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I recall hearing that Canada is even more infected with political correctness than we are. Any chance that the political climate will undermine its onward march?

I had almost given up on the Canucks, but this reads very well indeed. I will take it with just a pinch of salt, given that he was addressing a largely British audience in London, but I have no reason to doubt his veracity.

We should lose no opportunity to champion the Commonwealth and to remind our natural anglosphere Commonwealth allies that we value them highly. Never again should we behave to them as did Heath on European entry.

One thing Dave might bear in mind is that Howard and Harper are deemed to be crashing bores. I'll take policy-rich bores over policy-lite charmers every time.

harper is great- but there's a leftwing majority in parliament and given the way immigration has increased the left vote in Ontario permananttly the right may never win a decent majority-let's hope that not's the case

what's so good about being against kyoto?

The Canadian PM is to be commended for demonstrating that there is a third way for Britain between the twin embraces of Europe and the USA… the Commonwealth, a group of some of the most stable, rich and dynamic nations linked to the UK by history, a shared outlook and friendship.

Closer political and economic links with Canada would surly benefit both countries and cause none of the angst that our relations with Europe and the USA are prone to do.

For an alternative British world view have a look at www.unitedcommonwealth.org

Who said John Howard is a crashing bore, Og? The guy stays fit, has gone crowd-surfing, and belts out showtunes when he's "on the turps" at election night parties.

I for one believe we should champion a Commonwealth free trade area as a stepping stone to worldwide free trade.

Great. A "Conservative" who does not understand why Thatcher put the fuel escalator in place.

I am thankful that somewhere less volatile than the middle east has reserves of fossil fuels, but burning fossil fuels is part of the problem not part of the solution,

Thatcher recognised this.

Oh on the free trade thing, I would have felt a whole lot more comfortable with building a free trade ever closer union sort of thing with the common wealth, after all many of these people fought for our freedom against nazism etc.

But in the Canadian context, the actions of the British empire were largely benign and occasionally brilliant."

Not just Canada - the USA too...........but the Jewel in the Crown is India. To have made possible the world's largest democracy and to see next door the disaster that is Pakistan - shows the two sides of The British Empire.

There is far too little pride in India in this country and far too little comprehension of a common history with Anglo-Indians spurned by both societies - think of Merle Oberon and the fictions they had to make up about her racial origins...........and yet how renowned today is the stunning Aishwarya Rai

Is there any minister with specific responsibility for the Government's dealings with the Commonwealth? If there isn't, there's an argument that there should be.

Kyoto is bad science, and bad policy.

Kyoto is bad science, in that even if global warming was real, it would not be necessarily true that it was caused by humans.

Kyoto is bad policy, in that even if global warming was real and caused by humans, the correct response would not be crippling the most productive economies, and shifting work to less productive economies.

I really don't understand why it is apparently a Conservative badge of honour to be against Kyoto. Matthew and others on this site must stand up and say that we don't buy this idea that global warming doesn't exist. And I for one will fight attempts to turn our party into a religious right, minority-bashing, mean spirited, pollution-spewing appendage to American neo-conservatism.

My understanding is that Harper asked to see David Cameron when he was in London but our great leader could not find time in his diary. Not good for UK Canada relations.

"I really don't understand why it is apparently a Conservative badge of honour to be against Kyoto."

It's an import from the US, where for some reason it's become politicised. New issues like this have an almost random impact on the political spectrum, depending on historical fluke, gibberish generlisations, and local political impact.

For example, the left in France is strongly pro-nuclear, but here it become synonymous with CND. Or how religion has become a political force in the US Christian right, but in Britain it's more coherent within the psuedo-socialist heritage of the comfortable/lazy middle classes (ie Blair's designer Christianity).

In the US, the right has largely taken on environmentalist as a new enemy, clumsily collating it into a woolly ball of "disliked things" (eg communism, foreigners, the UN, and the 60s). The centrists (I won't say leftwingers, since they more or less don't exist in the US) has no great enthusiasm for Kyoto either, largely driven in the media and congress by the breathtaking power of the oil/car lobbies, but will give it occasional speaking room out of sheer oppositionalism.

Thanks Andrew - very interesting analysis.

changetowin? What, your allegiance? You've just spouted off a string of liberalisms that cindy sheehan would be proud of. 'Religious right'? If by that you mean Christian, then yes, most Christians are intelligent enough to seek out the Conservative parties around the world. 'Minority-bashing'? Of course here you're referring to the democrats in the US, no? Liberals are proven to be the parties with the worst records on minorities; giving speeches which sound great and buy the minority vote, yet do nothing for them. 'Mean-spirited' and 'neo-Conservative'? Don't even call yourself a Conservative and quit trolling on our sites.

If you'd care to remove your asshat for just a moment, allow me to direct you to some facts on Kyoto: http://www.foxnews.com/printer_friendly_story/0,3566,123013,00.html

Finally, as my Parthian volley (love the site but don't know when I'll be back), one of the greatest British sayings ever exported to the other side of the Atlantic: "Piss off!"

You sound a very intelligent chap Gen Lee Wright or should I call you 'loonieburger'-not.

I just discoverd this blog, Indeed this was a great speech and hopefully heralds a move towards closer relations between Canada and the UK, perhaps even Australia. I liked the www.unitedcommonwealth.org idea's. Perhaps we can even start to consolidate our forces officialy in afghanistan and form a commonwealth brigade like in Korea and Malaya back in the day, spare us having to rely on dubious european support when the bullets start flying.

I've met Canadians worried about being absorbed into the USA and Brits worried about being absorbed into the EU. Being Australian, my worry is that we will be left with no plausible partners at all. We are never going to be an Asian country: we are fundamentally a British country, although it isn't terribly fashionable to say so.

Given that Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK (CANZUK) have essentially the same culture, values, institutions and history, the obvious solution is a return to more meaningful cooperation. Reciprocal citizenship rights, free trade, closer defence ties, and so on.

This is more or less the view advocated by the Federal Commonwealth Society (www.unitedcommonwealth.org), of which I am a member.

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