btn_subscribe-top
btn_give-a-gift
btn_login
btn_signup
btn_rss

Blog

The Changing Dynamics of Canada-U.S. Relations

February 13, 2013

by John Parisella

President Obama’s Inaugural Address and State of the Union speech have one thing in common.  The emphasis is on jobs and America is changing.  Its demographics clearly showed that the electoral map favors the party that is more attuned to minorities, women’s rights and the youth.  Its social fabric is being tested regarding gay marriage, gun control restrictions and the possible legalization of marijuana.  The economic picture is transforming itself as the U.S. sees energy self sufficiency on the horizon as it actively searches for expanded markets for exporting its goods.  Finally, the interminable debate around the debt and annual deficits will go a long way in defining the role of government for future generations.

Canadians observe the U.S. political landscape with interest, and sometimes, with bewilderment.  They see the Democrat and Republican parties stuck in political gridlock, and conclude that America still holds to a status quo that is out of tune with new realities.  Yet, this is far from accurate, suffice it to say that America has made great strides in many areas that affect our lives north of the border. We must take note.

Comment on this post

Canada and the United States form the largest commercial partnership on the planet.  And while trade flows have generally stagnated in the decade since 9/11, Canada still sends more exports to the U.S. than any other country (over 70 percent).  My home province of Québec sent 68 percent of its exports to the U.S. in 2011; in the state of New York alone, we exported $7 billion of goods compared to $2.4 billion in China, $1.5 billion to Germany and $1.4 billion to France.

The interdependence and integration of both our economies, sustained by free-trade agreements (FTA, NAFTA) have contributed to our common prosperity.  It is obvious that despite regular initiatives by politicians on both sides of the border to develop new markets beyond North America, this commercial partnership will not drastically change in the near future.

This being said, Canada would be foolhardy to ignore the writing on the wall.  America is gradually heading to energy self sufficiency, as is likely all of North America.  This is bound to have huge repercussions on the economic status quo in the long run and on the political landscape.

The upcoming decisions dealing with the fiscal cliff talks regarding the debt ceiling and the sequestration deal will have an immediate effect on the economic recovery in the U.S., and its outcome could directly affect Canada’s own recovery.  We in Canada are too dependent on the U.S. to not be affected one way or the other.  Failure to reach an agreement on these matters could plunge the U.S. into another recession.  Canada will not remain unscathed.

The decision on the Keystone Pipeline is another area that could drastically affect the economic relations between the two countries.  With Obama’s desire to be a leader in climate change, and with the nomination of climate change advocate John Kerry as Secretary of State, there is cause for concern in Canada’s oil path.  Oil and gas revenues are not only important to the province of Alberta, but they are an integral part of Canada’s equalization program that helps spread our wealth across the country.

Whether it is energy, fiscal issues, or overall economic activity, Canada will have to develop a growth strategy of its own including investments in education and infrastructures, encourage innovation, and search more aggressively for new markets.  The long term relationship with America is bound to shift, and Canada cannot afford to be a spectator.

*John Parisella is the former Québec delegate general in New York and currently a visiting professor at the University of Montréal’s International Relations Center.

Tags: Canada-U.S. relations, energy, State of the Union

To speak with an expert on this topic, please contact the communications office at: communications@as-coa.org or (212) 277-8384.
blog comments powered by Disqus

 
 

Connect with AQ


Twitter YouTube Itunes App Store

 

AQ and Efecto Naím: NTN24 Partnership

June 1: This AQ-Efecto Naím segment looks at sustainable cities in the hemisphere.

 

Most Popular

MOST POPULAR ON AQ ONLINE

  • Most Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 day
  • 1 week
  • 1 month
  • 1 year

AQ BLOGGERS REPORT FROM

Atlanta, GA
   Sabrina Karim
 
Bogotá, Colombia
   Jenny Manrique
 
Caracas, Venezuela
   Paula Ramón
 
Guatemala City, Guatemala
   Nic Wirtz
 
Mexico City, Mexico
   Juan Manuel Henao
 
Monterrey, Mexico
   Arjan Shahani
 
Montreal, Canada
   John Parisella
 
New York, NY
   Adam Frankel
   Christopher Sabatini
 
Ottawa, Canada
   Huguette Young
 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
   Stephen Kurczy
 
Salvador, Brazil
   Paulo Rogério
  
San Salvador, El Salvador
   Julio Rank Wright
  Carlos Ponce
 
Santiago, Chile
   Joseph Hinchliffe
 
Washington, DC
  Eric Farnsworth
  Liz Harper
  Christian Gómez, Jr.
  Christine Gomes
  Kezia McKeague