I’ve been watching with some bemusement this last little while the increasinly bizarre US-Canadian political relations. From each side, there have been these concerted efforts to work more closely, to integrate our relationship further (national security, mostly), and then on each side, defiant attempts to separate ourselves (Iraq war, pot decriminalization, wheat & lumber tariffs, economic principals). Jean Chrétien, who’s seemingly become increasingly individualistic as he gets closer to retirement seems to be quite happy to guide Canada away from its current younger-sibling status with America to a more equal footing: it’s always been assumed that on the whole, Canada will go along with the US on pretty much everything in international matters. These days, increasingly, Canada seems to be setting a distinct path of its own. Much, I suspect, has to do with the current personal relationship of our two leaders, which is probably as poor as any relationship between the two countries’ leaders has been in the last 100 years (if not ever). Both men seem to be driven men, determined to do things their way, the rest of the world be damned. The difference of course, lies in their politics. Chrétien seems to be much more under the sway of Euro-style co-operative globalization, whereas Bush seems to be much about polarized, antagonistic globalization.
Of course, Canada and the US are inextricably linked, both geographically and economically. We are each other’s largest trading partner, which in this day and age, is much more important than virtually any other factor in inter-state relationships. So we have this push & pull status. One day, Canada blasts the US for their poor economic policies and state. The next day, we sign intent for a joint missile-defense program. Or one day, a politician calls Dubya ‘dumb’, and the next we’re signing joint-military-exercise agreements on Canadian soil (hmmm…I see a trend: any time we want to ‘make up’ with the States, we seem to sign some sort of military-related agreement with them: border security, training, operations, defense, involvement abroad, etc — perhaps this is the magic lollipop to soothe the US?).
I’ve totally lost my point here, and rather than rambing on until I find it again, I’m just going to stop here, as is. That’s the joy of off-the-cuff, unplanned essays, I suppose.