The Canadian Exemplar: Partnering with the U.S. to Secure North America

NSF Event Announcement: February 1, 2011 at the Union League Club of Chicago

The U.S. needs  friends and allies.  Canada, our friend next door, is flourishing while operating under the American public’s radar: it manages its political and economic issues with skill, and keeps its people safe.  In many ways, this is the reason that few Americans pay attention to Canada.  A sound national strategy is both the reason for Canada’s low visibility and the key to its success.  Canada and the U.S. have many things in common, but the comparisons worth focusing on are the ones that provide positive lessons that can be applied to America’s current problems.  What can the U.S. learn from Canada’s experience?  And in what ways are the U.S. and Canada working together to produce a prosperous and secure North America?  There are at least four reasons why Americans should start to pay attention.

Canada is by far the U.S.’s largest trading partner.  Every day, more than $1.6 billion dollars in trade crosses our shared borders, not to mention the ease with which Canadian and U.S. citizens clear customs everyday as they travel “internationally” for business or pleasure.  Keeping our economies open and complementary will continue to be a primary ingredient for our future success.

Canada has weathered the recent global financial crisis with aplomb.  Despite a slow recovery to economic activity levels pre-2008, partly due to its large trade ties with the U.S., Canada ‘s financial strength and deftly applied monetary easing allowed Canada to insulate itself from harsh global economic problems.  Canada’s emphasis on affordability and not living beyond their means gives Americans with something to ponder as we muddle through our own economic decisions and plan for the future.

U.S. and Canadian militaries are interconnected in their missions to provide for the common defense of North America.  Both militaries are finalizing agreements that outline a “Continental Strategy” for North American defense, and Presidents Obama and Harper are finalizing a joint U.S.-Canada border security agreement expected to be unveiled in the near term.  How our countries create defense policy will impact our respective levels of security and prosperity.

Canada is a vast source of natural resources, including oil, water, minerals, and timber.  An emerging resource not yet fully tapped is the Canadian Arctic.  As Arctic temperatures have warmed, the storied Northwest Passage has opened up to shipping.  While Canada claims this territory as its own, other nations are also looking for a piece of the pie.  Managing this new resource, and ensuring open access for global shipping, will be an important issue to watch over the coming years.

Apart from the strong relationship political and cultural relationship between Canada and the U.S., Canada is in the process of re-crafting its national security strategy.  The main foreseeable threats to Canada are international and domestic extremism, uncontrolled immigration, and international economic friction due to resource scarcity. Addressing these threats will require a whole of government approach linked to a broader “Continental Strategy” in partnership with the U.S.

Mr. Brian Crowley will speak about Canada’s importance to North American security and the means by which our two great countries can partner to face the security and economic challenges of tomorrow.  In particular, he will address how Canada is creating its own national security strategy as it resides in the shadow of its neighbor next door.  How will the U.S. and Canada cooperate on security issues?  How can the U.S. and Canadian economy achieve a synergy that propels our countries out of the current economic malaise?  What are the goals and plans for a new border security strategy?

These and other issues will be discussed at the National Strategy Forum’s upcoming event on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 at the Union League Club of Chicago.  To register for the event, and for more information, visit the NSF Speaker Series page.

Brian Crowley is the Managing Director of the MacDonald-Laurier Institute of Public Policy (MLI) in Ottawa, Canada.  MLI, which opened its doors in March 2010, is the only full service think tank in Ottawa dealing with a full spectrum of Canadian political issues.  Mr. Crowley was the founder of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies in Halifax, one of Canada’s leading regional think tanks.  He is a former Salvatori Fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., and is a Senior Fellow at the Galen Institute, a healthcare policy think tank also based in Washington.  He is a member of the “Conseil Scientifique” (Research Advisory Board) of l’Insitut Turgot in Paris, France, and serves on the Research Advisory Board of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnepeg.  Mr. Crowley’s published, in September 2009, his fourth book, titled Fearful Symmetry: The Fall and Rise of Canada’s Founding Values (Key Porter Books).  He also co-authored two projects on the Canadian health care system, garnering him the Sir Anthony Fisher Award.

For more information on Canada’s relationship with the U.S. and its emerging national security threats, we recommend that you review the recent National Strategy Forum Review Summer 2010 issue titled “Canada: The Other Special Relationship.”

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