Warren Kinsella Liberal strategist "As a starting proposition, it's worth remembering that there is a distinction between U.S. public opinion, and opinion within the Republican Party. And the fact is -- whether Stephen Harper approves or not -- Republicans may be very eager to wage war with Iraq, but the American people generally are not. That's not what I say -- it's what the polls say. Read Gallup. "Mr. Harper, who has been in a spit-flecked frenzy all week -- thereby making not a few long for the leadership of Stockwell Day -- doesn't understand that his role is to represent the views of Canadians, and not a cabal of isolationists within the Republican Party. The CA is in fourth place in the polls for a reason, it appears. By calling Jean ChrÃ©tien 'gutless,' Harper's effectively saying the same thing about the 70 per cent of Canadians who share the Prime Minister's view. "We stood with the Americans over 9/11 in Afghanistan -- and we stood with them in many other places before that. We did not punish them for waiting two years to join us and the allies in World War II. Nor will they punish us for making United Nations approval one of our conditions for participation. "Jean ChrÃ©tien knows he was elected to represent Canadians, and reflect their priorities. This week, he did that. "Stephen Harper, meanwhile, didn't." William Stairs Tory strategist "The short answer is yes. The Prime Minister's decision accentuates our image as a nation of ditherers. It reminds the Americans that our government actively dislikes all things military. And it reinforces their belief that Canada's foreign policy is long on discussion and short on action. We look weak. We act weak. Ergo we must be weak. "Admittedly the billion and a half dollars a day we do in trade with the U.S. will preclude George Bush from fully returning the finger Mr. ChrÃ©tien is so fond of giving him. Nonetheless, it strains credulity to believe he will blithely ignore the Prime Minister's penchant for talking loudly while peeping through the safe side of the keyhole. "The Americans are our closest allies. They didn't ask for our youngest child, just some professional military help. The clutch of emotional nationalists screeching from the bowels of the Liberal caucus were determined to be obtuse. They demanded virtue when the situation required common sense. "They won. We lost. Canada will recover, but only when there is a change of government." Tim Powers Alliance strategist "Relations with the United States have not been great during the ChrÃ©tien era. The Prime Minister's decision not to stand by the United States during this current war will not help to improve the situation. "The ChrÃ©tien years have been marked by indifference and, in some cases, outright hostility towards the United States. Raymond ChrÃ©tien, Francie Ducros, Carolyn Parrish and Herb Dhaliwal have been prime movers in belittling our friends to the south. Their remarks have been less about maintaining sovereignty and more about comporting ignorance. "As we stand on the sidelines and watch the United States, Britain, and Australia -- our traditional allies -- disarm Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, our currency with our trading partners' diminishes. War was an option no one but Saddam Hussein wanted. When the United Nations floundered and lost its will to stand by resolution 1441 the ChrÃ©tien government did the same. "Our government must work to rebuild its bond with the U.S. or it must move to diversify our trading practices. Our relationship with the U.S. will weather the ChrÃ©tien interregnum but we should not be so foolish as to assume that this period has helped." Jamey Heath NDP strategist "At the time of writing, Canada's involvement in a war is unclear. We do not, for instance, know if our ships will escort ships involved in a war on Iraq of if our surveillance planes may provide data for use in a war on Iraq. With these questions unanswered, it's hard to say Canada has absolutely rejected George Bush's war. "Accepting we have, it's entirely legitimate for Canada to express a different opinion than the White House, just as we did in Vietnam. The friendship between us is historic and strong and can withstand an honest disagreement with George Bush, whom it's crucial to remember is neither eternal nor speaking on behalf of all Americans on Iraq. "Let's also be honest. Bush didn't reverse harmful policies on wheat or softwood after Canadian cooperation in the war in Afghanistan. The notion that obedience equals assistance isn't backed up by fact."