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In the race for the American presidency, Canada is a punchline

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. This morning, Canadians awoke to headlines expressing consternation about a leak from a Canadian diplomat—a leak that Stephen Harper said in the House of Commons was “unfair” to Barack Obama and would result in an immediate and thorough investigation of somebody by somebody.

The leak concerns back-channel communications indicating that although Obama says he wants to reopen NAFTA, he doesn’t really mean it. He’s just trying to win votes from laid-off trailer trash in the post-industrial heartland. This, in turn, led Hillary Clinton to cast Obama as a—gasp!—hypocrite (charges of hypocrisy are to politicians as charges of speeding are to Formula One drivers). And if you are wondering how all this earnest forelock-tugging self-consciousness is viewed in the States, I suggest you turn to columnist Gail Collins’s piece in this morning’s New York Times:

Ohio was great. I don’t know how anybody could not love a primary where the big scandal involves gossip about NAFTA among Canadian diplomats.

We are, in short, a punchline. So why do we keep handing them material?

Tory bumbling blamed for Obama leak [Toronto Star]• PM’s top aide set off storm with Obama NAFTA leak [Globe and Mail]• Hillary’s Edge [New York Times]

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