Monday, May 23, 2011

Wikileaks: US and Canadian militaries like a marriage


09OTTAWA779 2009-10-06 16:09 2011-04-28 00:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Ottawa
DE RUEHOT #0779/01 2791609
O 061609Z OCT 09
E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. Since presentation of credentials on

October 2, Ambassador has actively engaged top Canadian

political leaders, including the Prime Minister, to

underscore the central importance of this highly successful

bilateral relationship. He will begin a series of provincial

travels on October 6. End Summary.

¶2. (U) In a ceremony at Rideau Hall on October 2,

Ambassador Jacobson formally presented his credentials to

Governor General Michaelle Jean, along with new Ambassadors

from Azerbaijan and Norway and the new Head of Delegation of

the European Commission. In her remarks, the Governor

General praised the close and highly successful relationship

between Canada and the U.S., built on shared values and

cultures as well as trade and people-to-people contacts. She

underscored that "we build things together." There was

extensive and unusual television coverage of the event and

the Governor General's remarks -- which, officials from the

Department of Foreign Affairs and International (DFAIT) Trade

noted, she personally re-wrote -- as well as the Ambassador's

brief press conference afterward.

¶3. (SBU) Prime Minister Stephen Harper received the

Ambassador within two hours of the ceremony at Rideau Hall in

his official office opposite Parliament Hill for a 30 minute

meeting, joined by his chief of staff and senior foreign and

defense policy advisor. There was

a brief photo opportunity, which received widespread coverage

in the Canadian media. The PM noted that his government had

moved the relationship to the strategic level and avoided

allowing the irritants to dominate. He commented that

President Obama,s huge popularity with Canadians makes it

easier for Canada to work with the United States. On "Buy

America," PM Harper said the government is very upset at the

recent CBC reports and has no idea who talked to CBC or

whether the CBC reporter simply made the story up. PM Harper

and the Ambassador agreed that the issue had a greater

political impact than economic. PM Harper said he would very

much welcome having the President or First Lady attend the

Winter Olympics, while acknowledging that it is for the U.S.

Olympic Committee officially to invite the President. PM

Harper discussed in some detail climate change issues and the

upcoming Copenhagen summit. He said he wants to coordinate

policies closely with the U.S. and that he is anxious for

Canada to be part of the U.S. debate over climate change and

energy security (and equally anxious not to be part of the

health care debate).

¶4. (SBU) In back-to-back meetings at DFAIT on October 5,

the Ambassador called on Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon and

International Trade Minister Stockwell Day. FM Cannon

described bilateral relations as "very warm, friendly, and

very productive," while underscoring that, with the new

Administration, the "U.S. had changed the checkerboard,"

enabling all to view the world from a different perspective.

He praised Secretary Clinton and cited the high respect with

which she is held by her counterparts. He encouraged the

Secretary to visit Ottawa soon, hopefully by the end of this

year. He welcomed the Ambassador's plans to travel

extensively throughout Canada during his first months. FM

Cannon raised the Arctic, noting that the subject had also

come up during PM Harper's recent meeting with the President,

and cited the Beaufort Sea as an issue to settle as soon as

Qand cited the Beaufort Sea as an issue to settle as soon as

possible. The Ambassador emphasized his willingness to

facilitate discussions and encouraged the FM to contact him

at any time. The FM and Ambassador expressed satisfaction

over the new architecture for the G-8 and G-20. The FM also

reiterated PM Harper's remarks that U.S. security was as

important to Canadians as to Americans, and promised that

"whenever the U.S. is attacked, Canada is attacked." The

Ambassador praised Canadian support for the U.S. as well as

its many services and sacrifices, which he described as

"critically important." In a separate meeting, Minister Day

noted the close working relationship that he has with USTR

Kirk. The Ambassador emphasized his desire to work together

with Canada to resolve or lessen some of the trade irritants

that are a part of our much broader bilateral partnership.

Day focused briefly on the "Buy America" controversy and

noted that he was responsible for persuading the Canadian

municipalities to suspend their planned retaliatory actions.

Day noted that there had been progress in last week's

discussions between USTR and Canadian officials. The

Ambassador asked Day and his deputies if legislation will be

necessary for the provinces and municipalities actually to

join the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. The response

was that the need for legislation would vary by province, but

that all municipalities, under Canadian law, were bound by

provincial authority.

¶5. (SBU) Also on October 5, the Ambassador met with Public

Safety Minister Peter Van Loan in his office on Parliament

Hill. The Ambassador emphasized, and Minister Van Loan

concurred, that achieving trade and security is important to

both governments. Van Loan made clear that he does not view

this as a zero sum game, stating that he was looking for a

legal option that would allow Canada to share information

with the U.S. to meet the requirements for Secure Flight. He

said that investing in a separate but equal system would not

make financial sense, and that it would be unlikely to meet

U.S. standards, anyway. The Ambassador assured Minister Van

Loan that he likes to find workable solutions ("conclude

deals," in lawyer-speak) whenever possible. Van Loan raised

Canada's strong desire for a unique shared port of entry on

U.S. soil to replace Canada's Cornwall Island crossing on

Akwesasne Mohawk territory that has been closed since June

¶2009. Van Loan acknowledged that this was a "big ask" and

that he and DHS Secretary Napolitano would be discussing it

again in November. Van Loan also briefly raised "Buy

America," acknowledging that it had been blown out of

proportion. He nonetheless encouraged the Ambassador to do

all that he could to put the issue to rest, commenting that

this would be how the Canadian public would measure his first

year in Ottawa.

¶6. (SBU) The Ambassador later met on October 5 with Defence

Minister Peter MacKay in his Parliamentary office. The

Minister and the Ambassador each spoke of the exceptional

relationship between the U.S. and Canadian militaries,

calling it the "closest in the world." With regard to

Afghanistan, Minister MacKay acknowledged that Canada will be

wrestling with its role, in part based on decisions made by

NATO allies and the U.S. He pointed to the "enablers" made

available by the U.S. to the Canadian Forces in Kandahar,

saying that this married-up approach helped make the Canadian

commitment possible. The Ambassador recognized the sacrifice

and bravery of the Canadian Forces and lamented that some

unnamed NATO allies have not "stepped up" as Canada has. He

also expressed a desire to visit U.S. and Canadian Forces in

Kandahar in order to gain a greater understanding of the

circumstances on the ground. The Minister pointed to a major

security conference that Canada will host in Nova Scotia in

November, and expressed the hope of using the occasion to

showcase our close bilateral cooperation, notably, the

"significant" responsibilities that the U.S. and Canada share

with regard to the security of North America. MacKay

indicated some dissatisfaction that European allies sometimes

overlook Canada's significant security contributions, both

throughout the world and in the "home game" of North America.

¶7. (SBU) The Ambassador will be in Montreal and Quebec City

October 6-8 to meet with provincial leaders and business

people, and will then travel to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and

Mantiboba October 12-20, before returning to Montreal October

20-21 for the Canadian American Business Council meeting.

Visit Canada,s North American partnership community at /


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