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Canada and United States in history

John F. Kennedy once said of Canada and the United States, "Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder."

The relationship between these two countries is unique. The two combined land areas make up most of North America and their common border is the longest undefended border between two countries. They have many other uniting factors also.

History and military alliance

The U.S. and Canada share a British heritage. Starting with the American Revolution, the Canadian territory feared takeover of their country by America. It was, after all, much larger. In population, however, as the War of 1812 ended, the American border remained unchanged and with no U.S. Military presence, these fears eased somewhat. They joined forces during World War I and World War II, Korea, and their alliance continued through the Cold War.

Canada is the only country that contributes directly to American security through the North American Aerospace Defense established in 1958 by the two countries to warn of missile and air attack and keep their airspace safe.

Economy and trade

Canada is the largest purchaser of American goods and Canada is the leading supplier of energy to the U.S. Trade crosses all industries. A full 86 percent of Canadian goods are shipped to America. About 26 percent of America's exports go to Canada, America's largest foreign market. Trade is regulated by the Free Trade Agreement and North American Free Trade Agreement.


There are more than 30 governmental agreements between the U.S. And Canada pertaining to environmental issues, and it is one of the oldest environmental partnerships in the world.

The border

The border between Canada and the United States is 5,522 miles long – the longest common border between any two countries. There are about 200 million crossings each day and the number of illegal border crossings is fair less than between America and Mexico.


The "Salmon War" finally recently came to an end. Several species of salmon have diminished in population because of overfishing and environmental problems. This is an international issue because salmon migrate through U.S. and Canadian waters. The countries have been unable to set mutually acceptable quotas.

Disputes have erupted several times with the most recent incident being in 1997 when British Columbian fisherman blocked an Alaskan ferry for three days at Prince Rupert harbor. Just a year or so ago Canada restricted fishing for salmon off its coast and America sought to protect salmon and steelhead trout in the Pacific Northwest by listing them as an endangered species. Under the pact that was recently signed, Alaska and the state of Washington will limit catches of Canadian bound salmon and Canada will cut back on salmon fishing headed to the Northwest.

The softwood lumber dispute first started in 1982. In Canada, provinces owned most of the forest resources and set the rates, while in the U.S. rates were set at auction. There was a complaint from the U.S. lumber industry that Canada had an unfair advantage due to the low stumpage rates.

In 1985, American lumber producers lobbied Washington and negotiations began between America and Canada, however, Canadian producers maintained that their low prices were the direct result of good management and they were being treated unfairly in the negotiations. In late 1987, an agreement was reached.


The United States and Canada have had their differences of opinion through their long coexistence. However, they resolve these differences through diplomatic negotiations. They agree to disagree and find a common solution. It is the model of compromise and will continue to keep the relationship strong.

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