Mr. Speaker, I want to continue on with my comments to the government House leader that Marian Meinen, our candidate for Perth—Middlesex, will certainly enjoy the speech I am making. I know she is looking forward to being in the House with all of us and she knows how important this debate is today.
All Canadians have seen the motion that we put before the House and will not understand if there is even one member who votes against this motion because it is such an important part of what is happening in Canada today.
Canadians are understandably confused as to why it should be necessary for the official opposition to endeavour to tell our American friends that the vast majority of Canadians want to remain friends. It worries Canadians that the present Prime Minister, as lame a duck as he is, is still capable of throwing more strain upon our enduring friendship.
Canadians are as bewildered as they are confused. They are wondering why the former finance minister, the member for LaSalle—Émard, is not speaking out against those who hurl insults at our American friends and their administration in Washington. We all know he so desperately wants to be Prime Minister that he will say anything anywhere if it will win him one more delegate vote. He will promise anything to anybody and then hit the dirt when the controversy arises. Canadians wonder why he will not at least speak out on the way his party has turned its back on our American allies. Is becoming leader of that party just too important for him to find the courage to speak out?
The member for LaSalle—Émard reminds me of a recent cartoon in the New Yorker magazine. I believe the caption beneath the cartoon describes perfectly the former finance minister's approach to politics. The caption reads, “It could go badly or it could go well, depending on whether it goes badly or well”. It sounds like something the present Prime Minister would say. Does that not capture in a few words the former finance minister? For that matter, would it not be an appropriate caption to stick under a photo of the present Prime Minister?
All of us in this party believe that the reckless statements of certain members of the House have strained our relations with the United States and we regret that. We can assure our friends to the south that the rabidly anti-American New Democratic Party does not speak for or even draw the attention of the majority of Canadians. I think they should know in the United States that the majority of voters in ridings held by Liberals are not rabidly anti-American; it is only their Liberal members of Parliament who are.
I do not think Americans have to be reminded, and the Liberals and New Democrats should remember, that in World War I 35,000 Americans joined the Canadian army. They joined before America entered the war in 1917. Again in World War II approximately 30,000 Americans joined the Canadian Forces before the U.S.A. entered the war. They came voluntarily because they wanted to do what was right. They wanted to fight for freedom against fascism. They wanted to help their good friends and neighbours who were going overseas to fight for democracy and freedom.
No matter how controversial it was and became, there were Canadians who went south to join the American military in the war in Vietnam. And who will ever forget what Canadian diplomats did to help six Americans escape from Iran? Ambassador Kenneth Taylor received the congressional gold medal for that from the president at the time, Ronald Reagan.
We know how the present Prime Minister likes to boast about how he takes no nonsense from the Americans. We just wish he had waited until he was long gone from office. Surely he could have spent his retirement years boasting instead of doing it now in public when some media still listen to what he says.
Here is another question for the member for LaSalle—Émard. The Prime Minister and so many of the member's leadership supporters in caucus believe that the Bush regime is illegitimate. Does he agree or does he disagree? It is time the former finance minister came out of the closet. Is he anti-American like so many of his supporters and the Prime Minister? Or does he agree with us that the Americans are not just our closest neighbours by virtue of our geography, but also our closest friends and allies by virtue of our history?
Mr. Speaker, I should mention that I am splitting my time with my colleague.
One would think that the ancient mariner might find time to let Canadians know what he thinks. If he ever does become prime minister, Canadians might like fair warning so they can develop new investment strategies. They will need those new strategies if the rabid and venomous anti-American rhetoric continues to spew from his supporters.
I think we want him to clear the air so we know that he has at least one opinion on our relations with the United States. Surely it is not too much to ask of a man who wants to be prime minister to have at least one opinion.
Then we have the incredible hulk of the New Democratic Party. He is one who thundered that the American administration is killing babies. We thought that party had decided to give that sort of foolish rhetoric a rest back in the 1960s. Of course, that is a party that never really left the 1960s and most of its members do not know there have been a few new books written since then.
Why are we concerned on this side? We think supporting our allies in a fight against brutal tyrants is the right thing to do, but we are also concerned abut the impact that Liberal anti-Americanism will have on Canadians and Canada.
Anecdotal evidence is coming in already. We are hearing of conventions being cancelled or preliminary discussions on conventions being halted. We are hearing of small businesses that do business in the United States getting the cold shoulder from longtime clients and friends.
We hear that hunting and fishing lodges are either getting cancellations or far fewer inquiries from the United States than in previous years.
We hope Canadians will remember it was the Liberals backed by their kissing cousins in the New Democratic Party who did not care what the economic fallout might be. They have vowed they will never join our allies and will continue hurling insults at them.
We hope Canadians employed in the auto manufacturing industry remember it was the Liberals and New Democrats they will have to thank for the disappearance of their jobs.
In my beautiful province, people involved in the softwood lumber industry are already feeling the pain and are wishing the Liberals and the New Democrats would zipper their lips.
Of course there are others, the victims of Saddam Hussein who are trying to understand why Liberals and New Democrats are siding with him instead of those who would run that brutal tyrant out of Iraq.
The business community is wondering why the natural resources minister is still in cabinet after his criticism of President Bush. They are certainly wondering why there has been no apology.
If the Liberals just once in their history would listen to Albertans, and I know that would be difficult for them, they would hear how much the comment of the natural resources minister concerns them. It was totally inappropriate and the Prime Minister knew it and knows it now. His problem is he does not have any other loyalists left to elevate to cabinet. It must be embarrassing for the Prime Minister just as it is for all Canadians. It would embarrass anyone to have to admit that they could not demote a cabinet minister because they did not have the talent or the loyalty in the rest of the caucus to produce a replacement.
We should also let the parents of the brave sons and daughters who are with the American military in Iraq know that Liberals and New Democrats do not speak for all Canadians. We in the Alliance share the worry and the grief of those American parents and our hearts go out to them. We cannot forget either that there are Canadian parents with children in the American military. Our prayers and thoughts are with them as well.
It is unfortunate that the present Prime Minister and the ones who aspire to replace him all share the same anti-American sentiment. It is not just unfortunate, it is shameful.
We have done our utmost on this side to let our American neighbours know that the anti-Americanism is not as rampant on this side of the border as the government would paint. We want them to know that it is only rampant among Liberal and New Democratic Party members of Parliament.
We apologize for that on behalf of all Canadians who cherish our friendship with the United States. We apologize to them as well that one of those parties has already elected an anti-American leader and that all of the candidates for the leadership of the Liberal Party are anti-American.
We insist that Americans understand one thing and bear it in mind: Canadians are not anti-American. It is only Liberals and New Democrats who are and we hope Canadians will remember that and remedy it in the next election.