Too Close for Comfort: Canada's Future with Fortress North America


300 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 0-7710-1088-5
DDC 971.07'1




Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of


Canada needs Maude Barlow. On the opening page, she notes that because
of NAFTA, “we have given away control of our energy supplies ... Water
may go the same route.” On the following page, she laments “the
effective erasure of the border between Canada and the United States”;
but the reality is even worse—a more open border for most goods but
tighter border controls for people. Barlow rejoices that Canadians did
successfully force Paul Martin’s government to reject President
Bush’s missile defence scheme.

Security trumps NAFTA agreements, she warns, and the Bush
administration is willing to blackmail Canada. If Canadians want U.S.
authorities to do what they have already promised to do, Canada must
support Bush’s foreign and defence policies. America, she says, is not
what it used to be. It has become a country dominated by corporations,
libertarians, and born-again Christians, all of whom are willing to
challenge Canada’s right to govern itself. Barlow worries about the
environment. Can members of Parliament pass laws to protect it if
Americans lack similar laws but can flood the Canadian market with their
merchandise? Even medicare and public education are vulnerable.

Barlow makes some damaging assertions about the Bush family. Prescott
Bush, grandfather of George W., “made his fortune managing Nazi
companies after Hitler seized power.” As Reagan’s vice-president,
George Herbert Walker Bush helped arm Saddam Hussein. The present Bush
administration threatens the safety of Canadians, as demonstrated by the
case of Maher Arar. Paul Martin’s government was complicit in or
helpless before this miscarriage of justice, she argues.

Barlow wrote Too Close for Comfort before the Conservative victory of
January 2006 and warned that as bad as the situation was under Martin,
it would be worse under Stephen Harper, who shares Bush’s values.

Barlow offers a necessary antidote to the plethora of recent books,
newspaper articles, and magazines that have sought to emasculate
Canada’s federal government and to render MPs little more than


Barlow, Maude., “Too Close for Comfort: Canada's Future with Fortress North America,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,