HALIFAX, September 9, 2005 ( – The venomous attacks against the United States leadership and its citizens by brazen Liberal politicians using any excuse (Iraq, missile defence, mad-cow, softwood lumber) to assuage their seething hatred of American pro-life and pro-family policies by Bush-bashing, is beginning to have palpable effects.Â

The President of the United States seems to have less and less time and priority for Prime Minister Paul Martin, and given the strained relations, it’s no surprise suggests Conservative Leader Stephen Harper.

In an address to the Conservative Caucus Wednesday, Harper noted poignantly that “This government’s lack of competence and vision in the Canada-U.S. relationship has led Canada to lose influence and relevance with our most important trading partner. Now, we are threatened with having to have a passport to cross the border by 2008.”

Harper pointed out that the trade relationship between Canada and the US is essential for both countries.“There is simply no economic relationship in the world – or in the history of the world – that is as large and important as the Canada-U.S. trading relationship,” he said.“In 2003, two way trade between our two countries amounted to 645 billion Canadian dollars – over 1.2 million dollars per minute in trade.”

The Prime Minister, who has been woefully slow to react to the US Katrina disaster, was reminded that “A relationship as important and integrated as ours is with the United States cannot be based on treaties and laws alone. A mature and secure relationship is based on commitment, trust and clear communications. Treaties and laws are no substitute for good relationships.”

“Sadly,” continued Harper, “these elements have been allowed to deteriorate under the current Liberal government.”

Harper suggested that Martin’s lack of cordiality goes beyond sloppiness.“On ordinary matters of simple good relations this Liberal government has been oddly – and I must assume deliberately – distant with the Americans. Whether it’s 9-11, the BSE crisis or hurricane Katrina, they are always reluctant to simply pick up the phone (though never unwilling to stage the grand photo-op).”

Martin stressed that friendliness did not entail bowing to all requests.“Let me be clear here – the ways these decisions have been taken are far more damaging than the decisions themselves,” he said. But he accused Martin of saying ‘“no” in ways that foster the worst possible feelings in our relationship.” In fact on the softwood lumber issue Harper said he would be firm in insisting that unfair trade duties be repaid.

Harper gave several examples of previous Canadian Prime Ministers who, as he put it, “have been capable of disagreeing with the Americans, for clear and honourable reasons, without their offices or caucuses exploding in anti-American ranting.”

Bottom line, said Harper, “This kind of bungling is unacceptable. When we face a crisis . . . we must have a Prime Minister who can call the President and get that call returned in less than three weeks.”

  See the full speech: