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Neighborly Examples
Hugh Masekela
T. H. Frank McKenna

      ... Canadian Ambassador to the United States of America. Appointed Ambassador in 2005, T.H. Mr. McKenna has wide experience, beginning as an illustrious lawyer.  He became a Liberal Member of the Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick in 1982, leading his party to power in 1987.  Following 2 successive election victories, he honored his promise to limit his term to 10 years and left provincial politics, becoming Counsel to Atlantic Canada’s largest firm and a leading mergers and acquisitions firm, and was appointed to Canada’s Security Intelligence Review Committee. He and his wife own Glenwood Kitchen Cabinets.

Excerpts1:06 secs

It doesn’t matter who is in Washington or in Ottawa, there is a pulse between the United States and Canada that just beats on, says Canada’s Ambassador to the U.S., T.H. Frank McKenna. Confident that the two nations can be bigger than the sum of their parts, Ambassador McKenna cites two hundred years of peaceful co-existence as a spectacular example of success, two nations that are very, very similar and at the same time, very, very different. And sometimes, they will disagree.

Ambassador McKenna’s own life embodies both the differences and the powerful bonds between two countries with similar free-market approaches to economics, that are each other’s largest trading partner, who share sports celebrities, university exchanges and tourist traffic going both ways. How can the two also be so different?

Look no further than the traditions that shaped them, says Ambassador McKenna.  Canada evolved in a completely different way than the U.S. -- Canada did not evolve through war and is more or less a compact between Anglophones and Francophones. The Canadian Charter of Rights offers a different mix of protections than the U.S. Constitution. And, he says, the balance of powers is different. Socially, Canada tends to be a little more European. And while surprisingly mature, Canada is still a young country which chooses to think of itself as a work in progress -- as recently at 1999, they created Nunavut, a third and enormous new territory. And finally, he says, many fail to appreciate the sheer geographic magnitude of Canada, with a population that is 1/10th the size of the United States.

Canadians are very proud of their peacekeeping role in the world -- since the founding of the United Nations, no country has made a larger peacekeeping effort than Canada. And Ambassador McKenna hastens to add that Canada respects the policeman role the U.S. is playing on behalf of them and others. And remember, he insists, Canada has never shied away from defending democracy against terrorism or tyrants. Canada entered both World War I and II before the U.S. did and Canadians have fought side-by-side with Americans from the First World War to present-day Afghanistan.

And after all the ties-that-bind are highlighted -- the huge relationship, being “best friends,” neighbors and cousins in the world -- from time to time, the two countries are inevitably going to disagree.  After all, Ambassador McKenna he reminds us, they are so different that Queen Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada.

So what’s the key to continuing to offer a world awash in violence, disharmony, revolutions and terrorism an example of such a powerful relationship? R-e-s-p-e-c-t.

[This Program was recorded June 21, 2005, in Atlanta, Georgia, US.]

Conversation 1

T.H. Frank McKenna shows Paula Gordon and Bill Russell a number of ways that Canada is both very similar to the United States and very different from it. Ambassador McKenna gives a series of examples of a strong pulse between the two countries that is largely independent of the two governments.

Conversation 1 RealAudio6:14 secs

Conversation 2

Reflecting on how he is himself an embodiment of much that unites the two countries, Ambassador McKenna reviews ways in which Canada has combined its strong commitment to international peacekeeping with its willingness to fight side by side with the United States -- from the WWI to Afghanistan -- with Canada in both the First and Second World Wars well ahead of the U.S. He illustrates the differences in the two nations’ traditions, pointing out that Queen Elizabeth is the Queen of Canada. He returns to the reality that as different and sovereign nations, each country must respect that the other will sometimes have different opinions.

Conversation 1 RealAudio9:00 secs

Conversation 3

Noting how differently the U.S. and Canada choose their Ambassadors, Mr. McKenna explains why his Prime Minister saw benefit in deviating from Canada’s norm, appointing a person with Mr. McKenna’s background in politics and business.  Washington, D.C., he says, is the most politically sophisticated city in the world and even with its notably strong ties, Canada has its hands full getting on America’s radar screen. He expands. Canada, he continues, is both a work in progress and a young nation. He gives a sense of the country’s geographic magnitude and comments on the creation of Nunavut -- an enormous third territory created in 1999. In the midst of a world with considerable violence and disharmony, revolutions and terrorism, Ambassador McKenna says the relationship of Canada and the United States is bigger then the sum of its parts, an example to the world of two similar yet different nations, peacefully and prosperously living side-by-side, benefiting the citizens of both countries.

Conversation 1 RealAudio7:07 secs


We admire Ambassador McKenna’s style and approach to his position and to his mission and thank him for joining us.

We thank all of the people at the Canadian Consulate in Atlanta for working closely with us across time.  Especially in this instance, we thank Malcolm McKechnie, Canada’s Consul General to Atlanta; Christine Pappas, Consul, Political & Economic Relations and Public Affairs/ Relations politiques et économiques / Affaires publiques; Judith Costello, Political, Economic and Academic Relations Officer; and Leanne Hastings, Assistant to the Head of Mission.

The staff at Atlanta’s 103 West made us welcome and we thank them for their courtesies.

Related Links:
Visit Canada’s official website and The Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.’s website. The Atlanta, GA, Consulate General -- one of 22 Canadian diplomatic offices located in the United States, part of a world-wide network of more than 100 Canadian missions -- also welcomes visitors to its website.

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