Mar. 1, 2005

Standing up to U.S. will gain us respect abroad

Standing up to U.S. will gain us respect abroad

By Linda McQuaig

02/27/05 'Toronto Star' - - It's now clear how the Bush administration sees things: Canadian sovereignty exists only at its pleasure. If we do what Washington wants, we retain our sovereignty. If we don't, all bets are off.

This is what U.S. ambassador Paul Cellucci clarified last week in his angered response to Paul Martin's announcement that Canada won't join the U.S. missile defence scheme. Cellucci noted that Washington would simply deploy its anti-missile system over Canadian airspace anyway, and expressed puzzlement over Canada's decision to 'in effect, give up its sovereignty.'

No doubt the Soviets felt similar puzzlement as they rolled into Czechoslovakia in 1968. What's with these crazy Czechs? Don't they get it? All they have to do is co-operate with Moscow and they can retain their 'sovereignty.'

Canadian advocates of missile defence have long argued that joining the scheme is the best way to protect our sovereignty — the logic apparently being that Washington is going to intrude into our airspace anyway, so it's better if we look like that's what we wanted all along. It's only rape if you resist.

Fortunately the Martin government, under enormous pressure from the public, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois, ignored this convoluted logic. After months of dithering on the issue, Ottawa showed surprising spunk last week in standing up to the American empire — a spunkiness that will only improve our standing in a world increasingly alarmed by U.S. unilateralism. "

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