Dreamland: How Canada's Pretend Foreign Policy Has Undermined Sovereignty

Description

190 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
$29.95
ISBN 1-55339-118-7
DDC 327.71'009'072

Author

Year

2006

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, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of
Korea.

Review

The title suggests that this book will be polemical, not scholarly. It
is both. Its thesis is: “The only way for Canada to sustain real
independence in North America is to maintain an effective partnership
with the United States.” Hence, it was a mistake to promote the
International Criminal Court (ICC), tout aid to Africa, or cast doubt on
the Iraq war. These actions were “largely irrelevant to the needs of
most Canadians” and infuriated Americans, whom Canadians need as
customers for softwood lumber and other products.

Rempel thinks that the Martin government’s decision not to
participate in missile defence represented supreme ineptitude. Why would
Canadians not want to be at the table when a third country’s missiles
might be heading in this direction? Rempel ignores the dangers of a
pre-1914-type arms buildup. He admires David Frum, George W. Bush’s
ideological former speech writer, but not the idealistic Lloyd Axworthy.
Canada, says Rempel, should be spending more on defence—not on
creating happier, safer societies less likely to engage in war. The
United Nations is overrated. New Zealand, Norway, and Australia have
more sensible foreign policies than does Canada.

Canadians worry unnecessarily about losing their independence, thinks
Rempel. South Koreans have good reason for doing so because North Korea
is very different. However, Canada and the United States are very much
alike. That Republicans might not want additional Democratic states in
the Senate and might crush our magazine industry and extract our
resources while denying us the vote does not seem to cross his mind. The
Americans were right to oppose the ICC, the Kyoto Protocol, the
International Test Ban Treaty, and the Mine Ban Treaty—all of which
Canada strongly supported. They are harmful or useless, thinks Rempel.
He even thinks that the Clinton administration opposed the ICC, which it
ultimately signed.

The book has interesting tables about trade, aid, and deployment of
diplomats, but Hugh Segal, the Conservative senator who wrote the
foreword, says that he does not agree with all its arguments. Hopefully,
few will.

Citation

Rempel, Roy., “Dreamland: How Canada's Pretend Foreign Policy Has Undermined Sovereignty,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 1, 2022, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/31976.