Folks who are much smarter than I have suggested that the COVID pandemic, and in particular — the US effectively throttling vaccine availability for Canadians — underlines the need to rethink the Canada-US relationship. This is an ominous task given the high degree of integration of our economies and security institutions. A generation of Canadian government’s policy decisions has inextricably linked our fate to that of the United States. Clearly, Canada has benefitted at times from the relationship (and we would argue that our US friends have benefitted more), yet we Canadians find ourselves in an increasingly unenviable position as subsequent American administrations vacillate between abject isolationism and big-guy-on-the-block globalism. It’s not unreasonable for Canadians to assess whether a future inextricably linked to a politically unstable US is a prudent course to follow. To add to the challenge, Canada finds itself being figuratively crushed between China and the United States, as they each scale up their respective high-level geopolitical hegemony. Great article today in the Toronto Star by my good friend Richard Nimijean, and David Carment. – cPaul
In a post-Trump world, Canadian sovereignty is at a crossroads
by David Carment & Richard Nimijean | Toronto Star
Canadians reacted positively to Joe Biden’s election and the February summit between the Biden and Trudeau governments, reflecting the historical reality that they are more positive towards the U.S. when Democrats occupy the White House. This is especially true after the chaos of the Trump years: the January insurrection, his personal attacks on Prime Minister Trudeau, and his general disregard for this important relationship soured Canadians’ outlook on the U.S.
Biden has already returned the relationship to normal by making his virtual meeting with Trudeau his first as leader, reflecting his plan to stabilize American foreign policy.
Despite disagreement on a few key issues, Canadians were pleased. Biden and Trudeau have an obvious personal chemistry, reinforced by their centrist ideological outlooks and their recognition that politically they need to tack left. Both want their countries to “build back better” while paying attention to climate change and addressing socioeconomic inequality. Progress will occur on other shared concerns, such as NATO’s future, multilateralism, human rights and democracy promotion.
Canadians love international attention, so hearing President Biden acknowledge the importance of the relationship was a big win. His forceful words on the plight of the two Michaels showed he was aware of strong Canadian feelings on this issue.
However, a friendly American administration will not necessarily make it easier for Canada to pursue its interests and enhance its sovereignty. Biden is an American president first and foremost, and is using diplomacy and statecraft to promote his interests and goals. Like Trump and Obama before him, Biden will pressure Canada to help him succeed, such as by spending more on defence and security.
But on issues that truly matter to Canadians, he so far has given precious little. There was no word on American assistance on vaccine procurement, exemptions from Biden’s nationalist procurement strategy, or consideration for Canada’s pipeline concerns…
Read the rest here: