President Bush promises United States prepared to help hurricane victims

Associated Press

MONTEBELLO, Quebec &#8212 President Bush, at a North American summit on Tuesday, offered U.S. assistance and expressed his concern for the citizens of Mexico and elsewhere whose lives were affected by Hurricane Dean.

“We stand ready to help,” said Bush, standing alongside Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “The American people care a lot about the human condition in our neighborhood and when we see human suffering we want to do what we can.”

Overshadowing the two-day event was the menacing Hurricane Dean. The summit schedule was rearranged to accommodate Calderon, who was to head home early to deal with the aftermath of Dean.

Both Bush and Harper sidestepped a question about whether Canada should continue its mission in Afghanistan. Canada has 2,500 troops there, and Harper has said the mission will not be extended beyond 2009 without a consensus in Parliament.

Bush thanked Canada for its contribution of troops as well as for its help in building institutions to foster democracy.

“The contribution has been vast and it has been robust, and this government, along with this parliament, will make decisions about what’s best for the Canadian people and the people of Afghanistan,” Bush said.