this oughta help

I'm not at all well versed on the topic of Canadian-American political relations, but Canadians seem to care about it a lot, so it must be more important than I realize. It's probably something I'll understand more after living in Canada for a time.

Meanwhile, ALPF sent me this Globe and Mail story:
The apparent front-runner to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada knows President George W. Bush extremely well, but relatively little about his neighbour to the north.

David Wilkins, a 58-year-old former lawyer and long-time Speaker of the South Carolina legislature, is the U.S. President's pick to replace the departed Paul Cellucci, according to published reports in his home state.

The job would be a reward for nearly two decades of political spade-work in South Carolina -- first for Mr. Bush's father, George H. W. Bush, and then for the current President.

Mr. Wilkins has spent weekends with his family at Camp David, the U.S. presidential retreat in Thurmont, Md., and attended White House Christmas parties. He has also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Mr. Bush's two presidential runs, and was a key architect of the President's big electoral wins in the state -- in the 2000 primary, the 2000 presidential election and last November as the Bush-Cheney state campaign chairman.


In a follow-up to the quality of life survey I wrote about earlier, ALPF has pointed out another study showing Canadians to be very happy with their lot:
Many Canadians are content with the current state of affairs, according to a poll by L├ęger Marketing. 54 per cent of respondents say they are very happy, and 42 per cent are somewhat happy.

In last year’s United Nations (UN) Human Development Survey, Canada was listed as the fourth best country in the world to live in. Norway, Sweden and Australia held the top three spots. Canada currently has the highest life expectancy in the world at 79 years.
I haven't found the US equivalent yet. But I'm looking forward to adding to those Canadian numbers!


Rognar said...

I have read estimates that 1 in 4 jobs in Canada depend, directly or indirectly, on trade with the US. Healthy trade with the US means the difference between Canada being a First World country or a Third World country. So yes, Canada-US relations are very important.

As for the appointment of the new ambassador, it is pretty typical for this administration. After John Bolton for US ambassador to the UN and Paul Wolfowitz for head of the World Bank, it is not surprising that an apparently-unqualified candidate would be selected as US ambassador to Canada.

laura k said...

When you put it that way, I do see the importance. When you say First World v Third World, you're not exaggerating for effect?

You're right, this appointment is right in line with SOP for this regime. I'd include Condi and a long list of domestic cabinet appointments and judge-ships. Qualifications mean nothing, loyalty is rewarded above all.

In fact, I'm learning (thanks to Seymour Hersh) that that's how intelligence and national security has been driven. Say what W & Dick want to hear, it gets through - if it doesn't please them, they'll ignore it and you'll be cut off.

Rognar said...

It's not much of an exaggeration. For example, in terms of dollar value, Canada's most lucrative export products are cars and automotive parts, yet unlike the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US, Canada has no domestic automakers. So how was this achieved? The Big Three automakers in the US wanted access to the UK car market. Since at the time, Canada had easier trade access to the UK by virtue of being a member of the Commonwealth, the US auto industry basically created the Canadian auto industry as a subsidiary. Canada went from having no domestic industry to being a major player simply so that the US industry could avoid tariffs. Now, the initial reasons for creating the so-called "AutoPact" have ceased to be, the benefits to Canada have persisted largely due to the prohibitive expense of dismantling them. Of course, if Canada proves too much of a nuisance to the US, there might be sufficient political will to do just that and the economy of Ontario would collapse overnight.

laura k said...

Interesting. This helps explain the Canadian semi-obsession with the US.

But it doesn't explain why I'm still posting and not working... Talk to you later.

Ned Nederlander said...

"I'm not at all well versed on the topic of Canadian-American political relations, but Canadians seem to care about it a lot, so it must be more important than I realize. It's probably something I'll understand more after living in Canada for a time."

It matters to us a whole lot more than it does to most Americans, because to the U.S. we are just one more in a long list of trading partners. But to Canada's exporters, the U.S. is the trading partner.

laura k said...

Yes, I see that now. Thanks for stopping by, Ryan. Are you a regular reader I've never met before?