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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Jack Layton long on platitudes; Ed Stelmach addresses Alberta’s interests: responses to Obama

Since I failed to get an interview with Jack Layton last night on Barack Obama's victory, I thought I would at least report what CTV got from the NDP leader:

Layton said he was there to share in the "history-making moment," but also because a "majority of Canadians share values that we see a majority of Americans expressing tonight."

He believes Tuesday night's election is a "transformational moment" in American politics.

"The American people have clearly said they want a new captain and they want to chart a new course," he said.

Layton said he hopes that Prime Minister Stephen Harper joins the "movement for change" that Obama represents as he works on a speech from the throne for Parliament's return on Nov. 18.

“History-making,” “transformational moment,” “movement for change” -- what CTV got were the expected platitudes from Layton.

No questions from CTV for Layton about Obama’s musings about renegotiating NAFTA?

No questions about Obama’s “surge” strategy for Afghanistan – a war Layton opposes?

Nothing about Obama’s enthusiasm for nuclear power, which Layton considers unsafe?

I’m sure Layton would rather not answer those questions as long as he’s trying to find Obama’s coattails, but isn’t it the media’s job to get beyond the “movement for change” rhetoric?

In a statement congratulating Obama on his win, Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, by contrast, directly addressed concerns that Obama might restrict imports of so-called dirty oil, including production from Alberta’s oilsands (an absurd threat given the relative tightness of global energy supplies and Alberta’s geopolitical advantages, by the way):

"We look forward to working with the new administration to build on our historically strong relationship with the U.S., our largest trading partner.

Alberta will continue to aggressively take the message forward that we are a secure and stable supplier of energy, which is developed in an environmentally responsible manner.

We are ideally positioned to serve the energy needs of the United States, and we look forward to continuing a partnership that is mutually beneficial.”

I’ll congratulate Stelmach for directly addressing Alberta’s interests in his statement -- and for leaving out the saccharine rhetoric about this being a history-making, transformational moment of change.

The election of America’s first black president and the hope for a post-racial political era is certainly history making and worth celebrating, as our associate editor Terrence Watson has so ably noted here – but other than that, Americans have elected another politician with too much faith in the power of big government to cure the world’s ills.

That’s not change I can believe in.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 5, 2008 in U.S. politics | Permalink

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In a statement congratulating Obama on his win, Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, by contrast, directly addressed concerns that Obama might restrict imports of so-called dirty oil, including production from Alberta’s oilsands...............
Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 5, 2008

So what if the Americans won't buy it. The Chinese will.

Posted by: The Stig | 2008-11-05 5:18:58 PM


Taliban Jack will find something to complain about in Obama. He's an Ontarian, and Toronto person, and they're never happy.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2008-11-05 5:20:40 PM


A Majority of Americans? Sounds like a little bit of hyperbole. I'd wager that many of those who voted for Obama had no idea what he stands for or who he really is. The results for Barr tell me that a slim majority may not have been a popular majority at all.

Posted by: DML | 2008-11-05 8:25:18 PM



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