Today President Obama had his first foreign visit and landed in Ottawa on his impressive air plane. (Our plane isn't as impressive, I have actually flown in it a few times, we use it for troop transport to the middle east). I followed the visit today on the CBC while I hammered out an essay on the Armenian Genocide. It is amazing to see how many people went to parliament hill to catch a glimpse of the President who seems to have a Rock Star popularity here. With a 82% approval rating in Canada, some 3000 people, from all over the country, stood in the cold on parliament hill to see the President arrive. I think Prime Minister Harper only has a 42% approval rating, but I wouldn't be surprised if that has gone up because of how he was endorsed by Obama today. Now I guess it is up to Harper, to see if they will maintain a good relationship. It didn't seem like it today but I think the US has big expectations for us. Between tightening up envinonmental restrictions on our oil sands and extending our mission even longer in Afghanistan we may butt heads with our neighbours in the near future. The one thing I personally took away from todays press confereance was the language used regarding trade. They both talked about loosening up our borders, which worries me. I have done a fair bit of research into NAFTA and trade (with lots more to come), and I feel we are moving in a direction which is establishing a foundation for a North American Union. There is lots more to talk about on this but I will leave it for now.
President Obama is a very inspirational, intelligent and seemingly good man. But at the end of the day he is a politician with the most powerful country in the world. The US is a great neighbor and ally but as Canadians, we have to look out for our own interests. That means we cannot get caught up in hype, excitement, or economic problems. We need to really examine policies and the direction our government wants to take us; then we need to make informative decisions on what is best for us.
On a lighter note, it was good to see President Obama stopped to grab a Beaver Tail on his way out of town. It is definitely on the list of one of the things you must do while visiting our capital city.