Marlene Jennings, a member of Canada’s parliament, apologized recently for suggesting on March 8 that Canada should publicly embarrass the US in retaliation for perceived US failures to adhere to trade treaties. “Let’s embarrass the hell out of the Americans in front of other countries that they are attempting to negotiate with on new binational trade agreements,” she reportedly told a parliamentary committee. “[L]et’s just do it on the public scene.”
Jennings is the Canadian Parliament’s secretary for Canada-US relations.
There have been a number of squabbles between the two countries recently. Reuters suggested that whoever it was in the US that complained about the recent comments was probably already irked by Canada’s refusal two weeks ago to join the U.S. missile defense system. (It was kind of a surprise to me to find out that the reason that system doesn’t work is because Canada’s not helping, but whatever.) Canada was pre-irked by the US ban on imports of live Canadian cattle, and we are probably still steamed over the whole . . . what else has Canada done? Some fishing thing, probably.
Anyway, this is the second time in a few months that a Canadian MP has been forced to apologize for anti-American antics. (MP Carolyn Parrish was kicked out of the Liberal caucus last November for stomping on a George Bush doll during a TV show.) Jennings did the sort-of-apology dance last week, saying “I would apologize to the members in this House [not the Americans] that my comments were a little bit exaggerated. I apologize [for letting anyone overhear me].”
Reuters described Jennings as “half-American,” which would be a further irony if there were such a thing. Being an American is certainly cool (as everyone but non-Americans agrees) but I don’t think it’s genetic. If one of her parents was American, that would probably make Jennings a dual citizen of the US and Canada, but she’d still be a full American and a full Canadian both.
You can find more about this in your next issue of “Who Cares?” magazine.