The principal reason relations are not the best is because we're actually sticking up for such quaint ideas as the rule of law and adhering to signed agreements. You know, free trade, torture, illegal wars, that kind of thing.
So while an argument can be made that maybe Martin should have said "Please, sir," a little more before he said, "Why don't you honour the agreements you sign with us?" at the end of the day, anything Harper says he would do seems like it would come at the expense of our interests. Like conceding the softwood lumber deal.
A colleague of mine here made this observation, with which I'll close:
Oddly, the Tory idea of "improving relations" is similar to a large swath of Democratic leaders' (think Lieberman) idea of "bipartisanship." Which is convenient, since Bush's ideas of both "improving relations" with Canada and "bipartisanship" is largely "bending them over and screwing them."