Canada in the Americas The Ebbs and Flows of Assuming a Significant Role


Throughout the decades, Canada’s relationships in the hemisphere have seen many ebbs and flows. From the initial issue of acknowledging the existence of a continent south of the United States, to its self-identification as a country of the hemisphere, to participating in regional affairs, Canada’s involvement has been at best inconstant and sporadic. Periods of great commitment and effervescent participation have been followed by times of lethargic indifference. The current government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has signaled that the Americas are once again at the forefront of Canada’s foreign policy. Thus the discussion that follows seems timely. The focus of this paper is on Canada’s relationship with the hemisphere as a whole. Dissociating the analysis from Canada–U.S. relations presents a challenge, and it could be argued that in many cases it is through that prism that some of Canada’s actions in the hemisphere are better explained. Yet the focus here is on Canada’s relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, which, unless otherwise stated, are referred to as “the region.” This paper examines the history of Canada–Americas relations from the election of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s first government (1968) to the present day. There have been several waves of discovery of the world to the south; as Jean Daudelin points out, “every twenty years or so, it seems, Canada rediscovers the Americas.” While he points to three such occasions—in 1968, at the end of the 1980s, and in 2007 (Daudelin, 2007: 2)— what has happened in the lows that have usually followed the longeror shorter-lived

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@inproceedings{Torres2007CanadaIT, title={Canada in the Americas The Ebbs and Flows of Assuming a Significant Role}, author={Vladimir Torres}, year={2007} }