Northern exposure

What a Bush sequel means for Canada

The relationship between Canada and the United States is complicated and convoluted, yet in a sense simple. Depending on whom you ask, we are family, friends, neighbors, business partners, or simply an accident of history. We are each other’s largest trading partners. We share, or did share until 9/11, the world’s largest undefended border. We have a common political and legal heritage, and for better or worse, your culture is ours. Ultimately what spurs our obsession, and we are obsessed, is the knowledge and fear that what happens in your country tends to eventually happen in ours. We have a saying: You sneeze, we get pneumonia. So, when America votes, we watch avidly. While it is true that the November election was watched by the world, Canadians were your most consistent and attentive viewers.

Before the election, Canadians were overwhelmingly in favor of a John Kerry win, even though some observers predicted that a Kerry victory would be bad for Canada on a number of fronts. Trade with the United States, for example, would have been restricted under a more protectionist Kerry administration. Still, Canadians seemed to believe the world would have been better off without four more years of Bush. We put our faith in international bodies like the International Criminal Court and would support the war in Iraq only with UN approval. On Election Day, we wanted Americans to vote for the world even if it meant we...

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About the Author

Peter Kavanagh is a senior producer on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program, Current Affairs.