the missile defence program wasn't on the official agenda. Nevertheless, during a joint news conference, Bush said the issue had come up during his talks with Prime Minister Paul Martin. The next day in Halifax, Bush again raised the issue. In his first major foreign policy speech since winning re-election, he said he hoped Canada and the U.S. could move forward together on missile defence......

...... On Feb. 22, 2005, Frank McKenna, Canada's ambassador-designate to the U.S., said Canada was already taking part in missile defence because of its agreement in August 2004 to share information from the North American Aerospace Defence Command (Norad) with officials running the program.

"There's no question that the Norad amendment has already given a great deal of what the United States needs in terms of input on North American defence," McKenna said......

.......On Feb. 24, 2005, Prime Minister Martin made official Canada's decision on whether to take part in Washington's Ballistic Missile Defence program."

And it is impossible to ignore the fact that, while there are clearly shades of grey to consider, Mr. McKenna's very public statements supported the stated foreign policy desires of Mr. Bush, not Mr. Martin.

All of which could be chalked up to a rookie mistake by a seasoned politician, businessman and transnational consultant I suppose.

Unfortunately, in follow-up statements Mr. McKenna continued to sound, at least in some instances, like the newly designated U.S. Ambassador to Canada rather than the other way around.

To whit:
(G&M piece behind subscription wailing wall, sorry)

.....Mr. McKenna said trade disputes have dampened Canadians' desire to do what the United States wants.

In response to a question about the decision on missile defence, he said: "This issue, in some ways, can be construed as the direct result of letting fester some of the transactional issues."

Thus, we feel that our cynicism regarding Mr. McKenna's true agenda, even if it is well intentioned, is warranted based on past associations and past deeds that the attentive cannot ignore.


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