Did Martin orchestrate spat with Washington?

Kate and I have been investigating a tip that she received that suggests that Paul Martin did in fact orchestrate the recent fight between himself and the Bush administration. The proof may lie in the Liberal ads.

Consider the following timeline:
December 5th: The Liberals release three ads on their website. (1, 2, 3)

December 7th – Paul Martin at Montreal climate change conference: “To the reticent nations, including the United States, I say this: There is such a thing as a global conscience, and now is the time to listen to it, now is the time to join with others in the global community”

December 8th – Canadian ambassador to the US, Frank McKenna (a Liberal) reportedly receives a “dressing down” from the Bush administration over Martin’s comments on December 7th.

Kate notes: Norm Spector provides analysis from David Frum disputing this rebuke of McKenna.

“…the story of White House reaction to that speech turns out to have been wildly overhyped. The White House official who met with ambassador McKenna on Friday was not the Vice-President, not the National Security Adviser, not even the National Security Council’s Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs: It was the head of the Council on Environmental Quality … Nor had McKenna been “summoned”: He had requested the meeting himself.

December 13th (morning) – US Ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins: “It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner”

December 13th (afternoon) – Paul Martin: Let me simply say to anyone who wants to question what I have been saying, beginning with (Conservative Leader) Stephen Harper, that I am the prime minister of this country, that our position on climate change will be determined by the government of Canada, that the fact is that we do expect our partners to honour their agreements — and I will defend Canada. Period.

December 16th – Liberals release new ads on their website (4, 5).

Here is the transcript of the 4th Liberal ad:

Keith White: “I think Paul Martin’s doing a fantastic job representing our interests… in America”

Neil Dhalla (Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla’s brother): “Paul Martin definitely has the ability to stand up to Mr. Bush”

Art Cowie: “Paul Martin’s taking a very strong stand on the lumber situation”

Bardish Chagger: “He has protected Canadians’ interests, he has fought for our softwood lumber.”

Nathan Van Beselacre: “It’s important to have good relations with our neighbours, but when there’s a problem you have to deal with it diplomatically. I feel he’s done so.”

This commercial seems reactionary to the events set in motion by Paul Martin’s hypocritical scolding of the US on their greenhouse gas emissions on December 7th.

However, the fourth ad (released Dec 16th) was filmed on the same day as second ad released on Dec 5th.

(click on pictures to enlarge)

Dec 5th ad #2 (click for video)

Dec 16th ad #4 (click for video)

The positioning of the parked cars are the same and the guys are wearing the same clothes in both commercials.

Dec 5th ad #2 (click for video)

Dec 16th ad #4 (click for video)

Note the pattern of the puddles over Dhalla’s shoulder. Also, check out the time on the clock in the background (ad 4 was filmed 7 minutes after ad 2)

Dec 5th ad #3 (click for video)

Dec 16th ad #4 (click for video)

Same clothes, same rainy day.

The ads obviously were filmed on the same day and sometime before December 5th.

The Liberal braintrust obviously thought that clips of “ordinary Canadians” (er, Liberals) would be required defending what would be future rhetoric of Paul Martin taking on George W. Bush and the USA.

If the recent diplomatic row with Washington was merely part of a partisan ploy to gain anti-american votes (as many observers have suggested), does the timing of the filming of these ads further confirm that the Liberals were preparing to sour Canadian-US relations for electoral gain?

Are these ordinary Liberals privy to any other electoral strategies that will affect international relations (or stock markets)?