Uncle Sam and Us: Globalization, Neoconservatism and the Canadian State

Description

534 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$35.00
ISBN 0-8020-8539-3
DDC 971.064'8

Year

2002

Contributor

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, and Chile and the Nazis, and the coauthor of Invisible and
Inaudible in Washington: American Policies To

Review

Almost 40 years ago, George Grant wrote Lament for a Nation. Grant’s
hero was John Diefenbaker, whom Grant regarded as a nationalist, and
Grant lamented that Diefenbaker’s defeat in 1963 marked the end of
Canada. Stephen Clarkson provides a more credible sequel, based on his
profound understanding of Canadian history, culture, economics,
political culture, and diplomacy.

To Clarkson, Diefenbaker, Pearson, and Trudeau set the standard. Theirs
were the governments that actively promoted Canadian interests. Since
then, the Mulroney and Chrétien governments have seriously limited what
Canadians can control. Ottawa killed some programs (e.g., the National
Energy Program), downloaded some to the provinces (e.g., responsibility
for the environment and immigration), privatized others (e.g., Air
Canada and the Canadian National Railway), and slashed budgets (e.g.,
CBC and National Film Board). The Canada–U.S. Free Trade Agreement,
NAFTA, the World Trade Organization, and multinational corporations now
make decisions on issues upon which Canadian voters once had some
influence. No longer can Canadians control education, care for the sick
and needy, environmental protection, working conditions, cultural
industries, or even which U.S. wars to support. NOMA Corporation, the
Toronto-based electrical manufacturer, moved operations to Mexico where
labor costs are cheaper. Clarkson has no doubt that Canada will survive
in some form. Most provinces would prefer Democrats to Republicans, and
Republicans would not approve the admission of so many new Democratic
states (the former Canadian provinces). The question is what sort of
Canada will survive.

Clarkson is scathing in his indictment of Brian Mulroney: “His
intellectual capacities were modest, his ideological convictions
negotiable, and his policy positions opportunistic.” Nor is the
importance of continentalist John Manley in the Chrétien cabinet a good
omen. Clarkson is right in noting Lyndon Johnston’s displeasure after
Pearson offered unsolicited advice on the Vietnam War, but his
explanation is not entirely correct. Contrary to what Clarkson says, the
problem was not the advice but the fact that Pearson offered it while
visiting the United States. However, not even the best books are
perfect.

Citation

Clarkson, Stephen., “Uncle Sam and Us: Globalization, Neoconservatism and the Canadian State,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30308.