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Canadians Who Welcomed Bush with Protests Raise American Flags for Obama

What a difference a person makes.

Today, President Obama arrived in Canada, his first foreign trip since taking office. Already, the trip is a stark departure from the Bush years. U.S. presidents have traditionally made their first trip abroad to Canada. President Bush, however, broke with tradition and headed south to Mexico.

Already, there’s been a noticeable difference in the way the Canadian public has received the two presidents. Bush was wildly unpopular in Canada. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who supported the Iraq war (and later admitted it was a mistake), was lambasted by Canadians as supporting “Harper-Bush” policies. Not surprisingly, Bush’s visits to Canada spurred massive protests:

canada14.jpg– “Thousands of protesters marched on Parliament Tuesday, rallying against President Bush’s visit and the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Twelve people were arrested after scuffling with police on the fringes of the peaceful demonstration.”

– “But with thousands of protesters expected to demonstrate against Mr. Bush, the White House decided to cut short his visit to Ottawa and travel to Halifax instead.”

Early Crowds Await Obama,” the Toronto Star reads today. “American flags are being hung up around Ottawa in preparation” for Obama’s visit, reports the Ottawa Citizen. Some of the stories today:

Satyam Khanna is a Research Associate for The Progress Report and ThinkProgress.org at the Center for American Progress.