Canada-United States Relations from the International Boundary Waters Treaty, the Auto Pact, the Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and Beyond: Lessons Learned

By Crane, David; Blanchard, James et al. | Canada-United States Law Journal, Spring 2010 | Go to article overview

Canada-United States Relations from the International Boundary Waters Treaty, the Auto Pact, the Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and Beyond: Lessons Learned


Crane, David, Blanchard, James, Kergin, Michael, LeCroy, Jessica, Canada-United States Law Journal


Session Chair--David Crane

United States Speaker--James Blanchard

Canadian Speaker--Michael Kergin

Canadian Speaker--Jessica LeCroy

INTRODUCTION

MR. CRANE: Let me welcome everybody to this evening's session. It was a long and lively day, and the panelists tonight promise to continue that trend. We have three speakers tonight, and their biographies are all set out in the program. We will hear from Jim Blanchard first, followed by Michael Kergin, and concluding with Jessica LeCroy.

Tonight's topic is an ambitious one with an ambitious title. It starts a hundred years ago and takes us through the Canada-United States relationship until the present and then focuses on the future. Now in that context, I think that one of the mistakes we often make in these discussions is pretending that there is no external world and focusing only on North America. I sort of made a rash prediction speaking to students in their final year at Vietoria University the other night. I predicted that, by 2025 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would be a footnote, that we would be truly a global society, and that the worst thing that can happen would be for the world to be divided at that point into competing blocks. So that is one of my own personal starting points.

This week we had the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit in London, and I think it gave off to a clear signal that the world is changing. (1) We talked about a new kind of globalization and the fact that China, although not taking center stage, was clearly moving up as an important player. (2) In fact, that all the bricks were asserting themselves much more, and that the sort of the old alliance between the United States and Europe was having to mend its way. For example, the idea that the presidency of the World Bank would always go to an American and the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would always be European is gone. It has been recognized that China and Brazil and the others must have significantly increased voting power in all of these international institutions, and I think that when we talk about the future of North America, we must take that into account. (3)

Now, when I talked to the students about 2025, I pointed out that the world population will be roughly eight billion people, or a bit over that, compared to about 6.7 or 6.8 billion today; not only would the dynamics of the global economy be much different, but so would the challenges of resource management, the environment of competitiveness and global governments and all of these kinds of things. We have to think of North America in that context. Within Canada, we have had this mixed feeling about NAFTA because when we signed the Free Trade Agreement, we sort of had this idea of an equal collaborative of Canada and the United States. (4) When, all of a sudden, the Mexicans came along and became a part of that, it surprised a lot of Canadians. (5)

Looking ahead, I expect that Mexico is going to command a lot more attention than Canada will in the formulation of United States policy. It is becoming the second-largest economy in North America, and it has the youngest population in terms of median age. (6) Mexico surpassed Canada in 2001 as the leading supplier of auto parts to the United States. (7) In 2008, it surpassed Canada as the second producer of automobiles in the United States. (8)

There is a negative reason for the United State's focus on Mexico that has to do with drugs and political stability in Mexico. Another factor is the importance of the Hispanic-American population in United States politics, and the rapid population growth in the southern states, which will shift electoral college votes further south, increasing the voice of the south in choosing presidents and in the representation in the House of Representatives. (9) I just wanted to set out a couple of those points in looking ahead to the kind of world we are going to be addressing and the circumstances in which we will find ourselves. …

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Canada-United States Relations from the International Boundary Waters Treaty, the Auto Pact, the Free Trade Agreement, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Security and Prosperity Partnership, and Beyond: Lessons Learned
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