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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama is Coming

While the actual date has not been set, President Obama is coming to Canada for a formal visit, "sooner rather than later." He has promised a visit to Canada which will be his first foreign visit.

Traditionally, Canada is the first foreign trip for American presidents. George W. Bush didn't come either out of ignorance or as a snub. He went to Mexico instead. I guess from Texas (part of greater Mexico:) ), America's southern neighbour seems to be the most important neighbour.

I assume George W. Bush just did not know. After all he did not know the name of Canada's Prime Minister before he became President, even if then. Canada is very important to the United States. It is the biggest supplier of energy to the US, oil, gas and electricity. It is a stable well govern neighbour along the US northern frontier. Canada has been a close ally over the decades on most issues, ( much to my chagrin, often). Canada is also the biggest trading partner of the US. And, of course, we have taken in American citizens not welcome in the US from United Empire Loyalists, to slaves and draft doggers and deserters and others throughout our shared history. So it is fitting that the US should acknowledge Canada's importance by having the new President visit here first.

There are issues of concern between Canada and the US that may come up during the Obama Presidency. The NAFTA free trade deal may be revisited if Obama has his way. Hopefully, this time Canada will negotiate a deal that leaves us with sovreignty and control over our oil and gas industry. With the Arctic rapidly losing its year round ice cover, Canada may have to defend it's sovreignty over the arctic archipelago and northwest passage, which the US does not recognize.
Hopefully, issues over the southern border can be rethought so that it is less ridgidly controlled. The American inordinate fear of terrorism and an inability to differentiate between the problems of the Canadian and Mexican borders, has complicated the easy transborder flow of Canadians and Americans , which historically has been enjoyed. I am sure Canada's role in Afghanistan will be a topic of discussion. I think there are reasons for concern that the American increased military involvement in that country may draw Canada into their war effort which may be different from the goals of Canada and NATO, particularly spreading the war into Pakistan.

The one issue I hope gets settled with Obama's visit is the repatriation of Omar Khadr to Canada. Hopefully, Obama will pressure Canada into taking Khadr off the US hands. I am sure he does not want it on his record that his administration prosecuted a child for war crimes particularly when both Canada and the US are signers of international agreements and UN protocols to treat child soldiers as victims in need of rehabilitation and not prosecution for crimes. Omar Kadhr should have been sent home 7 years ago and not have had to be tortured at the hand of the US.

I hope Obama asks Canada to take some other prisoners at the Guantanamo Prison Camp. Several European countries have already agreed to take in some of these victims of the "war on terror". Canada has been silent. The one group I would like to see Canada take in are the Uyghars, the Muslims from Western China. They were declared innocent and no longer enemy combatants two years ago, yet they remain imprisoned. They do not want to return to China where they will be persecuted and no country has been willing to take the final group. Apparently, Canada has considered doing so previously. It is time Canada stepped up made a firm commitment to help this group.

On a lighter side, I hope President Obama will get a chance to meet the creators of the Blackberry, Mike Lazarides and Jim Balsillie, which is the Canadian device for which he has a great affection. A visit to the plant of Research in Motion in Waterloo, Ontario is probably out of the question.

Also, It would also be nice if he were presented with the 50 songs the CBC contest chose as the best Canadian songs for his playlist on his ipod.

I am sure President Obama will be warmly welcomed in Canada as he is much admired here across the whole political spectrum. We wish him and the US well during his Presidency.

11 Comments:

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Anvilcloud said...

He's doing the right thing in coming here.

 
At 10:03 PM, Blogger KGMom said...

I didn't know the creators of the Blackberry were Canadian. From all I've read, President Obama is VERY attached to his.

 
At 12:44 AM, Blogger Gretchen said...

Obama will be a much different President. He's already trying to undo the untold damage done by the bush.

 
At 1:05 AM, Blogger Gattina said...

I am sure that Bush didn't know about Canada, he didn't know anything about geography ! Poor Obama, the whole world is counting on him now ! Europe too !

 
At 1:39 PM, Blogger judie said...

No excuses for Bush! Shoes to him! He brought American way, way down and I hope and pray that America will once again be loved now that Obama is in office. I read your previous post Philip. I recall having an ice man. We lived in the country and I remember my brother running after the truck and trying to jump on the back to hitch a ride. We always got the little chunks that fell off and ate them. Florida was HOT in the summer and these ice chunks were delightful! When we moved to the city, we had a regular fridge. My grandmother had a milkman. She had a little box on the side of her house where the milkman could put in the two quarts, and she could open it from the inside to get them out. We also have smart meters, where the meter reader no longer has to come inside the fence to read the meter. However, it is not set as yours is, to benefit either the customer or the power company. Just an electronic reader! Take care.

 
At 3:50 PM, Blogger Navigator said...

"Traditionally Canada is the first foreign visit for a U.S. President"?

Your memory is different from mine.

Since the first U.S. President to ever visit a foreign country while in office (Theodore Roosevelt), the only U.S. President I can recall making Canada his first visit was John F. Kennedy.

 
At 8:58 AM, Blogger possum said...

Bush went to Mexico first because he spoke the language???? Not Spanish, exactly - Tex-Mex, maybe, and we discovered, not English...
OK, that was bad - but tell me its not the truth!
I do hope things work well between the 2 countries.
From Yahoo Canada News - Four of the last seven U.S. presidents have chosen Canada for their first international visit.
One of my favorite quotes was Trudeau's answer to Nixon which I will not quote here. Anybody remember it? I have quoted Trudeau any number of times! LOL!
Anyway, I do hope things work out. I do believe Obama will do his best. I am optimistic for the first time in 8 years!

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Could the quote mentioned above be

“Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.”

 
At 9:46 AM, Blogger possum said...

Ummmmm, noooooooooo... It had to do with a name Nixon called him...

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger Navigator said...

Well, if that is what Yahoo News says, I will go with it. I plead two things: I am of an age where relying on memory is hazardous, and JFK was a charismatic figure in his day and that memory of his visit is still loud and clear. I can still picture the front page of the now defunct Toronto Telegram with the headline and picture of his arrival in Ottawa.

Perhaps I didn't think all that much of his successors, so I don't remember their visits.

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger Janet said...

Bush is an idiot and we will be paying for that idiocy well into the next 2 decades. Please forgive us, especially those of us who never voted for him.
I hope President Obama has time to see a good deal of Canada. What a lovely place, and I hope to get back myself someday.

 

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