Thursday, February 28, 2008

Canadian Embassy Officials Contradict Each Other on Obama/NAFTA Story

As I wrote here last nite, CTV news reported that an Obama staffer contacted Michael Wilson, the US ambassador to Canada, to reassure him about Obama's NAFTA "campaign rhetoric".

Now we have two conflicting accounts of what happened from two different embassy officials.

Via Politico:

Canadians deny Obama call

A spokesman for the Canadian Embassy to the United States, Tristan Landry, flatly denied the CTV report that a senior Obama aide had told the Canadian ambassador not to take seriously Obama's denunciations of Nafta.

"None of the presidential campaigns have called either the Ambassador or any of the officials here to raise Nafta," Landry said.

He said there had been no conversations at all on the subject.

"We didn't make any calls, they didn't call us," Landry said.

"There is no story as far as we’re concerned," he said.

That's a much stronger denial that the one issued by the Obama campaign:

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.

And via TPM:

"No, none," Norton told me when I asked him if Michael Wilson, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., had spoken to any Obama advisers recently. He added: "Neither before the Ohio debate nor since has any presidential campaign called Ambassador Wilson about NAFTA."

Norton did allow, however, that the embassy on the staff level had discussed multiple issues, including NAFTA, with the Obama and Hillary campaigns at various times, and had urged them to look at NAFTA in a positive light.

"We've impressed upon them the fact that NAFTA has been good for all three countries," Norton said. "They have made it clear that NAFTA is an issue of contention in the [U.S.], and that inevitably there would be discussion and debate surrounding NAFTA."

"They've heard us out on the issue of NAFTA and expressed understanding for our position. But the candidates and their campaigns have been very careful to refrain from making specific commitments," Norton continued, reiterating that no such conversation like the one described in the Canadian TV report ever happened.

So, who's telling the truth here? Tristan Landry? Ray Norton? CTV News? The Obama campaign? Without further information, (there is nothing about this story on Obama's official website), the only way to know is to see exactly what happens if Obama becomes the president.


Taylor Marsh reports that she has contacted CTV and they are sticking to their story.

"The facts of our story are accurate." - Greg McIsaac, Communications Manager, News Information and Current Affairs, CTV

Update, March 5, 2008:

I see from my referrals that I'm getting a lot of visitors to this post which was featured on Reuters' site. I've posted the latest news about this issue here. This story has developed on many fronts since I wrote this post so I'd urge those who are interested in keeping up to read my latest posts as I put them up. Thanks. And thanks for visiting. Feel free to leave a comment or two.

No comments:

Post a Comment