canada-us relations

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls his election victory a “change of government, not a change of country.” But it portends a dramatic change of direction in world affairs. “You can’t lead from the bleachers,” he says. “I want Canada to be a leader.” Toward that end, Harper has vowed to set up new military bases along Canada’s northern frontier, deploy a new airborne unit, acquire new long-range lift capabilities, and revitalize Canada’s military by reinvesting in it.


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On April 16, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed British Columbia’s first case of Mad Cow or Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). The cattle and beef industry remains concerned about the U.S. border staying open to younger slaughter animals. The breeding industry, which has not been able to export to the United States since May 2003, fears further delays in a US decision to reopen the border to cattle over 30 months of age.


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An unexpected Election Day, shaped by unexpected forces, could yield unexpected results for Canada—and the world.


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Even as the controversy rages over softwood lumber, the book can be closed on whether Canada's great trade deals with the United States have benefited Canada.

Those deals the Free Trade Agreement of the late 1980s and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which replaced FTA in 1994 have made the United States the engine of Canada's economy. Yet, new threats loom on the horizon.


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Anti-Americanism seems embedded in the Canadian psyche. When I was young, Canadian school children were taught how shameful it was for United States to delay its entry into World War II and take up the fight for freedom and democracy.

Canada declared war on Nazi Germany shortly after Britain. The United States stayed out until Pearl Harbor. As a schoolboy, I learned about mean-spirited US isolationists, who rejected any global responsibility. I learned about Nazi apologists in the pre-war United States and about anti-British sentiments.