Canada PM Staff Cleared On Leak of Obama's NAFTAgate Memo
by LindaSFNM, Sun May 25, 2008 at 09:07:18 AM EDT
Remembering events taking place towards the end of February when the talks of NAFTA were heating up in the Democratic election. Hillary had been consistant in her position on NAFTA. She didn't support the creation of NAFTA, knows trade is an important part of our economy for business and job creation, and as President wants to revise the agreements to be Fair trade with environmental and labor standards. Obama had recently found this as a political piece of candy to use in an area that had been hard hit on jobs being shipped overseas and tried to tie it to Hillary as all of the sudden becoming a champion for the working class.
Of course, there are many more issues at hand for shipping jobs overseas. As Hillary has been pointing out for over a year, that the tax loopholes that have since been created, actually giving tax incentives to American Companies who ship their jobs overseas, instead of keeping them in our own country. She vowed to close those loopholes IMMEDIATELY. We remember too well a perfect example of this when President Bush was campaigning in 2004 in Northern Ohio, with a campaign stop at manufacturing jobs sight, that was supposed to be an example of hard work and good jobs for blue collar workers in our country. It turned out, they were shutting that place down and moving the jobs overseas.
However, NAFTA was front and center in a debate in Ohio a week before their elections. The topic of NAFTA came up, because of the increased campaign talk against NAFTA. And Obama was circulating a false and negative attack mailer, that it turns out, he was also using early on in the campaign, that Hillary called him out on in a Press Conference.
Another example of Hillary's walking the talk. Back in September of 2005, the year Obama got to the US Senate, she was fighting to block any effort to weaken our Trade Agreements, and again, Obama did NOT.
Meanwhile, based on his positions in Illinois and the United States Senate, the National Journal concluded that Sen. Obama was "the most likely presidential candidate to support further trade liberalization."
And he did. Sen. Obama opposed an amendment that would have prevented the weakening of laws that protect against unfair trade practices. (Hillary supported the amendment.)
"To prohibit weakening any law that provides safeguards from unfair foreign trade practices."
Obama (D-IL), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Yea
That was when Senator Obama joined Hillary in calling to cancel NAFTA if the countries didn't revise the agreements to be Fair Trade with labor and environmental standards included.
Shortly after that, Canada publicly stated their unhappiness with Obama's threat to cancel NAFTA if the agreement wasn't revised, when Obama's campaign was making secret assurances that he would be ratheting up talk against NAFTA, but to ignore it it's just "political positioning".
Obama came out making claims that Canada's claims of his secret assurances was all false. So, Canada reconfirmed the story with their press giving the name of the person making the assurances for Obama, Austan Goolsbee, Obama's Economic Advisor. Obama then repeated the claim was false, he wasn't making secret assurances that his tough talk was just "policital rhetoric". Even though reports started coming out that Austan Goolsbee would not deny his involvement.
Canada then released the memo to the Associated Press, giving proof of the meeting and putting to end the false claims by Obama that there were no such assurances.
"As Obama continues to court the economic populist vote, particularly in
upcoming contests like Ohio, we are likely to see a continuation of some
of the messaging that hasn't played in Canada's favour, but this should
continue to be viewed in the context in which it is delivered," DeMora
wrote in the closing section."
By NEDRA PICKLER – 1 hour ago
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) — Barack Obama's senior economic policy adviser
said Sunday that Canadian government officials wrote an inaccurate
portrayal of his private discussion on the campaign's trade policy in a
memo obtained by The Associated Press.
The memo is the first documentation to emerge publicly out of the meeting
between the adviser, Austan Goolsbee, and officials with the Canadian
consulate in Chicago, but Goolsbee said it misinterprets what he told
them. The memo was written by Joseph DeMora, who works for the consulate
and attended the meeting.
Goolsbee disputed a section that read: "Noting anxiety among many U.S.
domestic audiences about the U.S. economic outlook, Goolsbee candidly
acknowledged the protectionist sentiment that has emerged, particularly in
the Midwest, during the primary campaign. He cautioned that this messaging
should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about
political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."
"This thing about `it's more about political positioning than a clear
articulation of policy plans,' that's this guy's language," Goolsbee said
of DeMora. "He's not quoting me.
"I certainly did not use that phrase in any way," Goolsbee said.
The meeting was first reported last week by Canadian television network
CTV, which cited unnamed sources as saying that Goolsbee assured the
Canadians that Obama's tough talk on the North American Free Trade
Agreement is just campaign rhetoric not to be taken seriously. The Obama
campaign and the Canadian embassy denied there was any inconsistency
between what the candidate was saying publicly and what advisers were
NAFTA is widely opposed in economically depressed Ohio, which holds its
presidential primary Tuesday and is a key battleground between Obama and
Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both candidates said in a debate in Cleveland last
week that they would renegotiate the trade agreement between the United
States, Canada and Mexico, which is the largest trading partnership in the
world, and threaten to pull out if it doesn't include more protections for
workers and the environment.
"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," Obama said in the debate.
The memo obtained by the AP was widely distributed within the Canadian
government. It is more than 1,300 words and covers many topics that DeMora
said were discussed in the Feb. 8 "introductory meeting" between himself,
Goolsbee and the consul general in Chicago, Georges Rioux.
Goolsbee "was frank in saying that the primary campaign has been
necessarily domestically focused, particularly in the Midwest, and that
much of the rhetoric that may be perceived to be protectionist is more
reflective of political maneuvering than policy," the memo's introduction
said. "On NAFTA, Goolsbee suggested that Obama is less about fundamentally
changing the agreement and more in favour of strengthening/clarifying
language on labour mobility and environment and trying to establish these
as more `core' principles of the agreement."
Obama was very upset with this confirmation of his lies and cover up. It of course may not have reached this level if he didn't try denying the story for so long, especially with name confirmation. But even Samantha Powers, another Advisor of Camp Obama that was fired upon her return trip from Great Britian, where he disclosed their personal attack campaign theme by telling Europeans that Hillary was a "monster" and that Obama's presidential campaign policy for ending the war in 16 months after taking office, was again, just campaign rhetoric and would come up with a different plan once he took office, admitted the credibility damage that caused.
Obama campaign hit back hard and tried to falsely accuse Hillary of his own dirty dealings and lies. Ignoring that Canada already said it was not Hillary, it was Obama, and Hillary even gave blank immunity to Canada to release any name of this Obama claim, knowing there were none to give.
PMO: Officials only got briefing from Obama campaign
The Canadian Press
March 7, 2008 at 5:04 PM EST
OTTAWA - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton never gave Canada
any secret assurances about the future of NAFTA such as those allegedly
offered by Barack Obama's campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office
With the NAFTA affair swirling over the U.S. election and Canadian officials
skittish about saying anything else that might influence the race, it took
the PMO two days to deliver the information.
After being asked whether Canadian officials asked for - or received - any
briefings from a Clinton campaign representative outlining her plans on
NAFTA, a spokeswoman for the prime minister offered a response Friday.
"The answer is no, they did not," said Harper spokeswoman Sandra Buckler.
Well, after a long investigation from Canada, they found no wrong doing.
"Harper aide cleared; still no known source for NAFTA leak
Andrew Mayeda, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, May 23
OTTAWA - A government investigation into the "NAFTA-gate" controversy cleared Prime Minister Stephen Harper's chief of staff on Friday of leaking classified information, but failed to identify the source of a leaked diplomatic memo that disrupted the campaign of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.
Harper pledged to follow the probe's recommendations to clamp down further on the flow of sensitive government information, but opposition critics once again questioned the inquiry's independence.
"It's a complete whitewash," said Liberal MP Navdeep Bains, the party's international trade critic. "They seem to be blaming the bureaucracy and the media, when the real failing is in the prime minister's inner circle."
Ian Brodie, chief of staff for Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jack Layton called on Harper to apologize to Obama and to his rival, Hillary Clinton, as well as to dismiss Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier and to turn over the file to the RCMP.
"We have here a report by the employees of Mr. Harper concerning the employees of Mr. Harper that concludes that nothing apparently could be found and proven that had been done wrong. But that's not really much of a surprise," said Layton.
In March, Harper appointed the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic arm of the Prime Minister's Office, to investigate allegations of a leak by his chief of staff, Ian Brodie.
...and it wasn't a classfied
According to the memo, obtained by the Associated Press on March 2, the adviser assured the Canadian consul general that Obama's threat to reopen NAFTA was merely "political positioning."
The revelation hurt Obama in the polls at the time, prompting the Opposition to accuse the Harper government of interfering in the Democratic party race.
The Privy Council Office investigation said there was "no evidence that Mr. Brodie disclosed any classified information." It concluded there was no evidence or witness testimony to confirm or to refute what Brodie told the CTV reporter.
However, it seems the disclosure of the memo to clear up allegations are still going to cost Mr. Brodie his job. Regardless that there was no crime or wrong doing in, he is being punished.
Too bad Obama didn't fire Austan Goolsbee, the man at the heart of the story and providing these secret assurances for Obama, that Obama continuously lied to protect his Economic Advisor and his own campaigns position. While we're at it, too bad Obama didn't fire himself.