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302 Shorter Book Reviews D.H. Flaherty and W.R. McKercher, eds. Southern Exposure: CanadianPerspectives on the United States. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1986. x + 24 6 pp. This slim, but excellent, sometimes pungent and always lively, volumeof originally oral essays on Canadian-American relations, is an indictmentofthe Canadian business community, its lack of understanding and knowledgeofthe United States, and worse, its evident indifference to seeking such understandino and knowledge. Partly this indifference is caused by the Canadian syndrom: whichsays that Canadians know and understand Americans and the UnitedStates, but that Americans are ignorant of Canadians and Canada. It is a nice, comforting and quite dangerous disease. In fact, it could be fatal. '" Southern Exposure exposes the syndrome for what it is-a myth. Canadians have done, and are doing, little to understand their southern neighbours;neighbours who have the power to make Canadians paupers or prosperous. In their preface, the editors say that Southern Exposure' 'is meant to promote an understanding of the political power and the cultural heterogeneity of the United Statesof America. For Canadians, such preeminent power has had anoverwhelming impact that, be it benevolent or threatening, is undoubtedly one of the dominant influences upon us as a nation. We cannot ignore the domesticand international policy goals, the cultural chauvinism, the messianic pursuitoflife, liberty and property, and the institutional and political peculiarities of the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world" (ix). With trade between Canada and the United States, the largest bilateraltradein the world, running at $145 billion U.S. in goods and services, and seventy-five percent of Canadian exports going to the United States, one would expectthatthe first group to say, '' Amen to that,'' would be the Canadian business community. After all, there is hardly a commercial enterprise in Canada that is not affected, directly or indirectly, by the trade in goods and services between Canada andthe United States. Wrong again. Of the eighteen contributors to Southern Exposure, only oneisa businessman, fifteen are academics, one is a journalist and one a diplomat.Only one corporation provided any financial assistance to the lecture series and conference which first produced the viewpoints in Southern Exposure. With the enormous economic stake that Canada has in the United States,one would imagine that Canadian business executives would be hounding Canadian universities for centres of study on the United States, and for special coursesin their business schools to prepare Canadian managers for the demanding taskof competing in and against the United States. This demand, one would assume, would create at least four to six majorcente1~ of excellence in the study of the United States in Canadian universities. Onecould assumethat Canada, because of its proximity to the U.S., because of its financial Shorter Book Reviews 303 stake in the U.S., and because of its constant battle for political, cultural and ecological independence from the U.S., would be the world's most informed country, and Canadians the most informed people, about the United States. Ah, such is innocence and the Canadian syndrome. There is in Canada only one Centre for American Studies and that is the one at the University of Western Ontario. It was established by the university and has been marking time ever since, lacking the funds to carry out the type of research and teaching that is so desperatelyneeded across Canada. There is no indication that Canadian business understands this need or understandsthat the successful future of Canadian participation in the United States marketwill depend upon superior understanding and know ledge of that market, of Americans, of their culture and of their political system. There is, therefore, no indication that Canadian business is prepared to make available the money necessary to create the centres of study needed for the protection of Canada's economic intersts in the United States, and to build the bodyof knowledge necessary to establish Canadian universities as the focal point ofAmerican study outside of the United States. Southern Exposure is a lively book. It is intellectually stimulating. It is thought provoking. It covers the political process, the economy, society and culture, urban, environmental and resource issues of the United States. It is a valuable assetfor those who know little about...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 302-303
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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