The state of U.S.-Canada relations: the experts weigh-in

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (L) welcome Prime Minister of …A recent Foreign Affairs journal article has reignited an ongoing debate about Canada's relationship with the United States.

Fen Hampson and Derek Burney, co-authors of "How Obama Lost Canada,"  suggest that the U.S. president has jilted his northern neighbour. The two respected Canadian foreign policy experts appropriately censure the U.S. government for delays in the Keystone XL pipeline, protectionist Buy American provisions and even disrespect for Canadian military contributions in Libya and Afghanistan.

Ironically, despite Obama's cold-shoulder, Canadians' love affair with the man continues.

According to a recent poll by Angus Reid, 65 per cent of Canadian respondents said, that if they could, they would cast a ballot for Obama.

So, in commemoration of Independence Day in the United States, we went to our panel of political analysts to get their opinions about U.S.-Canada relations and about why we like Barack Obama so much.

[ Related: U.S. radio show pitches 'Know Canada' campaign to rebrand Canada for Americans ]

Here are some of their responses:

Question 1:  What is your opinion of the current state US-Canada relations?

Gerry Nichols, political analyst, former Vice President of the National Citizens Coalition:

"Relations between Prime Minister Harper and President Obama, are relatively speaking pretty good, aside from Harper rubbing the War of 1812 in America's face.

Yes, there are some irritants such as the Keystone pipeline but these can be settled. In fact, I suspect if he's re-elected, President Obama might suddenly find the pipeline to be less environmentally harmful than when he needed green votes."

Duane Bratt, Chair & Associate Professor of the Department of Policy Studies at Mount Royal University.

"Relations are good. The Canada-US relationship is so strong, so complex, with so many different interactions that it goes beyond personalities.

The Burney-Hampson hatchet piece in Foreign Affairs was wrong. Compared to the period around 2003, things are great. Of course there are irritants (like Keystone pipeline), but they are insignificant compared to the vast relationship."

Dan McTeague, former Liberal MP:

"Relations have reversed [for the better] with the US policy of engagement and even-handedness replacing the Homeland Security mantra i the post 9/11 period. "

Paul Frazer, Canada-U.S. government relations specialist at 3Click Solutions in Washington, DC:

"I think the relationship is sound.

President Obama has a high regard for Canada and more knowledge about Canada than most Presidents have been.

Nonetheless, we can't ignore the fact that Presidents have little power and the Congress readily competes as a separate power centre.

For the last almost two years the President has been in a political situation akin to a Prime Minister with a minority government. This explains in many ways many of his political decisions in that period. More the case now with elections looming."

Question 2: Why do Canadians love Obama?

Gerry Nichols, political analyst, former Vice President of the National Citizens Coalition:

"Canadians like Obama for the three reasons: He's charismatic, he's cool and he's in another country. In other words, they can admire Obama's celebrity status without having to worry that he will lighten their wallets with tax increases."

Duane Bratt, Chair & Associate Professor of the Department of Policy Studies at Mount Royal University:

"Because he is a Democrat. Canadians support the Democrats more than the Republicans.

Second, his most important public policy was bringing in health
insurance for all. Canadians pride themselves on universal health care and therefore would love any US President who could bring it in - especially against such fierce domestic resistance."

Dan McTeague, former Liberal MP:

"Most Canadians see Obama as one of their own unlike the current Tea Party wannabees currently occupying Parliament Hill.  As Canada has gone to the right, the US has embraced a President who epitomizes values of moderation and cooperation, which were once Canadian attributes."

Paul Frazer, Canada-U.S. government relations specialist at 3Click Solutions in Washington, DC:

"I think he is very popular in Canada because he has sensibilities that Canadians like and admire. He is articulate, thoughtful, pragmatic and progressive; he can be a very effective and engaging communicator. He is courageous and very intelligent. Canadians seem to like his manner and respect his ideals."