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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Chretien's anti-Americanism

In a comment to my comment on Levant's column on Carolyn Parrish's idiot statement of last week, one person notes Jean Chretien's anti-Americanism was no more than a disagreement over Iraq. But Chretien's sympathetic biographer Lawrence Martin (and myself, in my forthcoming Jean Chretien: A Legacy of Scandal) demonstrate that Chretien was thoroughly anti-American. Indeed, Lawrence Martin says that Chretien relished ticking off the Americans (and Canadian business, too) with his decision not to take part in the liberation of Iraq. Chretien repeatedly spoke of Canada's superiority and sneered at American politics and culture. Chretien, I note in my book, led a party in which he allowed anti-American sentiments to flourish and even be routinely expressed (including by cabinet ministers). The most charitable spin one can put on Chretien's prejudice is that it may have been a pose, knowing how popular anti-Americanism can be in Canada, especially in Quebec and parts of Ontario (the base of the Liberal Party's support). I think it is a mistake to believe that Chretien was not anti-American or that many in the party he led did not share his view of our southern neighbours and largest trading partner -- almost as mistaken as the view that Paul Martin is pro-American and that the Liberal Party is significantly different than it was two years ago.

Posted by Paul Tuns on August 31, 2004 in Canadian Politics | Permalink


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Is Québec particularly anti-American? More so than Ontario? My impression was that anti-Americanism was an English Canadian neurosis, caused by the existential fear of being mistaken for an American. Québeckers don't have that problem.

There's no question that Québeckers tended to be strongly opposed to the invasion of Iraq; on the other hand, they strongly supported free trade.

Posted by: Marc | 2004-08-31 10:12:24 AM

I higher percentage of Quebecois teens think that Americans are evil than the ROC (64% for French Canadian teens, 40% for all of Canada). I think that is pretty strong evidence that Quebec is anti-American.

Posted by: Greg Staples | 2004-08-31 4:07:20 PM

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