U.S. Ambassador issues warning to Canadian Liberals

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OTTAWA, Ont. — Anti-U.S. comments by the federal Liberals could do long-term damage to relations with the U.S., Ambassador David Wilkins warned today.

In a speech to the Canadian Club in Ottawa, Wilkins said: “It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and criticize your friend and your number one trading partner constantly. But it is a slippery slope, and all of us should hope that it doesn’t have a long-term impact on the relationship.”

While Wilkins didn’t use Prime Minister Paul Martin’s name during his speech, observers felt the remarks were directed at the P.M. thanks to his recent hard-line approach towards the U.S. concerning the softwood lumber dispute and the country’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto Accord.

On the subject of mandatory passports for Canadian visitors to the U.S., Wilkins said the U.S. will try to minimize the impact on Canadians, but he said they must understand the U.S. mindset.

“Bottom line: Canada should understand that 9-11 forever changed my country,” Wilkins said.

– With files from CP

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