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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) and U.S. President George W. Bush walk to the North American Leaders Meeting 21 August 2007 during the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello, Quebec. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R) and U.S. President George W. Bush walk to the North American Leaders Meeting 21 August 2007 during the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) summit in Montebello, Quebec. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images/Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Canada almost nowhere in Bush memoir Add to ...

Canada rates barely a mention in George Bush's 481-page memoir of eight years in the Oval Office.

America's biggest trading partner and closest neighbour is mostly mentioned in passing, although Stephen Harper has a cameo appearance telling the bawdiest - if not funniest - joke.

Otherwise, Canada seems only rarely to have crossed the 43rd president's mind.

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For instance, in his detailed account of the terrible aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist hijackings, Canada's role rates a single sentence. "Jean Chrétien of Canada said simply: 'We are there,' a promise that had been upheld by Canadian citizens who welcomed thousands of stranded Americans after their flights were diverted."

Most of the Canadians mentions are innocuous or in passing.

"The British and the Canadians fought especially bravely and suffered significant casualties. America was fortunate to have them at our side," Mr. Bush recalls as he laments the unwillingness of many allies to wage war in Afghanistan. Mr. Bush omits any mention of Canada's decision to opt out of the U.S.-led war to topple Saddam Hussein or to pull Canadian troops out of combat in Afghanistan next year.

Canada, at least in Mr. Bush's view, didn't loom large in Decision Points, as his memoir is titled.

Events that dominated news and public debate in Canada warrant little, often no, mention in Mr. Bush's book. That includes: Ahmed Ressam, the Millennium bomber; Maher Arar, the Canadian seized at JFK and sent to Syria where he was tortured; the bombing by a U.S. warplane that killed four Canadians in Afghanistan; the decision to end the back-and-forth of easy, passport-free border crossings that had made the world's longest undefended border unique; Omar Khadr, the Canadian recently convicted at Guantanamo Bay.

Perhaps the most memorable Canadian moment for Mr. Bush, at least in terms of detail, is excerpted below. Aside from that cameo, Mr. Harper - like the two other Canadian prime ministers during Mr. Bush's two White House terms - pales compared to most of the leaders and personalities that appear in the book.

Paul Martin doesn't make the index. Mr. Chrétien does only a little better. As host Mr. Chrétien apparently tried, but failed, to silence Mr. Bush at the G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alta., after then French president Jacques Chirac took a cheap shot at American "unilateralism." But, said Mr. Bush, he wasn't about to be quieted by the Canadian leader. "I butted back in," Mr. Bush writes and told the group. "America did not colonize African nations, America did not create corruption and America is tired of seeing good money stolen while people continue to suffer." Mr. Chrétien's reaction isn't recorded.

Book excerpt

"Putin and I both loved physical fitness. Vladimir worked out hard, swam regularly and practised judo. We were both competitive people. On his visit to Camp David, I introduced Putin to our Scottish terrier, Barney. He wasn't very impressed. On my next visit to Russia, Vladimir asked if I wanted to meet his dog, Koni. Sure, I said. As we walked the birch-lined grounds of his dacha, a big black Labrador came charging across the lawn. With a twinkle in his eye, Vladimir said, 'Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.' I later told the story to my friend, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada. 'You're lucky he only showed you his dog,' he replied."

- George W. Bush, in his memoir Decision Points

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