chapter  5
22 Pages

The Security and Prosperity Partnership: The Short History of a Strategic Bargain

ByJanine Brodie

Canada's bilateral relationship with the US has been a perennial issue of discussion in Canada. Historically, Conservatives and Liberals in Ottawa fought over this important bilateral relationship with the former defending Canadian sovereignty in the face of American imperial ambitions and the Liberals arguing for ever-closer economic relations. Canada's two major parties have altered their positions somewhat since the mid-1980s, when Brian Mulroney's Conservative government led Canada into a free trade agreement with the US. During the 2006 federal election campaign, the Liberals tagged Conservative leader Stephen Harper as a Canadian version of George Bush and presented themselves as the party that would defend Canada's distinctiveness and sovereignty in the face of the neighbouring behemoth. Indeed, a public opinion poll taken shortly after that election revealed that the foreign policy issue of most concern to Canadians was the poor state of bilateral relations.