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Prime Minister Paul Martin’s public rebuke of the United States’s refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocol to stop climate change has brought a “scolding” from Washington.

It may be smart election-year politics to thump your chest and constantly criticize your friend and your No. 1 trading partner,” said U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins. “But it is a slippery slope.”

Please. Let’s not be fooled by this “World Wrestling Federation”-style political dust-up. Slam! Oh, what a hit from Martin. Crash! Oh, what a volley from Washington. Could this get any more fake?

Martin may huff and puff about “defending” Canada during this election, but every day his Liberal government brings Canada deeper under U.S. influence. In fact, Martin couldn’t “Americanize” us any faster.

On virtually every important file, Martin’s Liberals are speedily integrating our policies and programs for harmonization in fortress North America. From privatization of social programs to rising inequality to more aggressive foreign policy and increased military spending, living in Canada under the Liberals feels more like living south of the 49th parallel every day.

Behind the scenes of this staged fight, the same Canadian business leaders who called for free trade are now calling for changes to the make-up of government departments in Canada to make things easier for corporations to do business in both countries. Business leaders call this latest strategy “deep integration” with the U.S.

These corporate elites have a knack for getting what they want with Martin’s Liberals. From free trade to tax cuts to dismantling social programs, Canada is being integrated economically, socially and culturally with the U.S. faster than you can say “beer and popcorn”.

At the request of these business leaders, Martin has set up anonymous working groups of bureaucrats in the heart of Canada’s government, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). These working groups are busily ‘harmonizing’ our policies and programs in energy, security, health care, immigration, border controls, so-called “smart regulation” of the environment and other areas. And all of this is happening far from the public eye, with no consultation or debate, making this staged election tiff with the American Empire even more deceitful.

But let’s give U.S. Ambassador David Wilkins credit for calling Martin on his hot air on climate change. Wilkins called it like it is: electioneering. It could also be called “deflectioneering”.

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are increasing faster than those of the U.S. Under Liberal inaction, Canada’s emissions increased 24 per cent from 1990 to 2003, more than the U.S. But clearly the Liberals won’t let the facts stand in the way of an election ploy.

Cynically slamming the unpopular Bush administration to garner votes will do nothing to motivate the world’s largest polluter to clean up its act, as NDP Leader Jack Layton pointed out yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives called yesterday for even more military spending and the resuscitation of the disgraced airborne regiment, disbanded after its members committed atrocities in Somalia in 1993. Conservative Leader Stephen Harper’s hawkish foreign policy would bring us even deeper into the U.S. orbit.

When Martin became prime minister, he promised closer U.S. relations. Notwithstanding the shallow smokescreen of electioneering, he is keeping these promises. The evidence is all around us.

And while there may be no official government debate about this policy of “deep integration”, groups like The Council of Canadians are gearing up to challenge it.