In response to the rebuke, Paul Martin says:
"I will defend Canada -- period. I will defend the Canadian position, and I will defend our values, and I will defend our interests against anybody."But he's not defending Canada. He's defending himself -- and what's more, he's defending himself with yet another lie.
Martin is trying to pretend that the envoy was calling him out for talking about the softwood lumber issue:
He (Martin) acknowledged he has been critical on two issues -- the U.S. refusal to accept a panel decision in favour of Canada in the softwood-lumber dispute, and the Americans' foot-dragging on climate control. However, he denied he's raising the issues to score political points.
"The position that I have taken on softwood lumber -- that the Americans ought to honour their agreement [in the Free Trade Agreement] -- is a position that I took, that I have taken for some time, long before any election campaign was contemplated."Now, please correct me if I'm wrong -- but since the beginning of the election campaign, I haven't heard Paul Martin mention softwood lumber -- not until now. And now it is only being brought up to deflect from the fact that last week he very publically insulted the US on the global stage at the UN conference on global climate change.
Not once after the PM's quote in this news article, nor in any other coverage I've read, does the reporter make his/her way back to the point that Martin's speech on the US environmental record created this animus in the first place. They just let him blither on about softwood lumber as though it had something to do with anything.
None of the quotes I've seen from Wilkins' speech even contain the words: softwood lumber. Wilkins made no defense of the US's actions or stands on this -- but he vigorously pumped their environmental record compared to ours. But Martin's comments to the media in response to this speech shows he is trying to dodge the bullet. He's pretending that Wilkins' remarks to the Canadian Club were in response to something Martin might have said back in October about softwood lumber -- and much of the media coverage has just let that slip by as though it were true.
Surprisingly, the Globe & Mail editoral makes the point well.
The US envoy has no place in our politics, but Martin doesn't deserve a pass for the very public ripping he gave them last week. He used innuendo, lies and evasion to promote a negative image of the US on the world stage. It might get him the votes he wanted, but it has also drawn negative attention from the US -- not just government, but the public as well. That's hardly the way to defend Canada's interests.
If Paul Martin is going to defend Canada's interests, who is going to defend our interests from him?