We've wanted a U.S. ambassador to Canada to have some knowledge of Canada. The rumours of former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin drew considerable uproar on social media.
When Palin was first asked about which countries she has visited, shortly after being announced as John McCain's running mate in 2008, her initial answer was Germany, Kuwait, and Ireland. No Canada on that list.
A Palin spokesperson corrected the list to include Canada. The second time Palin was asked, she included Mexico and Canada. The McCain campaign said she also went a quarter mile into Iraq, likely without permission. And Ireland was a refueling stop.
Palin admitted to being on business in Canada in 2007 in her role as Alaskan governor.
In 2010, in a speech in Calgary, Sarah Palin told the story of being in Canada to receive Canadian health care. Funny how that did not come out in the campaign.
“My first five years of life we spent in Skagway, Alaska, right there by Whitehorse. Believe it or not – this was in the ‘60s – we used to hustle on over the border for health care that we would receive in Whitehorse. I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn’t that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting health care from Canada.”
Palin’s father said the family probably made two trips to Whitehorse, Yukon for medical treatment.
From our reporting in 2010: "There has been confusion on whether the Heath family received Canadian-style health care, as if this is the only issue in front of us. Conservatives have noted that Yukon didn’t have the current system until 1972. However, Yukon created its hospital insurance plan with federal cost sharing in 1960, before Palin was born. And they admitted going to a hospital."
Given the British Columbia and Yukon drinking age of 19, Palin likely made social visits to Canada. Only after several attempts over a couple of years did we get any idea of Palin's relationship with Canada.
If Gov. Palin ends up being U.S. ambassador to Canada, she could relive this precious moment of being pranked by Marc Antoine Audette of CKOI Montréal who pretended to be then French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
We have criticized prospective ambassadors for not knowing much about Canada. Sarah Palin does have some knowledge of Canada but has shown virtually no curiosity about the world.
A really good choice for U.S. ambassador to Canada from the Republican side of the aisle is 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Romney spent part of his summers near Grand Bend, Ontario. The infamous Romney dog story started in a trip to Grand Bend, Ontario. There was speculation in our 2012 coverage that Seamus, the dog, had run away once the family got to Canada.
Romney also speaks French from his days doing Mormon missionary work. As we noted in 2008, Sarah Palin would have had a challenge debating in a second language, such as Spanish. Romney speaks both of Canada's official languages.
The U.S. ambassador position might come up in conversation as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit the White House today. The economy is supposed to be on the docket for discussion. That could mean NAFTA and pipelines but not softwood lumber. Trudeau will likely remind Trump that 35 U.S. states have Canada as the top export market.
The meeting may be more about setting tone than actual substance. Trudeau has walked a tightrope since the U.S. election campaign. Somehow, we are not surprised Trump is making this meeting about being on his turf as opposed to Ottawa.
The temptation would be to expound on immigrants making dangerous crossings from the United States to Canada to make refugee claims or field trips to the United States being cancelled or continued questioning on religion of some Canadians trying to come into the United States.
Trudeau ministers laid the groundwork for today's visit, including Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Finance Minister Bill Morneau. Ministers accompanying the prime minister to the U.S. capital are Freeland, Morneau, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, and Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
We still aren't sure about a lot of things, consistent with Trump, as to whether this is in lieu of a trip to Canada, which is tradition for a U.S. president, or whether there will still be a trip. Then President Barack Obama made his first international trip on February 19, 2009 to Ottawa.
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