Barack Obama waited nine months before replacing the last U.S. ambassador to Canada. The post was empty, and Obama just didn’t care.
He doesn’t much like Stephen Harper – compare Obama’s icy body language towards Harper, to Obama’s deep bow when he met the Saudi king, or his high fives with the Hugo Chavez, the late ruler of Venezuela.
Don’t feel singled out. That’s how Obama treats many of America’s traditional allies. He spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone. The White House's bust of Winston Churchill was returned to the United Kingdom when Obama became president.
Get used to it. Obama treats his friends worse than his enemies.
You’d think a $600-billion-a-year trade relationship between Canada and the U.S. would warrant sending a new ambassador quickly. Apparently not.
When Ottawa was finally blessed with Obama’s choice this month, it was yet another Chicago crony capitalist – Bruce Heyman, a former Goldman Sachs banker who, together with his socialite wife, bundled $1.7 million for Obama’s election campaign.
That’s what Obama thinks of the diplomatic corps: a reward for personal service, and an incentive to future donors.
Speaking of conspicuous consumption, one-percenters and Wall Street banksters, another Goldman Sachs alumnus was in the news this week. His name is Tom Steyer, he’s from San Francisco, and he makes Heyman look like a piker. This year alone Steyer promises to give or get $100 million for the Democrats – making him the largest single donor in America. Steyer is worth $1.4 billion, much of that made by investing in Canada’s oilsands, including pipelines.
But now that Steyer has made his fortune, he has decided he hates the oilsands, and pipelines, after all. His condition for giving his $100 million is that the Democrats stop the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
So, last week, Obama did.
Obama’s own State Department has studied the pipeline endlessly, and repeatedly concluded it will have no significant environmental impact. It will create tens of thousands of construction jobs for Americans. And it will replace conflict oil imports from Obama’s buddies in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia with ethical oil from Canada.
Naturally, Canada never stood a chance. Oh, you can’t buy the president of the United States. But you can rent him.
Last weekend, Steyer jetted up to Canada. He won’t disclose his itinerary or who he was meeting with. But you can guess he was handing out money by the bushel to anti-oilsands front groups. Everyone from the David Suzuki Foundation to Greenpeace to the Council of Canadians takes San Francisco money, usually laundered through the Tides Foundation, whose specialty is keeping the ultimate source of its donations a secret.
Some billionaires buy yachts. Steyer thinks he can buy our country.
Stephen Harper should send Ambassador Heyman back to Washington to think things over. Heyman and Steyer are cut from the same cloth — they even worked at the same bank at different times over the course of their careers. Steyer’s vicious attack on Canada is done with the full support of Obama.
Obviously Obama thinks we can do without Heyman for nine months. Maybe we can do without him for a few more. It’s not the same as sending back a bust. But it would send a message: we’ve noticed Obama’s contempt for Canada. And we’re getting a bit sick of it.