Vive Le Canada

Canada must be an honest broker
Date: Sunday, February 04 2007
Topic:


Canada must be an honest broker

By Rafe Mair
Feb 03 2007

Looked at from a distance, Canada is a strange land; large in size, small in population, bilingual and multicultural, old ties to Great Britain dwindling, next door to the United States as it deals with increasing regionalism and gropes for a foreign policy.

The 1931 Statute of Westminster granted us independence and Canada symbolically declared war a week after Britain, yet when the UN was formed the U.S.S.R. was given seats for the Ukraine and Belarus, to offset Britain’s Commonwealth seats. Thus as recently as 1945 after a brilliant war record as a nation, we were still seen as sort of an international step-child—part of the family but different. One is reminded of former U.S. Secretary Dean Acheson’s cruel jibe “Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.”

Try as we have, Canada still seeks a role with which we are comfortable.

During the Cold War our policy was to snipe at America for hometown political brownie points while always remembering that we were on “their side” if trouble came.

When the Cold War ended, Canada became less willing to accept the lead of the United States. Sadly, the U.S. being the only superpower, it doesn’t much matter to the White House what anyone, let alone Canada, thinks. George W. Bush has made it clear that the U.S. will do whatever it thinks is best for its interests, with that determined by the most recent polls. Canadians don’t like being in thrall to America yet are uncertain as to how to break free.

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[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on February 5, 2007]

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