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crs96-397 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Canada-U.S. Relations Carl Ek, Coordinator Specialist in International Relations Ian F. Fergusson, Coordinator Specialist in International Trade and FinanceSeptember 13, 2011

crs96-397 CRS Report for Congress Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress Canada-U.S. Relations Carl Ek, Coordinator Specialist in International Relations Ian F. Fergusson, Coordinator Specialist in International Trade and FinanceSeptember 13, 2011

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CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Canada-U.S. Relations
Carl Ek, Coordinator
Specialist in International Relations
Ian F. Fergusson, Coordinator
Specialist in International Trade and FinanceSeptember 13, 2011

CRS Report for Congress
Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Canada-U.S. Relations
Carl Ek, Coordinator
Specialist in International Relations
Ian F. Fergusson, Coordinator
Specialist in International Trade and FinanceSeptember 13, 2011

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Published by: SFLD on Mar 29, 2012
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CRS Report for Congress
 Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Canada-U.S. Relations
Carl Ek, Coordinator
Specialist in International Relations
Ian F. Fergusson, Coordinator
Specialist in International Trade and FinanceSeptember 13, 2011
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.gov96-397
 
Canada-U.S. RelationsCongressional Research Service
Summary
Relations between the United States and Canada, though generally close, have undergone changesin tenor over the past three decades. During the 1980s, the two countries generally enjoyed verygood relations. The early 1990s brought new governments to Ottawa and Washington, andalthough Canada’s Liberal Party emphasized its determination to act independently of the UnitedStates when necessary, relations continued to be cordial. In early 2006, a minority Conservativegovernment assumed power in Ottawa. It was regarded as being more philosophically in tunewith the George W. Bush Administration than the Liberals were; some observers believe that thiscompatibility helped facilitate bilateral cooperation. The election of President Obama in November 2008 signaled a new chapter in U.S.-Canada relations; unlike President Bush, Obamais quite popular in Canada.The two North American countries continue to cooperate widely in international security and political issues, both bilaterally and through numerous international organizations. Canada’sforeign and defense policies are usually in harmony with those of the United States. Areas of contention have been relatively few, but sometimes sharp, as was the case in policy toward Iraq.Since September 11, the United States and Canada have cooperated extensively on efforts tostrengthen border security and to combat terrorism, particularly in Afghanistan. Both countrieshave also been active participants in the U.N.-sanctioned NATO mission in Libya.The United States and Canada maintain the world’s largest bilateral trading relationship, one thathas been strengthened over the past two decades by the approval of two major free tradeagreements. Although commercial disputes may not be quite as prominent now as they have beenin the past, the two countries in recent years have engaged in difficult negotiations over items inseveral trade sectors, including natural resources, agricultural commodities, and thecultural/entertainment industry. The most recent dispute has centered around the Buy America provision of the 2009 economic stimulus law. However, these disputes affect but a small percentage of the total goods and services exchanged. In recent years, energy has increasinglyemerged as a key component of the trade relationship. In addition, the United States and Canadawork together closely on environmental matters, including monitoring air quality and solid wastetransfers, and protecting and maintaining the quality of border waterways.Many Members of Congress follow U.S.-Canada environmental, trade, and transborder issuesthat affect their states and districts. In addition, because the countries are similar in many ways,lawmakers in both countries study solutions proposed across the border to such issues as federalfiscal policy and federal-provincial power sharing.This report begins with a short overview of Canada’s political scene, economic conditions,security and foreign policy, and environmental initiatives, focusing particularly on issues that may be relevant to U.S. policymakers. This country survey is followed by several summaries of current bilateral issues in the political, international security, trade, and environmental arenas. Thequestions following each summary are designed as potential inquiries to Canadian officials to promote thought and discussion among policymakers.
 
Canada-U.S. RelationsCongressional Research Service
Contents
Overview..........................................................................................................................................1
 
Canada’s Domestic Scene..........................................................................................................2
 
Background and Current Political Situation........................................................................2
 
 National Unity.....................................................................................................................5
 
Foreign and Security Policy Issues............................................................................................6
 
U.S.-Canada Security and Foreign Policy Issues................................................................7
 
Economic and Trade Issues.....................................................................................................16
 
Budget Policy....................................................................................................................16
 
Energy...............................................................................................................................17
 
Bilateral Trade Issues........................................................................................................18
 
Environmental Issues...............................................................................................................21
 
Canada and Afghanistan................................................................................................................22
 
Issue Definition.......................................................................................................................22
 
Background and Analysis........................................................................................................22
 
Status of the Issue....................................................................................................................23
 
Questions.................................................................................................................................24
 
Canada’s Arctic Sovereignty Claim...............................................................................................24
 
Issue Definition.......................................................................................................................24
 
Background and Analysis........................................................................................................24
 
Status of the Issue....................................................................................................................26
 
Questions.................................................................................................................................26
 
Inter-American Cooperation..........................................................................................................26
 
Issue Definition.......................................................................................................................26
 
Background and Analysis........................................................................................................27
 
The Organization of American States................................................................................27
 
Haiti...................................................................................................................................28
 
Palestinian Statehood........................................................................................................29
 
Status of the Issue....................................................................................................................29
 
Questions.................................................................................................................................29
 
Border Security Issues...................................................................................................................30
 
Issue Definition.......................................................................................................................30
 
Background and Analysis........................................................................................................30
 
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.....................................................................................31
 
Border Infrastructure and Personnel........................................................................................32
 
Status of the Issue....................................................................................................................32
 
Questions.................................................................................................................................33
 
Border Security: Trade and Commercial Concerns.......................................................................33
 
Issue Definition.......................................................................................................................33
 
Background and Analysis........................................................................................................34
 
Action Programs and Initiatives........................................................................................34
 
Status of the Issue....................................................................................................................35
 
Questions.................................................................................................................................36
 
Immigration and Refugee Policies.................................................................................................36
 
Issue Definition.......................................................................................................................36
 
Background and Analysis........................................................................................................36
 

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