My school pal, Austin, breezed in today from Ottawa for coffee and biscotti. It was good catching up on things. We were at Trinity College at the same time eons ago. I can still see him in my mind's eye cycling across the quad, his college scarf flying....
We talked about everything, including the political situation across the border (he works for the government). He reminded me that the largest U.S. mission abroad is in Canada-- 1,200 people at the embassy in Ottawa, plus all the U.S. trade, immigration, customs people in offices all over (since we are the U.S. 's biggest trading partner). And that the U.S. Veep makes several trips a year to Ottawa to do business, but Dick Cheney has not been, not even once. He is the first since Richard Nixon's day not to fulfill this role. We've kind of been left hanging, with all kinds of issues needing to be discussed, resolved, whatever.
And that Canadians tend to like the "working" presidents, the ones who do the work they're supposed to be doing, tending to home matters among other things, which is why Canada liked Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and was hoping Al Gore would be elected because, he too, does the work. Ottawa's relationship with the White House, my friend explained, has always been in the details.
Austin also mentioned a book I must find and read, The Two Georges, written by two Americans with a what-if premise. What if the War of 1778 had taken another turn and the continent became more like Canada. King George of England shaking hands with Prime Minister George Washington of North America!!