John Manley, Canadian Finance Minister

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, June 25, 2003, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You know, it’s hard to mention Canada these days without thinking of things like SARS or mad cow disease or how they thought about us with the French or the country’s economy.

Well, Canada’s deputy prime minister and finance minister John Manley has probably heard it all. He’s in New York today. He’s nice enough to stop by today giving an assessment of the economic climate with our friends up north. He joins me now in an exclusive minister.

Minister Manley, always a pleasure. Thanks for coming.


CAVUTO: Let me ask you something. The SARS issue in Canada -- it kind of went in waves. It wasn’t a big problem. Then, all of a sudden, it was a big problem. Where does it stand right now?

MANLEY: As a health issue, it’s nearly over. There have been no new cases now for weeks. I expect the WHO will clear Canada within a very short period of time.

CAVUTO: The World Health Organization.

MANLEY: Yes, that’s right. There’s still a few people who are in hospital. Nobody has contracted that disease except by being in direct contact with somebody in a health-care institution. So like you don’t get it on the street or in the airport or in a hotel in a throng.

CAVUTO: So what do Canadian authorities, yourself included, think when those in the United States say don’t travel to Toronto or be careful traveling in Canada? That must be a kiss of death for tourism, right?

MANLEY: Oh, listen, if you want a bargain right now, come to Toronto. Hotel rooms are empty. The restaurants are having a hard time. But it’s perfectly safe.

CAVUTO: Well, you’re not shrinking at trying to recruit good people to make your cause. I mean The Rolling Stones are promoting a concert there.

MANLEY: The Rolling Stones, July 30.

CAVUTO: Now did they indicate to your government, look, if there’s another SARS outbreak, we’re not coming?

MANLEY: No. On the contrary, the Rolling Stones agreed months ago to come. We’ve just announced it in the last two days, and it’s a great deal. It’s only $150 Canadian.

CAVUTO: Minister, here’s what I always wonder about. We raised this last time you were here, that there’s been a lot of ill will between the United States and Canada. First of all, between our two governments and the perception that your government thinks President Bush is an idiot. That was one. There was the issue on the whole Iraq war. Your government was, you know, kind of opposed to it and that things sort of escalated from there and that now it’s really bad. Is it?

MANLEY: I don’t think so. You know, I’ve probably three counterparts, but, in the last week, I’ve been on the phone both with Secretary Snow, and with Secretary Tom Ridge. We work together very well. We’ve made a lot of progress on things. Canada is deeply involved in the issues in Central Asia.

CAVUTO: Even in like drugs that get into this country, you know, prescription drugs that might be tainted north of the border.

MANLEY: Well, you don’t know where those drugs come from if you order them on the Internet.

CAVUTO: Right.

MANLEY: You don’t know that they come from Canada.

CAVUTO: So to blame Canada, as some did, was unfair.

MANLEY: Well, I think so. And quite seriously, in the Central Asia, we’re sending 1,800 troops to Afghanistan in July.

CAVUTO: Right.

MANLEY: Very dangerous mission.

CAVUTO: So refocusing on where the ties are because the one thing I have to ask you, Minister, is on Mr. Chretien. I know he’s going to be stepping down soon, but he seems to want to go out in a ball of fire, you know, a lot of controversy. He’s generating a lot of ill will with this administration. Is it all overstated or what?

MANLEY: Well, the ties and the connections between Canada and the U.S. are very deep and very broad and very longstanding. We’re by far your largest trading partner. It’s not even close. We’re your largest export market.

CAVUTO: So these Canadians we hear grousing about the ungrateful United States -- is it bad or not?

MANLEY: But there are always people who are going to say things, and they make the news. It’s controversial.

CAVUTO: They do, indeed.

MANLEY: It’s controversial. But, by and large, Canadians like Americans. Americans like Canadians. We know it from our polling that we do just to keep a tab on things. The relationship is broad, deep, family- based, values the same. We’ve gone through a lot as neighbors and as partners. You know, you’ve got to keep these things in perspective.

CAVUTO: Indeed, you do. Well, we wish you well, Minister. Always a pleasure seeing you.

MANLEY: Thank you.

CAVUTO: How long are you here for?

MANLEY: Just a day.

CAVUTO: Just a day and...

MANLEY: Talk up Canada and...

CAVUTO: And back up north. OK.

John Manley, the Canadian finance minister, deputy Canadian prime minister, a very, very, busy guy, and he always comes to FOX. We like that.

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