George Graham

Did Canadians Deliberately Sabotage Obama?

Call me paranoid if you like, but I suspect Canadian officials deliberately leaked the memo that may have cost Barack Obama the state of Ohio. It is highly unusual for the media to get hold of diplomatic inter-office mail and I find it very fishy that a Canadian television reporter would stumble upon the memo written by an official in Canada’s Chicago consulate.

The memo from Canadian consulate staffer Joseph DeMora suggested that Barack Obama’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA should be viewed as “political positioning.”

It was written after a meeting between Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee and Canadian Consul General Georges Rioux.

“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,” the memo said. “He cautioned that this message should not be taken out of context and should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”

It was just the kind of ammunition that a desperate Hillary Clinton needed to keep her nomination bid alive. Was it a lucky break for her and a bad break for Obama? Or was it something more sinister?

Think about it.

It is no secret that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a devoted disciple of U.S. President George W. Bush. It seems plausible to me that Bush and his buddies would get a helping hand from Harper’s guys.

I doubt the memo resulted from a deliberately set trap, although that scenario is not improbable. But I am convinced the leak was no accident. My theory is that Canadian officials saw a chance to derail the Obama campaign and jumped at it.

Republicans are eager to run against Hillary Clinton this fall. The party attack dogs have been stockpiling character-assassination material for years in anticipation of that conflict. And party leaders see Clinton’s nomination as the only development that could bring the conservative faction back into the Republican fold. Also, they figure that if Obama does not get the Democratic nomination, many of his followers will lose interest in politics, resulting in reduced turn-out in the general election.

Therefore, it would not be surprising if Bush (through Harper) gave the Clinton campaign a friendly nudge.

Did you notice how John McCain defended NAFTA in his speech the other day? I see that as a sign the conservatives are closing ranks across the border. If the Canadian neo-cons scratch Bush’s back, American Republicans will return the favor.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for