Calling Americans idiots is going too far, a spokesperson for the Prince George Cattlemen’s Association said, but it’s no secret the continuing border closure isn’t good for Canadian ranchers.
“I’m under the realization that the U.S. is not our best friend,” Mark Grafton, who owns the Bar K Ranch, said Thursday. “Individuals certainly are, but as a country, it is not.”
He was responding to comments Toronto-area Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish made Wednesday, calling supporters of the American missile defence plan “the coalition of the idiots.”
She refused to apologize for her remarks, and Prime Minister Paul Martin admonished her, but stopped short of asking for an apology.
“We should do our best to develop a more friendly relationship [with the United States],” he said.
Grafton said idiots is obviously an in accurate label.
“I don’t think it’s right to call them idiots, because they have the upper hand” in the border dispute, he said.
“They are not our best friends. They are looking out for number one and will stomp all over us every chance they get.”
The border was closed to Canadian beef last May after a cow in Alberta was found to be infected with BSE. This, the U.S. lifted restrictions on imported ground beef, bone-in cuts of beef, and offal from animals younger than 30 months. The import of live cows and meat from older animals is still banned.
That has lead to a build-up of cattle on Canadian ranches – over a million more head than last year.
Grafton said he doesn’t think the border will open this year, and won’t be holding his breath in early 2005.