Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Washington says buh bye to Paul Martin

Canada: Go play your guitar.

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration had only warm words Tuesday for defeated Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, whose sometimes prickly relations with Washington were an issue in the Canadian election. The White House said President Bush planned to call Conservative leader Stephen Harper to congratulate him, but the administration avoided sounding overly pleased at Martin's ouster. "We certainly wish Mr. Martin well," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "And I believe that he's going to continue to participate in political life. We had a good working relationship with the prime minister." Harper pledged to quickly carry out his campaign promises to cut taxes, get tough on crime and repair strained ties with the United States after his party's victory ended 13 years of Liberal Party rule in Canada. Harper's new government is not likely to be sworn in for several weeks. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raised eyebrows by putting off a customary get-to-know-you visit to Canada until late in her first year in office last year. Rice's one-day trip in October was dominated by questions about the health of U.S.-Canada relations and a festering trade dispute over Canadian lumber exports.

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