Wednesday, February 27, 2008

NAFTA: What the Obama Campaign Secretly Told Canada's Government

CTV News reveals that an Obama staffer was secretly in touch with Canada's ambassador to the US with a heads up about Obama's public stance on the NAFTA agreement, stating it was just "campaign rhetoric, and should not be taken at face value".

Within the last month, a top staff member for Obama's campaign telephoned Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the United States, and warned him that Obama would speak out against NAFTA, according to Canadian sources.

What Obama's staffer told Wilson flies in the face of what Obama said during Tuesday nite's Democratic debate in Ohio, where NAFTA fallout has seriously affected the economy.

During Tuesday nite's Democratic debate, Barack Obama said this about NAFTA:

MR. RUSSERT: Senator Obama, you did in 2004 talk to farmers and suggest that NAFTA had been helpful. The Associated Press today ran a story about NAFTA, saying that you have been consistently ambivalent towards the issue. Simple question: Will you, as president, say to Canada and Mexico, "This has not worked for us; we are out"?

SEN. OBAMA: I will make sure that we renegotiate, in the same way that Senator Clinton talked about. And I think actually Senator Clinton's answer on this one is right. I think we should use the hammer of a potential opt-out as leverage to ensure that we actually get labor and environmental standards that are enforced. And that is not what has been happening so far.

That statement prompted Canada-wide concern with the trade minister even warning that our energy deals with the US might be on the table as a result.

The reaction from the Obama campaign that someone on its staff had been in touch with Ambassador Wilson?

Via CTV - a non-denial denial:

Late Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign said the staff member's warning to Wilson sounded implausible, but did not deny that contact had been made.

The Clinton campaign was also accused of contacting Wilson to reassure him. That charge that has been staunchly denied by going further than the Obama campaign did and granting the Canadian government "immunity" to release any information it might have of any actual contact from its staff that may have been made.

So, the obvious question is whether Obama's opposition to NAFTA is genuine or is it just a ploy to get votes from people who oppose it?

Stay tuned.


See my update here.

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