by GORDON GIFFIN
The Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, Aug. 01 2012, 2:00 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Jul. 31 2012, 5:02 PM EDT
In recent weeks, I have watched with puzzlement the commentary from some observers in Canada that the quality of the current Canada-U.S. relationship is poor. Some have gone on to assign responsibility for that alleged circumstance to President Barack Obama. I disagree.
I have been observing this relationship for decades and have been actively involved in the issues being discussed for more than 15 years. By definition, any assessment of the current relationship is in relative, not absolute, terms. In this analysis, people are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts.
Lyndon Johnson and Lester Pearson had a strained relationship. Richard Nixon and Pierre Trudeau didn’t speak. Jimmy Carter never travelled to Canada as president, and George W. Bush cancelled his first bilateral trip to demonstrate his frustration. In comparison, Mr. Obama made his first foreign trip to Canada, within weeks of his inauguration. He and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have met both in the White House and around the world more than any two of our leaders in history over three years. Again, facts are persistent things.