HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — President Bush asked Canadians yesterday to move beyond their deep opposition to the Iraq war and get behind his vision of democracies blooming from Baghdad to the West Bank.

“Sometimes even the closest of friends disagree, and two years ago we disagreed about the course of action in Iraq,” Bush said, standing at the side of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Bush said, “there is no disagreement at all with what has to be done in going forward. We must help the Iraqi people secure their country and build a free and democratic society.”

Bush conceded that the United States can be a difficult “elephant” to live next to but delivered a forceful defense of his approach to combatting terrorism.

“We must take the fight to them, we must be relentless and we must be steadfast in our duty to protect our people,” he said.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien refused to send Canadian troops to Iraq, and polls show more than 80 percent of Canadians still support that decision.

Bush’s visit to this port city was linked to the Sept. 11 attacks, the defining event of his presidency and the spark for his eventual decision to invade Iraq.

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