Stephen Harper shows leadership on softwood – Where’s Paul Martin?

If you’ve ever had the feeling that Paul Martin is a reluctant leader, (save his decade-long campaign to replace Chretien), if you’ve ever thought that he’d take a poll to figure out whether he likes butter or margarine on his white or whole wheat toast or bagel in the morning, your suspicions can be confirmed yet again.

Q: Where is the PM on softwood?

A: He’s watching as Stephen Harper steps up and provides tips on how to be a Prime Minister.

On US Ambassador David Wilkins declaring that the US would ignore a NAFTA ruling in favour of Canada, Harper said,

“I think the U.S. ambassador is way out of line … But a big part of the reason this has happened is the Liberal government has allowed communications with the Americans to break down entirely … The prime minister should be calling the president. He should be calling him now to make sure this is being dealt with at the highest levels … Canada has to be prepared to take a strong stand. But we also have to keep lines of communication open. It’s very difficult to have influence when you allow a relationship to break down … I don’t think there should be negotiation. I think the prime minister should call the president directly and I think he should indicate what measures Canada is prepared to take and what they could do together to move this situation forward. It’s up to the prime minister first of all to get in contact with the president to get the ball rolling.”

If you ever wanted leadership, there it is.

Paul Martin? He’s probably “very, very, something, something”…

Where’s Paul Martin’s leadership? Martin has not indicated whether or not the Liberal government will negotiate with the Americans. However, as Harper explains, this might be difficult due to our perennially contrarian stance with the Americans. One of Stephen Harper’s favourite talking points is that “we must stand shoulder to shoulder with the Americans in order to see eye to eye with them when me must”.

According to the National Post, Martin has explained that he’ll call the President “after the Liberal government has finished talking to the provinces and members of the softwood industry” and after looking “for further input and support from the negotiators of the original 1989 free trade agreement, including former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.”

The softwood lumber industry has been waiting a long time for answers and Paul Martin is still not prepared to give them. Stephen Harper is the only federal leader providing true leadership and he’s the only one that is standing up for Canadians.