Bush thanks Canadians for their help on Sept. 11

He vows to reaffirm ties after tensions over Iraq

December 02, 2004|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Drawing on the emotional ties wrought by Sept. 11 as he attempted to repair a strained relationship with Canada, President Bush yesterday pledged to "reaffirm America's enduring ties" to its neighbor and largest trading partner.

"How does a person say `thank you' to a nation?" the president said during an appearance in this port city in the northern Atlantic to acknowledge those who helped Americans whose flights were diverted to Canada after the attacks.

"Well, that's something a president can do. And so let me say directly to the Canadian people, and to all of you here today who welcomed Americans, thank you for your kindness to America in an hour of need."

Notwithstanding current tensions over trade issues and the war in Iraq, Bush emphasized the shared culture of the two nations, saying, "beyond the words of politicians and the natural disagreements that nations will have, our two peoples are one family, and always will be."

The president appeared with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Canada supported military action in Afghanistan but, like several other longstanding allies, opposed the war in Iraq.

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