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118 Canadian Review of American Studies John Herd Thompson and Stephen J.Randall. Canada and the United States: Ambivalent Allies. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1994. Pp. xiv + 387 and bibliography. Ambivalent Allies reflects the growing maturity of the study of CanadianAmerican relations. Internationalist intellectuals, led by James T. Shotwell, carved the field from Anglo-American relations in the 1930s. His project, the collaborative Carnegie Series, remains required reading for the subject. Shotwell's authors celebrated peaceful continental partnership, but, by the 1960s, resurgent anti-Americanism, perhaps the clearest consistent element of Canada's elusive identity, fuelled social nationalism to portray continentalism as a national menace. Two decades later, shifting political climates, new work, such as the Borderlands Project at the University of Maine, Orono, brought us into a new historiographical phase. To be sure, spin-doctor bromides about a "specialu relationship and reflex nationalist rhetoric about Canada as a perpetual victim of America still bubble. But Thompson and Randall note that United States' policy towards Canada has been consistent in modern times, that all nations serve selfinterest first, and that the Canadian-American relationship evolved within broad historical changes that neither country could control. Ambivalent Allies complements recent surveys by Jack Granatstein and Norman Hillmer, and Robert Bothwell, Canadians all. They all see ambivalence as a theme, Canada as an American nation, the asymmetry of power that dominates continental affairs notwithstanding, and they sit diplomacy on a foundation of politics, economics, society and culture. For instance, both countries experienced capitalist industrial change at comparable times. Proximity, social and cultural similarities, and larger patterns produced progressively greater economic entanglement. Hence, the repeated trade negotiations from the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854 onwards. Thompson and Randall have the most cogent treatment of the Free Trade and North American Free Trade agreements available, free of partisan cant, with a dear balance of risk and benefits in the context of shifting hemispheric and global circumstances. Throughout, they assert a Canadian distinctiveness, but with blurred edges. For example, Canadians in the late nineteenth century had expansionist notions comparable to those of their British and American cousins. And, while multiculturalism exists in both countries, the oft-repeated cliche about a morally superior cultural mosaic versus a forced melting pot must be discarded. Anglo-Saxon and liberal-capitalist, democratic values and insti- BookRPviews 119 tutions, all forced comparable conformity on immigrants to both countries. Victorian racism shaped unfolding federal policies, and the treatment of the Japanese in the Second World War. Blacks suffered comparable discrimination in both countries, although a far less visible black minority north of the border hoodwinked Canadians to believe that equality and civil rights were only needed in the United States. The authors never hesitate to explode myths and stereotypes, and not simply the Hollywood image of Canada as a land of snow, Mounties, and stock characters. Canada never was a "linchpin 11 in the fulcrum of AngloAmerican relations. And anti-Americanism has been self-serving, often unfair, inconsistent, exploited by domestic demagogues to smear opponents for upcoming elections, then conveniently shelved. Canadians have nevertheless measured themselves against Americans, especially in material terms. The authors tackle anti-American Tory scholars as well as New Left nationalists. Donald Creighton blasted William Lyon Mackenzie King for snuggling up with Franklin Roosevelt: But realities of power, national interests, circumstances, and shared values and perspectives, not a weak spine, explain King's policy towards the United States, the authors insist, and their arguments persuade. At times they stumble over their terminology. Granted, Canadians and Americans have been historically similar, despite real distinctions. But can they say, as they do late in the book, that we are "strangers beneath the skin"? Hardly. Our very similarities, the myriads of cross-border families, call to mind Walt Kelly's Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." And if, as the authors suggest in the sly chapter "The Moose that Roared,1' major current distinctions appeared in the 1960s-the New Democratic Party (NDP), the welfare state, and biculturalism-what happens if NDP policies mirror those of Liberals or Conservative governments , the welfare state crumbles in financial ruin, and Quebec secedes? Will our identity then...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-114X
Print ISSN
0007-7720
Pages
pp. 118-120
Launched on MUSE
2019-01-02
Open Access
No
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