Tuesday, June 07, 2011

WikiLeaks : US bid to "shore up" Harper from the day he was elected

An embassy cable written by US Ambassador David Wilkins the day the Cons were first elected in 2006 suggests Harper would be useful in advancing the US agenda for Canada and that giving him " a success story" like the softwood lumber deal would "shore up" his ability to stay in office without appearing to "sell out to the Americans".
It's pretty well a quid pro quo blueprint for every Canada-US initiative Harper has dutifully followed ever since.
Excerpted :
The election of a new government, after thirteen years of Liberal rule, presents opportunities for advancing U.S. interests in such areas as law enforcement and continental security, and in developing Canada as a more useful partner in the Hemisphere and around the globe.
Significantly, the socially liberal core values of the opposition are more in line with most Canadians than the minority Conservatives, weakening their mandate even further. Given a relatively weak mandate and tenuous hold on power, Harper will move deliberately but cautiously to get a few successes under his belt before doing anything even remotely bold.
Relations with the U.S. will be tricky for Harper, who along with many members of his caucus has an ideological and cultural affinity for America. But as he has done already with many of his core social and fiscal values, he will simply have to sideline this affinity in order to not be painted as "selling out to the Americans" to a skeptical Canadian public. I know Harper will be warm and cordial in his dealings with the U.S., but he also has to demonstrate that he has the ability to advance Canada's interests with Washington, and he may feel compelled to step back from gestures that could be construed as a close embrace.
That said, I see a real opportunity for us to advance our agenda with the new government. I recommend early on that we look for an opportunity to give Harper a bilateral success story by resolving an irritant such as the Devil's Lake filter system or entering into good faith negotiations to reach a solution on softwood lumber. Early success on a bilateral issue will bolster Harper and allow him to take a more pro-American position publicly without as much political risk.
Another area where the new government will seek engagement will undoubtedly be border security. Finding a few high-profile SPP-type deliverables to improve cross border movement of goods and services would help our image here as well as shore up Harper's credentials. Laying this groundwork would then open the way for progress on cross-border law enforcement initiatives of interest to us, such as enhanced information-sharing, joint maritime operations, and more robust counter-narcotics efforts.
Enhanced info sharing on Canadians, the shiprider program, the imported war on drugs.
On other issues, Harper is committed to increasing spending on the armed forces and will do so, making the Canadian Armed Forces a more capable and deployable force; we have little to contribute to this debate and should stay out of it. He has also suggested that the missile defense decision could be re-examined.

With regards to our transformational agenda, there will be numerous opportunities for engagement. However, I suggest quietly working such cooperation with the new government through official, non-public channels, and that we focus on a handful of priority areas -- keeping Canada in the game in Afghanistan as the mission turns more difficult and possibly more bloody; continuing to work together to keep the pressure on Iran; increasing support to the new government in Haiti, possibly even taking on more of a leadership role there.
And right about now I'm guessing you're remembering some of Harper's more bizarre outbursts on Iran, his caginess about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, and Canada's new "leadership role in Haiti" where DFAIT is buying up property to house an infusion of Canadian officials.
Back to Wilkins' cable :
"We're going to be recommending senior level visits and consultations on foreign policy issues to help bring Harper and his new, generally inexperienced team into the fold as more useful partners.
I look forward to helping connect the dots with the new government so we can effectively advance our agenda."
Afghanistan, Iran, Haiti, enhanced information sharing, war on drugs, joint maritime operations, security perimeter ... There's also a section on Canada "engaging more actively in other hemispheric trouble spots such as Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba."

Has Canada done anything independent of this cable under Harper?

David Emerson, who crossed the floor to the Cons to implement the soft wood lumber deal a week after he was elected as a Liberal in Vancouver, is mentioned in a second Wilkins cable just after the deal was signed with USTR Ambassador Susan Schwab eight months later.
Here they are quoted discussing International Traffic in Arms Regulations, a US law which proscribes Canadian dual nationals from some countries from work on the arms deals that comprise 40% of Canadian defense procurement from the US, and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative  :
"It would be better, she continued, if we could look at issues as if there were a common border surrounding Canada and the U.S., rather than as an issue caused by the Canadian-U.S. border. Emerson agreed. He said that policies such as the WHTI are a "running sore" in the bilateral relationship and are inconsistent with policies to integrate the Canadian and U.S. economies to the maximum extent possible."
So, again, Steve, we ask : How's that US security perimeter deal with Barry coming along?


Beijing York said...

We need a "Not a puppet master" anti-Harper campaign. Not an original thought in his head.

Steve said...

I wonder how much aid and comfort Karl Rove and Frank Luntz gave pro bono to the Conservatives?

Just remember we make more revenue from the lottery than we do from Oil Royalties, damm that NEP.

West End Bob said...

"We're going to be recommending senior level visits and consultations on foreign policy issues to help bring Harper and his new, generally inexperienced team into the fold as more useful partners.

I look forward to helping connect the dots with the new government so we can effectively advance our agenda."

And thus far, it's been pretty effectively advanced. Can't wait for the "details" of the stevie & barry deal to be released.



Maybe I can, 'cuz it's gonna be a LONG wait with very few details . . . .

RossK said...


Mess'rs Rove and Luntz don't do ANYTHING for free.


What, exactly, is this WHTI that Neville....errrr....I mean Mr. Emerson referred to as a 'running sore'?

Anonymous said...

Wiikileaks has said, the N.A.U. is on the way. This has been Harper's number one, on his agenda. Harper has already reneged on his campaign promises. The U.S. has been waiting for Harper's majority. They will start the N.A.U. in small increments at first.

The American citizens are dead set against the N.A.U. They despise Harper. They say, Harper's election win was rigged. They say, there is a petition, to prosecute Harper and Peter MacKay for war crimes and crimes against humanity. I did find that petition.

The U.S. people fear, being overrun by Mexicans and Canadians need to fear that also. We will be the Mexcanaricans, our currency will be, the Amero dollar.

All the other crap, the U.S. and Canada are saying, is just that, crap. A reason to implement the N.A.U. is what they are looking for. The NAFTA highway, is soon to be in Canada, as well.

The giant, wealthiest corporations in the world, own all the resources in the world. Not any resources, of any country's, benefit their citizens. Follow the money, it sure in the hell doesn't land in the peoples wallets.

Nik said...

Canada's despicable "leadership role" in Haiti goes back at least to 2004 (if not 2000) when we sent troops in to depose Haiti's democratically elected government. And it's not just Harper that likes to appease the American Empire:

“there is a limit to how much we can constantly say no to the political masters in Washington. All we had was Afghanistan to wave. On every other file we were offside. Eventually we came onside on Haiti, so we got another arrow in our quiver."
- Bill Graham, Former Canadian Foreign Minister in January 2007 interview cited in Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang, The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (Toronto, ON: Viking Canada, 2007), pp. 126-27

Jean Saint Vil's excellent piece is the best sum-up of Canada's sordid actions in Haiti:


On recent Wikileaks about Haiti:


Anonymous said...

This wasn't that surprising unfortunately. What really caught my eye was the wording of the sops they might offer to allow Harper to keep a semblance of Canadiana:
"we look for an opportunity to give Harper a bilateral success story by resolving an irritant such as ... entering into good faith negotiations to reach a solution on softwood lumber."

The Ambassador is saying, IMHO, that any negotiations that the US had been involved in with respect to softwood lumber previous to this memo were not in good faith.

And they wonder why we worry about their influence here.

Alison said...

Peter : "entering into good faith negotiations to reach a solution on softwood lumber."

Yes. Also the throw 'em a SPP bone comment.

Nik's links on Haiti: Jean Saint Vil and Atlantic Wire

"And it's not just Harper"
No, it certainly isn't but these are the cables we have to go on and the PM we currently have, and even if it's only just one ambassador's take on him, Steve does come off looking very much the made man here.

Anon : Links please, next time you comment here. Specifics matter. Sorry to be harsh about it but it's difficult enough to interest Canadians in the actual real and serious prospects of deep integration without muddying it up by including the bizarre and unsubstantiated hysterics of Glen Beck and the Birchers et al in the mix as well.

Ross : You're right - I should have included a WHTI link. Typical that Emerson would see passports as an impediment to accepting integration.

Bob, Steve, BY : And thus we become gradually acclimatized to the idea of becoming North Americans first - without ever knowing exactly what it is we are trading off in return.

Anonymous said...

No offence to you, Alison, but why am I only reading about this on a goddamn blog? Useless fucking media.


Alison said...

And that's why we blog, Ian ;-)

Actually Embassy Mag had a good piece up yesterday summarizing this last cable :
Was softwood lumber deal a gift so Harper government could be more pro-American?
"Even before Conservatives were elected, leaked cables show US was looking to influence new government on Americas, Afghanistan, cross-border initiatives."

Alison said...

Nik : For your files ...
Series from The Nation
WikiLeaks Haiti : The PetroCaribe Files
US, under pressure from Exxon and Chevron, interfere in oil agreement between Haiti and Venezuela that would save Haiti 10% of its budget

and : Let Them Live on $3/day
US leans on Haiti president not to raise minimum wage on behalf of US sweatshops in Haiti

Steve said...

Who thinks Harper should not be flying Goverment Jet to Boston to view a hockey game? A $100,000 plus bill that Harper will pay about $200 bucks for I am sure he is exempt for all the security fees cause he has his own security.

Respecting taxpayers dollars, NOT!

Ray said...

I wish this was released before the election.

Anonymous said...

Amen to that, Ray. Released 14 days too late. Not sure how many Canadians care though, thinking it either good for business or else inevitable anyway.
This is THE Canadian Wikileak yet nothing in the news about it.

btw Alison your post was #1 on Wikileaks today.

gterri said...

Send this sarticle to every Main Stream Media Outlet in the USA and Canada, all of you. Demand that it is placed on the evening main news programs. Facebook it. Blog it. And please Canadians, us American citizens are your cousins and we know that we need to purge our elected officials and try them for treason. People, get on your phones now to every Congress person and to demand to know who's agenda are they following - the New World Order or us citizens. If you are unfamiliar with the concept or have dismissed sloth idea of a New World Order, PLEASE start researching the Club of Rome and Bilderbergers. It will scare the living daylights out of you. There is no time to waste.

RossK said...

Thanks Alison.

And, I agree, this is why we blog.


Daniel G Sauve said...

Thumbs up to you Alison, keep up the good word!

Anonymous said...

The Canadian media are mostly, propaganda machines for the government. They totally ignore the plight of the citizens, and spread the government b.s. far and wide. We don't even know what an honest politician, or a fair media is. There is no such thing as good honest journalism and reporting anymore. They are a disgrace to their professions. They wouldn't even print a story that favored the people.

The Canadian people are absolutely on their own. None of the media, have ever taken up the cause for the citizens, not one.

The media in the U.S. is far more honest. Many times we Canadians, go to the U.S. papers and web sites, to learn the truth of what is going on in Canada. We have, pretty much a dictatorship regime in Canada.

Once governments allow corruption in their ranks, they are owned by the very corporations they have taken money from. Giant wealthy corporations, are who really governs, politicians are merely their mouthpieces.

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